In Guns We Trust

from by Houston Hughes



I got my first god from my father
Before I even understood what one was.
And even though it was second-hand,
Seemed centuries old and more than a bit worn,
I believed in that god, because I got it from him.
He taught me to respect it,
So I kept it locked up
In a rosewood case
Next to the kitchen table,
And that’s where it stayed
Until early morning Sunday
When we’d all pile into the dilapidated station wagon,
And go down to town for the God show!
It wasn’t till I got older that I realized
It wasn’t actually about the gods
So much as it was the community,
A whole room full of people
Celebrating the one that that keeps them feeling safe

I keep my god in a steel box underneath my bed,
Between the photograph of my mother
And love letters from an ex girlfriend
Scribbled in eyebrow pen.
I don’t pull them out much anymore
Except when I’m alone
And the world begins slowly closing in,
I’ll squeeze it between my palms
till my fingertips tremble,
or hold it up to my temple
Whisper my fears to it
And listen to the cold silence
As it echoes in the shells

there’s a man down on the street corner
With a sandwich board
And he’ll sell you the type of god that’s illegal now,
The kind that’s ready to kill a man at the drop of a hat,
The kind you pull out when your woman cheats on you
Or your sun turns out to be gay,
The kind with hammer-cock like held prayer breath,
With barrel like a pulpit,
The kind of semiautomatic brimstone spitter
They don’t allow in pleasant company anymore

Of course the founding fathers intended for us all to have gods!
If someone comes along with a god and threatens you,
You don’t want to be the only one without a god, do you?
And nobody wants us to be like England
Where not even the police carry one!
Really, what’s gonna keep people from raping and stealing
If they don’t think a god will?
That’d be like trying to take
“in guns we trust” off our money!
This country was given to us by our almighty gun
So that we could have the freedom
To carry our gods
Where ever we gun-damn please.
A good conservatives knows
that any form of god control
is un-American;

You haven’t forgotten what happened,
Have you?
All it took was a few men with an unwavering faith in their guns
To take down those two towers.
And they didn’t even have a god!
If everyone on that plane’d had had a god
You know that never would have happened…
It almost makes you doubt the power of your own gun.

The Safety Manual:
Never point a god at someone, even to joke around.
If you see a god in the area, please leave immediately.
If your friend wants to show you a god, just say no!

Parents, Keep your gods away from children!
Children don’t realize
That gods are tools,
And might instead treat them like toys,
To threaten people around them.

Gods don’t kill people,
People with gods kill people


from Growing Up, Not Old, released June 30, 2016
Words by Houston Hughes

Music by Shawn James:



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Houston Hughes Fayetteville, Arkansas

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