The Sunday Poem: Margaret Randall… Tipping Point

I heard that sometime within the next five years, there will actually be more guns in the U.S. than people.  Is there no turning back?  Must we live with instant death forever?  How crass have we become?  Is there a tipping point?

Margaret Randall continues her work here in Nob Hill and world-wide.  She is an invited guest at the upcoming poetry festival in Granada, Nicaragua.  

Tipping Point

Their teachers pass out crayons,
tell stories to calm their fear,
are willing to die
trying to save them
and die beside them instead.

A hundred thousand paper snowflakes
infuse their town with solace.
A president comes to console.
a national conversation begins.

No stories or crayons, no snowflakes
or national conversation
for Chicago’s children:
just as tender but black or brown
and poor,
murdered each night by violence
unremarkable in ghetto land.

Every south side street
cradles the body
of some mother’s son,
some kid who might still have time
before answering the call
to greater madness.

Bullets pierce air and walls
and the heads of youngsters
who might have grown  
to be teachers or doctors
might have been able
to go to patriotic war.

And from such war
each evening’s news
brings stories
of the drone attack
where weddings looked like
terrorist training camps
or schools were mistaken for convoys.

We mute the sound, fearing
the tipping point
may ruin our dinner.
A tipping point is a curious thing
as it settles between the left
and right sides of the brain.

When the pendulum returns
to its indifferent center
and we return to life as it was
we might ask ourselves
if it really was a tipping point
at all.

--Poetry submissions are welcome.  Email

Views: 125

Comment by Margaret Randall on February 17, 2013 at 8:26am

Feels strange to be the first to comment on this post, since the poem is mine. But it feels good to be sitting on the veranda of our hotel here on Granada's main plaza, reading a poem of mine just published back home--makes a welcome connection!

Comment by Dee Cohen on February 17, 2013 at 8:58am

Hi Margaret, Thanks for this important poem which makes its global point by piling up many local tragedies. Glad to see you made an ABQ connection from so far away. A beautiful day here. Dee

Comment by Izquierdo on February 17, 2013 at 12:10pm

Thanks. Very helpful, Margaret. The beginning was remarkable. I was briefly stunned by the words "patriotic war," however, and stopped reading momentarily, wondered how you were going to handle the change of tone. I need not have worried, because the transition to another far away, dismal venue that moved the theme along worked beautifully.


Comment by cc on February 18, 2013 at 12:08pm

¡Brava, Margaret!


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