“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, April 9, 1984


Some execute their wayward

with a square-shaped gun

held 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 anger and mine.

Suburban hangman,

What does the gray matter?

When not to fold, bend or mutilate

matters more than

the chatter of the guillotine,

the bang of a trap door,

the steam of your witness

hyperventilating against the glass.



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