An Unjust Law by Gil Hoy

Can’t get that execution
out of my head, damn.

Took 26 minutes to kill
him, some new-fangled
poison not the usual,
a half-baked horror show.

Sour drugs flowed through
blue veins, the prisoner
strapped to a gurney gasped,
vacant eyes staring,

rattling,
nose snorting,
choking almost guttural–
like food stuck in your
windpipe
on and on, convulsions.

By all accounts, he was
a horrible savage man

25 years ago,
raped, tortured and killed
a young woman with child,

just married, still to live
and be enjoyed.

So nothing cruel or unusual
here, an eye for an eye,
a tooth for a tooth,
Lex talionis, as prophesied.

But this death, more
like a Macabre blunder
at a public square picnic
hanging from days of old,
when the man’s head
in the too-tight hemp noose
might come clean off.

Minute after lingering
minutes, following terrible
60 second minutes
Strangling from the inside,
a mammal gasps for breath.

Heard that his blood in the
crowd had to cover their ears
and wipe their tears from
soaked ashen faces,
I say listen up, after what he did.

If you agree, show the
video play-back to your son,
so he can see what we do,
Though slow suffocation
is not for the squeamish,
something to Hide?

Murder: premeditation
and unlawful killing,
the state does you one better,
premeditation and ceremony.
Who are we to tell

the state what to do,
sounds AOK to me.

Much ado about nothing.
Throw to hungry lions
crush them with fat elephants,
devoured by wild sweaty-toothed beasts
does the trick.
Tear them apart by Galloping horses,
burn him like an over-cooked
headless turkey for your Thanksgiving roast,
crucifixion, decapitation, boil until cooked.

Firing squad? Pass the loaded Gun
please. Stoning? A duplicitous
contest to see who casts the first
stone. Disembowelment, OK,
dismemberment, tie him to a
cannon and set the charge, so cool

your mouth just drips with blood
like a stale English Pudding.
Gas, hangings, electric chair,
That covers it.

But somewhere I read and
believed to the marrow, now
shaking terrified: Turn to him
the other cheek also, or we
will all be Toothless and Blind.

No one’s listening or caring
anymore.

Blood red Hearts disgorged on a
winding cobblestone trail that leads
to a distant dream.
That our eyes don’t hear anymore
and that tastes forgotten anyway.

 

Gil Hoy is a Boston poet and trial lawyer who studied poetry at Boston University through its Evergreen program.  Hoy received a B.A. in Philosophy and Political Science from Boston University, an M.A. in Government from Georgetown University, and a J.D. from the University of Virginia School of Law.  He served as a Brookline, Massachusetts Selectman for four terms. Hoy’s poetry has appeared (or will be appearing) most recently in Chiron Review, Ariel Chart, Social Justice Poetry, Right Hand Pointing/One Sentence Poems, The Penmen Review, Clark Street Review and The New Verse News.

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