Out of the Box

screenshot 2015-04-12 11.25.54.png

Out of the Box

“I closed the box and put it in a closet.”  Joan Didion.

Blood will out.
Maybe not as anticipated.
To date, DNA has exonerated
over 300 people post-
conviction in the U.S.,
more than twenty on
death row.
The total of time wrongly served–
4,505 years.

“Out out damn spot,”
the police shout,
though they use
other terminology:  “Fuck
your breath.”

Death ensues.
People try
to sue.
The black cat bricked up behind the wall,
while quick,
snarls, yowls.
Thank God for cell phone cameras.


Here’s a sort of poem for the 13th (I’m guessing) day of April, 2015 National Poetry Month.  This is for Susie Clevenger’s prompt on With Real Toads to write about a Joan Didion quotation.  My figures are taken from the “Innocence Project,” which is a charitable organization in the U.S. that devotes itself to the exoneration of persons wrongfully incarcerated. The quote “fuck your breath” comes from the case of a  recent shooting death in Tulsa, Oklahoma, perpetrated by a “deputy” to the Tulsa Police Department, who is a man who donated large amounts of money to that police department and was allowed to serve as a reserve police member.  He ended up shooting Eric Harris, claiming the death was accidental; that he had only meant to taser Mr. Harris.  (Question–why would he taser the guy anyway?)  The case is reminiscent of the Eric Garner case in Staten Island, New York, in which an African-American man who was suspected of selling loose cigarettes without paying the sales tax on the cigarettes was pressed down into the sidewalk until he died, all the way protesting, I can’t breathe.    

Honestly, I should write a poem about how I’ve bricked all this up myself, really not conscience of all that has been going on in the criminal “justice” world and the war on drugs, despite my childhood in what was then the South – D.C. and Maryland.  Another poem when I can stomach it. 

Screen shot is from the New York Daily News. 

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11 Comments on “Out of the Box”

  1. hedgewitch Says:

    A scandal and a shame, and why this ‘wealthy donor’ ever was given the position he had is beyond me–law enforcement is not a field trip for forgetful seniors who want to play with guns. Your poem is forceful and spot on, and its ragged truth is tearing us apart as a country.

  2. Snakypoet (Rosemary Nissen-Wade) Says:


  3. Jim Says:

    You hit a nerve or two or more, k. Our crazy (they call themselves conservative but that doesn’t match my definition) Texas Legislature has been considering a bill to ban cell phones and video cameras within 25 feet of a police incident. Or how about the Florida?

    “Gov. Scott, … has repeatedly said he is not convinced that climate change is caused by human activity, despite scientific evidence to the contrary.” So “”“We were told not to use the terms ‘climate change,’ ‘global warming’ or ‘sustainability,’ ” said Christopher Byrd, an attorney with the DEP’s Office of General Counsel in Tallahassee from 2008 to 2013.”

  4. Oh heavy stuff that we really need to hear , think about and, hopefully, protest. Well done.

  5. Ella Says:

    Thank you, for going there! I am in shock hearing this news-crazy seems to rear its head more and more each day-wth!

    The cost of truth is tragic~

  6. M Says:

    ffffffffffffffffffffff. i don’t think there are enough f’s. ~

  7. This country is so crazy. It seems like it is on a downhill slide to the dark ages. Your poem is powerful and spot on! Thanks so much for taking part in the challenge.

  8. Oh the blatant lies have become so much more difficult now.. those police really could have made it through before, but now they are forced to believe, but still they manage to get through I guess..

  9. Kerry O'Connor Says:

    It is shocking to realize how many innocent people have lost years of their lives because of erroneous convictions – there is nothing that can compensate for that loss except the truth coming out. It is such a shame.

  10. Raivenne Says:

    All that time over 4,000 years – peoples lives wasted living or dead. Excellent on topic write.

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