Not Natural

Feb 26, 2015
by: Nadia

Eleanor Bumpers
Sixty six
Did not die from
Old age or
Natural causes

She was called crazy,
Unable to manage her affairs
She's the women
Who wouldn't
Pay her rent
She didn't know

Broke in
With bare hands and drills
When she was sitting in the couch
Not knowing what she was doing
A twenty inch kitchen knife
In defense

She rose up
Above all
After people had come through her windows
Her walls
Her floors
And she faced her worst nightmare
Or so she says

Saw a naked
66 year old woman in her home
Her only refuge
She being only confused and scared
Fought back

They shot her
In the chest twice

66 years of life
And feelings
Within seconds
Because she didn't get
The help she needed



jforbes's picture
Submitted by jforbes on Fri, 2015-02-27 00:22.


Your poem reverberates all the way across the country to Oakland, CA. Your short lines and tight structure communicate the violence that Eleanor Bumpers experienced at the hands of those who are paid to help; the fragmented feelings and the tightness in the chest that we are all left with. The last stanza feels like a seven sobs.

Thank you for commemorating this woman's life in these powerful words.


KendraPOHS's picture
Submitted by KendraPOHS on Sun, 2015-03-01 11:45.

You are exploring a very harsh case with an unstable and vulnerable woman is shot and killed by NYPD for trying to defend herself. It was very moving how, in your fifth stanza you described what the police saw as they charged into Bumpurs’s home which was an exposed, older, African American woman who the police knew was unsteady. You followed this stanza with two lines of how the men killed her. The effect is very meaningful where most people today would read that fifth stanza and sympathize for this woman and want to help her with her illness while the NYPD then saw her only as a threat to be eliminated. The contrast is very powerful between what could have happened and what did happen. Lastly, in your final stanza you reference how lives are built up of memories and feelings that take years to develop and that it will all just vanish in a single moment. I thought this was a very intelligent and true insight that emphasized the tragedy of the loss of Bumpurs’s life when it could have been avoided if she had only received help. Wonderful work.

Very Powerful

Submitted by Crowley2018 on Sun, 2015-03-01 19:47.

When reading your poem the first thing I noticed was how powerful your word choice was, and how effective your poetry style was in order to get the story out. I thought your use of repetition of similar words in the second stanza was especially powerful: "who wouldn't, couldn't, didn't..." It was really moving, since if the women had gotten help for her mental problems, there wouldn't have been a problem. She was just an innocent old woman, yet she was killed for that innocence. She didn't know any better, yet the police killed her because they thought she was dangerous, when all she was doing was protecting herself. This is a very sad story, and not one I had heard about until now. I believe you did an excellent job telling this story, since it definitely was not an easy topic to write about. Great Job.


Submitted by dgrace on Fri, 2016-06-03 09:18.

Its sad that people are acualy that cruel!