Archive for the ‘blindfolded ladies’ Category

full conviction

June 20, 2017

his is a prosecutor, the people’s lawyer
though finished with the last of his litigation
and prepared to begin a new role as judge
he leaves us no less, as we can gain no more

his voice will likely remain in these halls
cracking sharp, like the whip has been
carrying the bark of a front line soldier
as he rallied those needed to his cause

you can cue him to the star spangled banner
and he will keep in time as well as sentiment
not a word or note will feel out of place
each having been composed of full conviction

for his is that rare and unwavering belief
uncommon but simple: there is a “right”
and people of good conscience stand to it
whatever the cause, whatever the hardship

here, has been the good and willing soldier
though his salute, at times, was lacking
and he rolled his eyes at an order or two
he was first, he was always, a warrior

no battle, no foe, no odds were too great
whomever be the victim of injustice
whenever, wherever, such evil was at work
he rose, without hesitation, to meet it

often overworked, underappreciated
left to the impossible, he’d draw strength
thinking of his ‘why’, his home, his family
of fantasy drafts and children’s dance recitals

those who thought him stern or harsh
they never saw that, nor would he let them
no one needed to know why he fought
what, to him, meant more than all he had

they didn’t know, this man who sought death
saw life as the most precious of all gifts
and saw those who unjustly injured or took it
as deserving a full measure of the law’s wrath

now, his talents recognized, he moves on
his experience, its wisdom, put to fresh use
while we, as his colleagues, will miss much
the community gains, as he takes his new oath

for my friend, the Honorable Thomas Coleman

in judgment

September 23, 2016

this blade has seemed as righteous
as its cut has proven razor sharp
rarely taking more or less than just
even where it took the whole of life

wielding it was no easy task
not after the first few long swings
those which drew both blood and breath
in the form of execution

but it was still lighter long ago
when youth and oath gave strength enough
to judge a cause without remorse
and act with full conviction

wisdom was not mine in those days
it belonged to another generation
elders who could still an anxious hand
against recklessness or anger

they were deliberate mentors
acknowledging few absolutes
aware so much remained unknown
despite our diligent search for truth

their words of warning understood
only after self-inflicted wounds
wounds whose scars, invisible to most
move me to my most thoughtful actions

and now, the next to fall awaits
a life, forfeit by its evil deeds
in circumstances so compelling
the mightiest of blows would be too kind

and i can swing away, hard and fair
and i will, right after this next breath
though the weight of souls and lessons past
has slowed what was a quick ambition

behind me, some apprentice sits
no doubt confused by my delay
having held the blade without its burden
felt the strength without its consequence

i wonder what they learn, watching me
if i teach them as well as i was taught
and if so, what they take away
in this moment of conscious hesitation

the cavanagh

July 26, 2016

(a prosecutor’s story)

wait, shakespeare said, here is a man
possessed of wisdom and wit
whose courage of conviction
are the stuff of great character

the lifeguard? the limerick joker?
cast him then, the devil replied
i fear no bombastic irishman
if this be your hero, tis quick work

and so they sent him – the cavanagh
to the very depths of our play
to the place the dark beast dwells
insatiably feeding on evil

jeepers creepers! the cavanagh shouted
rolling from the pitch, righting himself
only to stand face to face with the beast
the creature, snarling and drooling

one moment sir, said the cavanagh sternly
reaching for his reading glasses
and squinting into the murky scene
oh yes, you must be injustice

the beast lurched forward, mouth agape
i am he, it spit, and i am fear
master of this, the realm of lost souls
and you, now condemned, shall join…

yes…yes… the cavanagh interrupted
pointing to notes drawn from his coat
please tell me where i can find them
and, if you know, a decent pint

somewhat bewildered, the beast complied
sending the cavanagh into the void
where sat the victims of injustice
lost to their silence and their tears

making out faint images and voices
the cavanagh moved soul to soul
sensing, learning, feeling their pain
asking each, what happened to you?

but none would speak a word of it
for they knew the beast forbid it
and the beast was a vengeful monster
capable of consuming them all

poppycock! the cavanagh insisted
as he set about to learn their stories
i beg you, share whatever you can
do this, and I will speak for you

still, frightened, they said very little
speaking in tiny voices, of harmless things
of a touch, of a word, of a scar
but in them, the cavanagh found truth…

there is murder here! he bellowed
though it have no tongue, let it speak!
come out, you filthy noxious beast!
confront your accuser – if you can!

and the whole stage shook, as if to cower
as the beast, enraged, appeared frothing
death to you! it sneered, i am he
i am fear, i am the master of…

whoa! whoa! whoa! the cavanagh cried
i know what you are, you coward!
hiding in darkness! let us see you!
face your deeds! see those you hurt!

here, for the briefest of seconds
the beast hesitated, ceding to a cry
from the darkness, a child appeared
you hurt me, the little girl whispered

instantly, a wall of sound rushed forward
as rediscovered voices lit the theatre
exposing and overwhelming the beast
while the cavanagh was whisked away…

thank you sir, shakespeare smiled to his friend
win your wager? the cavanagh asked
indeed, said the bard, ask and its yours
the cavanagh grinned, i’ll have a guinness

work product disclosures

August 13, 2015

it was midnight once
i think it was tuesday
although days don’t exist here
it’s all hours and cases

you can scream, i do
it doesn’t help
voices don’t leave here
after the cleaning crew

they just muffle
in a background din
as the papers pile up
and mock your misery

more stupid motions
whispering out loud
their ridiculous claims
crawling through your brain

fermenting consciousness
into some lesser form
some pathetic state
where all reason flees

scraping the barrel
as it deliriously rushes
past the vocal chords
inspired by a caffeine jolt

good morning your honor
yeah, we’re fucking ready…
how about you?
you get a good night’s sleep?

they tell me it’s important
to understand the ‘why’
for all these hearings
over who said ‘boo’ first

oh look…my battery died
too much data usage
rollover minutes
and roaming charges

good thing it’s disposable
and new ones are cheap
if you just sign up
gotta love these long term plans

prosecutor’s never leave

May 14, 2015

you just want to walk away
turn your back to all this noise
every time
some new crime
has another life destroyed

you can barely do this job
overwhelmed by so much pain
endless files
constant trials
it’s a wonder we’re still sane

where the lack of thanks we get
is reflected every day
in the press
and distress
caused by critics and low pay

every error made is ours
not a victory to name
for what’s just
is not us
but the truth in what we claim

you would think i’d just be glad
that i’m leaving here today
but i’m not
what i’ve got
is a part that wants to stay

a part that raged in anger
a part that wept soft tears
shared with those
some felon chose
to fill with hate and fear

not a moment of it leaves me
it is permanent, this part
a life, a soul
each made whole
by this, my invincible heart

in our judgment

February 12, 2015

it’s good riddance, my friend
to the battle’s front line
to the blood, to the smoke
and the tears left behind

to the evils since slain
to the fires now quelled
to the rescues and raids
at which you excelled

for the value of each
is a part of you now
in character, wisdom
and friendships you found

together they’ve forged
with the aid of your will
the tools and the chance
to empower your skill

to serve the just cause
and the interest of those
whose freedoms or rights
are abridged or opposed

in this, we’re assured
to look back with great pride
on the source of the judgment
each time you preside

the shadow knows

August 25, 2014

that shadow of despair
it lingers everywhere
in search of doubt
and those without
the hope of faith or prayer

i saw it yesterday
approaching to survey
the hallowed grounds
of those in gowns
whose rules we must obey

it stayed there quite a while
i even saw it smile
each time intent
and punishment
were hard to reconcile

it measured every fool
to every broken rule
as if to wait
on one whose fate
the gods would ridicule

but when the fools were gone
the shadow lingered on
as if some sin
remained within
it chose to wait upon

let no evil be done

March 13, 2014

some things are right
some things are wrong
and some are forgiven
so all get along

but no evil done
by word or by deed
is saved by its cause
its excuse, or its need

its moral, or not
its gains put aside
for candor and conscience
to dictate, decide

and lost is the cause
where truth lets us fall
for deceit in pursuit
is no justice at all

post mortem

July 16, 2013

two fought
one shot
six decide

race, hate
fear, fate
all decried

yet, still
ill will
seems implied

more by
outcry
to divide

than in
the sin
since denied

dear judge…

July 1, 2013

it’s just a robe, it’s not a crown
you’re not divine or wiser
the only thing
you share with kings
is need of an advisor

so slow the edicts, harsh demands
take counsel of your purpose
to oversee
as referee
this process meant to serve us

remember first the litigants
who’ve waited for their day
deserve, expect
your full respect
and treat them each that way

listen, question, think it through
your impulse and presumption
will only skew
a fair review
don’t trust in mere assumption

your thoughts, opinions, schedules
are secondary now
to law, to us
the public’s trust
and your own solemn vow

to part with petty, angry, self
put justice before all
bring truth to light
and wrong to right
though your own heavens fall