The Sunday Poem: Margaret Randall...How They Grab Our Words

Good morning, Albuquerque! Only two more Sundays left until I hand the reins of the Ditch Rider back to Jon; have you been having fun? Have you liked this? Have you liked me here? I hope you'll all answer; I have a feeling that Jon would love the feedback on how I did for him (and  you) while he was away. Please please please LOAD UP THIS PAGE with feedback and comments. Let's give the computer servers at DCF a neck sprain! But enough about me. Listen now, it's time for a poem...


...I love this poem by Margaret Randall. I love the possessed, cool surety of the speaker of this poem, and how the voice just lays the truths down on you. I love its economy of language in the interest of its salient points about progress and militarism and gender and inequality and bombs and most of all (in terms of our VERY fallible "leaders") about what hindsight can afford us versus what it can tend to do to us. Notice the opposition Margaret uses between the stillness in the spaces between the words. There's a close to staccato feel, a kind of steam rising, coming up above the lines that she uses to scorch that which needs to be burned. Ultraviolet lines. I came away from this poem marveling at its silent blue fire. Here's a little extra for you: I asked Margaret in a recent email conversation what it is that she most likes about the city of Albuquerque, and she had this to say: "What I like, no love, about Albuquerque is where it is. The surrounding landscape has spoken loud and clear since I was a child, and after years away I longed for this landscape--desert, mountains, canyons--which had also become important in my poetry. I also love the poetry community here. I doubt there is a city in the country with more or better poets, or more interesting venues for reading and listening." I couldn't agree more. Margaret, the mic is yours...

How They Grab Our Words



He sent his water boy to play the evidence:

weapons of mass destruction aimed at us.


When no WMD were found, he said: Not

sorry. The world’s a better place.


Judged necessary sacrifice; 4,486 US soldiers dead.

A million Iraqis: collateral damage after all.


They used to ask: What were you wearing?

Now they go on about Boys will be boys.


Do animals think? Do the disappearing glaciers

mean anything at all? Is up finally down?


Five years out of office, for the first time

the bully president gains a positive image.


They say we always like our presidents more

when they’re no longer president.


It’s all about the way they grab our words

and run, the end zone solidly in sight.



Margaret Randall's most recent collection of poetry is THE RHIZOME AS A FIELD OF BROKEN BONES, available at Bookworks and other bookstores around town, as well as on This fall three new books will appear: a poetry chapbook called DAUGHTER OF LADY JAGUAR SHARK (Wings Press), a collection of essays titled MORE THAN THINGS (University of Nebraska Press), and CHE ON MY MIND, a feminist poet's reminiscence of Che Guevara (Duke University Press). In February she attended the International Poetry Festival in Granada, Nicaragua, where 160 poets from 60 countries raised their poetic voices. These days one of her passions is writing for New Mexico Mercury, our city's vibrant new digital publication. Margaret thinks Albuquerque is the best city for poetry in the country.


Poetry submissions are welcome.  Email

Local Poetry Event News: This week's installment of Local Poetry Event News is about an event happening on Wednesday, July 17 at 7 PM at The Source for Creating Sacredness, located at 1111 Carlisle Blvd SE: OUTSpoken Queer Poetry Featuring the Albuquerque Adult Slam Poetry Team (as distinct from ABQ Unidos, the city's youth team). This event is hosted by Erin Northern, a wonderful local poet in her own right. If you'd like to read, there will be an open mic portion of the night that begins at 7 PM (you should get there early, as the sign-ups to read or compete in the slam are posted at 6:30 PM); the open mic portion of the night (you get five minutes if you want to sign up to read) will precede the feature performance by the combined poetic might of slam team members David Maile, Gigi Bella, Jessica Helen Lopez & Zachary Kluckman. The host would like guests to know that the topics for poetry are OPEN for both the open-mic and the slam. The OUTSpoken Queer Poetry Slam and Open-Mic is sponsored by The Local Poet's Guild, ABQSlams & Albuquerque Pride. There's a $5 suggested donation asked for at the door for this event. Any questions? Please go ahead and visit the OUTSpoken Facebook group page or email your questions to 

Views: 202

Comment by Dee Cohen on July 14, 2013 at 9:37am

Another strong poem from one of ABQ's poetic treasures. Simply and effectively stated. Love how the couplets give pause to the content. Thank you Margaret.

And thank you Rich for holding down the fort. Or holding up the fort. Or both! Great job. Dee

Comment by Izquierdo on July 14, 2013 at 3:57pm

A remarkable summation of a presidency in quick-time, a review of history that provides the core of what one needs to know.

Comment by Johnny_Mango on July 14, 2013 at 6:37pm

The cost of war never seems to go away, yet we are always ready for another.  Cheney and Bush have never owned up to the huge toll their actions placed on humanity.  Thanks for not letting it become forgotten.

Comment by Jules Nyquist on July 14, 2013 at 10:43pm
Another fine poem, Margaret. Like Rich said: "ultraviolet lines."
Comment by Rich Boucher on July 15, 2013 at 11:31am

Dee - Thank you!

Comment by Rich Boucher on July 15, 2013 at 11:31am

Thank you all for your comments!

Comment by Margaret Randall on July 18, 2013 at 7:00am

Thanks to Rich for posting this, and to all for their comments. To T-Bone Caruthers I would say: talk is NOT cheap. It is important, just as action is. In fact, talk is a form of action, as many who have been persecuted for their speech know all too well.


You need to be a member of Duke City Fix to add comments!

Join Duke City Fix

Connect with Us!

Featured Events in Albuquerque

Big Changes to the Fix!

We're making changes to the Fix! Check in with us for local news stories, events, photos, all the usual DCF stuff, on Facebook and Instagram starting September 1st. Find out more!

© 2017   Created by Duke City Fix.   Powered by

Badges  |  Report an Issue  |  Terms of Service