A killer walks into an elementary school—
we know the beginning of that obscene American joke.

What do we need to know about this 18-year-old
that we don’t know already?

To know the country is to know him.
Williams wrote, “The pure products of America go crazy.”


The gun manufacturers breed fear to sell their product,
poison the wellsprings of human kindness.

Online hate-mongers pump adrenaline
into the teenage autonomic nervous system.

A new circle will have to be opened in Hell
for the Congressmen on the take from the NRA.

Photos of the bodies so shot-up the parents must bring
DNA samples to ID them should be televised.

Videos of the dead-eyed Senators running away
from the grieving mothers and fathers should be shown.


Are We the People too drugged now to act?
Have we also been bought?

Have our psyches ingested too many actors
pointing gun-barrels at us from movie posters?

If we let the 18-year-old’s love instead of shoot,
would they still want to murder the future?

If we stopped worrying whether kids were trans,
would we start treating our inner lover better?


The lead of Saturn weighs heavily in the pockets
of an America devouring its young.

A man dies of a heart attack after placing flowers
at the memorial for his wife killed at Robb Elementary.

America, will you also die of your broken heart?




Thomas R. Smith

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    1. A powerful poem that needs a wide audience!

      Comment by Miriam Weinstein on 4 June, 2022 at 4:23 pm
    2. This excellent poem brings tears and anger, frustration so high that this helps to feel it in print! As a 91 year old woman who
      has lived through other political and economic difficult times such as wars, 9/11, recessions, inflation, even recently uncontrollable gun violence and the show of white supremacy tactics, we never thought that our democracy was at stake. It is just beyond belief that the Republican party has lost it’s way; that they would go for power or follow a man who cares nothing about people, (even them)nor does he understand democracy or American history. Is it possible that we will lose our democracy and be ruled by gun bearing, power hungry narcists? I am old enough to remember another narcist, Adolf Hitler, and, though, I was only a teenager with no media and TV as today, I knew what evil one power hungry man could cause. We are at different times, but there is a comparison. We must not lose the democratic principles that has made us a model for the world!

      Comment by Barbara de Souza on 13 June, 2022 at 4:12 pm

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