Troy Davis is dead. For some absurd reason I expected this not to happen. Seven out of nine eye witnesses have taken back their testimony. Citizens around the world spoke out to protest this miscarriage of justice. Peaceful protesters held signs up in city squares yesterday across the globe.
It is not my habit to post my poems. And yet, here is a poem I wrote over a decade ago that unfortunately is just as relevant today.
|We are all Troy Davis|
In Our Name
Inside this room we don't come to: the sizzle and spit
as of fat in a pan, a sweet-heavy smell
of flesh in flames, and two exhaust fans turning
toward a man whose hair on his left leg
and head have been shaved,
a diaper pinned in the waist of his jeans.
No prayers, no words, will he slip
in his hands; only the fingers
can legally burn into blue smithereens.
Here is the soft mauve cloth he'll wear
which will hide the human face
when the veins push out of his molting skin
like glass ridges on a jar or vase.
Let this chair mark the spot
where his heart shudders, then pops
in accordance with Florida law.
Here, stand in this room
with no view of the sea, meet the warden
the Imam, the Rabbi, the Priest.
See the doctor who shines a light in the eye
of a man when he's three minutes dead.
Here in a room, with a switch on a wall,
is one citizen paid always in cash --- assuring us
the nightmares he has may never be publicly shared.
From The Cartographer's Tongue, White Pine Press, 2000
Finally, this is not an isolated case. This week's Letter of Note provides information on death row prisoners that have been exonerated by DNA testing. "I love life too much" is worth reading, too.