Poem: THOU SHALT NOT KILL, by Alan Garrigan

When a person is sure that he is good, he is nearly hopeless; he gets cruel- he believes in punishment.” – Clarence Darrow.

Eye for an eye—That anguish, Capital-one murder charge, First degree

Would you like to go by bullet or electricity?
South Carolina courts gave the outlaw Richard Moore,
Eight days to find a solution—The facts laid up. Thou shalt not kill

Eye for an eye—Out of Spartanburg, USA. Twenty-one years on death row,
Straight from the block, A stone jail—Cuffs and chains, thou shalt not kill

Eye for an eye, lived his life, cruel and blue. They said he was vicious,
Disordered like Cain. Starved with want, all he knew was— murder,
To push it further, thou shalt not kill

Eye for an eye, the electric chair has 2000 volts, wouldn’t stick it, not his fault,
For his sin he chose, firing squad, no better way to waste—The flesh, his mother bore
Nasty and cruel, thou shalt not kill.

Eye for an eye—He’d rather sit there, On his ass in front of, Three-men at the shooting range,
Butch Cassidy, Billy the kid, Jesse James. Thou shalt not kill

Eye for an eye, the mercy seat, His sullen gaze, Full of dream, but is it unconstitutional,
Is it right? Does it matter he wasn’t white—These days, Either way,
Solid and unabashed, thou shalt not kill

Eye for an eye, Greg Hembree said “The bill will likely draw lawsuits,
Probably put men in the supreme court”, But he’s a Senate Republican,
Does he really care? Capital blood-sport, Lawyers and jailers, Retribution, not repair,
Thou shalt not kill

Eye for an eye—Richard Moore the addict who needed cocaine, In a convenience store,
A crime insane, Non-Compos mentis? His fire of rage, Through heat and struggle,
Passion’s slave? But James Mahoney— dead, Stung like JFK,
Both lives thrown away, In the affray, thou shalt not kill

Eye for an eye, another small-town, cold blood killing?
Or just another African American male
In a world unforgiving? Racialised, sent for execution—Straight from the hood
No cards to play, Written in blood. By old Jim Crow

Unjust institutions, systemic violence? A chain reaction? Beneath the silence,
Misery ensigns the soul—Awaits a new dawn, thou shalt not kill

Eye for an eye. Hear their moans, Richard Moore, Brad Sigmon,
Gary Terry, Freddie Owens, And the thirty-two more—
On South Carolina’s death-row, Caged birds, desiring to be free,
Tormenting game, let it be—Abolish the death-penalty.
Thou shalt not kill.


Author: poetryfest

Submit your Poetry to the Festival. Three Options: 1) To post. 2) To have performed by an actor 3) To be made into a film.

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