I Will Have The Last Word
In equal seats at the round table, each with a voice on the scale of justice,
Sat three Cyclops in disguise; wearing sunglass monocle and
Red tinted bald head rubber caps.
On the opposite side, three Angels sat with pleated wings of sea-gull feathers,
Waiting to argue for him but feeling queasy and unable.
All speaking in unison, “You have only a few words before the ultimate gavel
Echoes you, to a sentence of silence.”
“Do you understand? You only have a few words”,
Repeated one of them, Under their breath
With a voice of compassion.
Everything that was bad or good,
Smiles and cries, and all those moments in-between,
Became reams of litigation suspended in litter.
Bound for this uncomfortable meeting,
I showed up wearing only a t-shirt,
Unshaven and a few items in a half empty paper bag.
I took my seat on a steel-gray folding chair
Without the cushion of a good history;
Braced with the events that allowed this chance, to convene.
Then, they began to strip-mine my life, looking and digging
Into the ground of my relatives, mentioning buried outlaws;
Ancestors still connected to my bones.
All my errors descended into a million pieces of recycled confetti.
They dismissed every excuse to free me.
They found nothing of value, stating, they were unable to release me.
They discounted everything I had borrowed,
Insisting on their uselessness when I returned them.
I shouted above my ignorance:
“Dance, dance, dance you Cyclops, around my mistakes.
Fuel your caldron with distasteful acknowledgement,
Envy the situation that is not present.
And you! Preen your Angel feathers without dissent
With the oil of penance.”
Peering across the table, with silver cups in front of everyone
Except in front of him, he noticed in the center of the table,
A scarred brown plastic tray, sat one tin cup.
He grabbed it, banging the empty cup for their same drink
Insisting for a better portion and perhaps
forget this nightmare and let him go.
Let him go home.
“What is it now, that everything is drunk?” Spoke one Angel.
“What is it now that you can savor?” Said one Cyclops,
Sipping his cup, on the opposite side of the table.
They all replied, in a confident anthem:
“We are all of the same dust. We are unbound, released from gravity
Without offense. Unlike you, sitting, fidgeting, now bound guilty
From this agenda, this torture
I squealed, I rat-ed out and rolled on my ego.
Confessing to be, in mind, an accomplice without heart.
I pleaded “mercy” to the table exclaiming, “guilty!”
I swooned, I almost fainted. I felt the floor roll beneath me
Like silt in a receding tide.
Standing, grasping what became actually visible.
I kicked my chair from the table, sent it flying behind me.
I swept my space clean.
An empty cup pinged to the floor spilling fear where it belonged.
The echo, stretched, crawling unsuccessfully to find the exit door.
Who am I now, as I try to rise above this table,
Trying to escape the infinite loop that leaves the measure of me to others?
Where swearing and praying becomes a side bar for approval or complaint.
They sit across from each other, saying the same things in redundancy;
Syllable after syllable, arriving at the same conclusion, using different words.
He quietly sat down across wingless angels and puffy black-eyed Cyclops.
Humbly took his assigned seat at a long aluminum rectangular table,
In the State, prison dining hall.
He placed his scarred brown plastic tray carrying a milk carton
And his scooped up meal.
Today is his first day; his first spoon towards a year and a day.
(One thousand and ninety-seven left).
Saturday night: he eats folded white bread dipped in beans
Savoring the franks. He will probably eat smelt on Fridays.
I see the end recoiling back, hiding in this cosmic dust
Of breath and conscience death, .Each moment for me is mine
Within a circle without chairs of decision or indecision,
Where forgiveness, atonement and contentment has to begin.
“I am not afraid.”
Those were his last words
Before the gavel burst into unconsciousness.