“There was a steel pole running from the floor to the ceiling behind

Gray’s chair, and we watched him slam his head into the pole for

eight minutes as hard as he could.”

Newsweek Magazine, April 9, 1984

Some execute their wayward

with a square-shaped gun

help perpendicular to the skull,

and the forehead lights up

as if, by god,

interjected with a new idea

So dirty dogma deals

by sleight of hand,

by valve, by syringe, by kilowatt,

to lull, burn, shake

the cripple from his insight

We don’t proclaim our madness

on a street corner by the Ritz,

but we tie our shoes

and button each button,

and our insanity gurgles

in the throat of a man

strapped by intravenous tubes –

the rapist and killer

who acts out your sickness and mine

Suburban hangman,

what does the gray matter

when not to fold, bend or mutilate

matters more than

the clatter of the guillotine,

the bang of a trap door,

the steam of your witness

hyperventilating against the glass?

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