A Kinder, Gentler Murder?

The silver needle is loaded with

society’s venom of vengeance,

an arrow aimed at ravaged veins

by a bureaucrat in a crisp white shirt and tie,

a political appointee, a civil servant

for this most uncivil of acts.


Does he sleep at night,

dream, or sedate himself

with alcohol and sports?


Does he talk with his children

about his job?

Are they proud or ashamed?


Does he pray and to whom?

Does he think about killing

while making love to his wife?


Nearby on a lumpy mattress

in a cheap motel with tired pillows,

a grieving mother ignores

the press pounding on her door

as she waits for her condemned son’s spirit

to be ripped from her,

releasing them both

from decades of unbearable anguish and agony.


Years of hot tears have burned

deep furrows into her brown cheeks

like dry arroyos in a vast wasteland.

She wears her constant fatigue

like a dusty, gray cape wrapped tightly

around her hurting heart.

Sadness and poverty are all she’s ever known.





He had only been a squirt of sperm

to his father,

dooming him in the womb.


His siblings turned away long ago,

weary of his endless appeals

and brief spurts of hope.


His grandmother blissfully smiles

at her memories of him as she tiptoes,

a tiny step at a time to the other side.


She knows he will be waiting for her.


Where are the “pro-lifers”,

the religious zealots, friends of fetuses

who care so little about life once born?


His birth became

a one-way ticket

to the silver needle.


At the nod from the warden

with the pale, frozen face,

the chemical switch is thrown,

and a tidal wave of poison,

the politicians’ kinder, gentler murder

ravages cell by cell as it rushes

to his battered and bashed heart

that never had a chance

to beat with the fullness

of love

except from his Mamma.


No matter if he’s innocent as so many are.

His crime is being born poor and having

black skin in a country that hates him.


A violent and deliberate death

gallops around the arterial bend,

closer and closer to its target,

suffocating his last breath

while watchers struggle

with the impulse

to vomit.


Justice weeps beneath her blindfold,

her naked breasts shrouded

in a six thousand dollar drape

by men fearful of being distracted

from their imperialistic wars.


Now freed from his tortured body,

his soul hovers briefly above the fishbowl,

then rises above the demonstrators and TV crews outside,

pauses for a moment over the no-tell-motel

where his mother weeps dry tears,

until angels surround him,

gently lifting him upward ,

away from his tragically short  life

to a place of final peace,

leaving us to just ask



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