(On the tenth anniversary of an American injustice)
January 16, 2006
Does Injustice Matter?
Does injustice matter?
Does it matter? Losing your case?
For (higher) law will always be kind
To those hunting for justice.
And you need not show that you mind
When power comes in to gobble their splendid work
As you sit on the isle remembering
And turning your heart to the light.
Does it matter? That they threw your dreams to the pits?
Forget those dreams and be glad
And people won’t say that you’re mad
For they’ll know that you fought for a fad,
And no one will scold you a bit.
In a frenzied court house he sits still
The leap of a file from its container
Makes his sunken eyes instantly tremble,
Scratching his cropped hair,
Like the ghost of a scarecrow in the field
Sustained by his immovable, faded chair
He’s already died in its care.
This village of voices explores his death.
I am thinking of how he may one day be
The savior of one.
Leaving To Court
Monday morning at 9 O’clock as
The court begins its ritual
I silently close the door behind me
Holding on to the note that I hope to assist me
In my presentation.
Stepping inside is easy
Sitting next to a woman clutching her handkerchief
And a man reading his subpoena, struggling hard
To make sense of it.
Something tells me we are all alone
Not a chance to prove our cases
With prior appointments with defeat.
But why should law treat us so thoughtlessly
Quietly turning its backside key on
Silently vacating its fair senses?
The creatures of this ritual
Are made of metal and gas.
The room is empty. The walls
Keep glancing at me guiltily
Struck by my dumb presence.
They have all the elements of
Ancient drama, indicting walls
Their austere, fresh painting
Glancing at me guiltily.
I keep waiting patiently
Sunk by their spirit of
All the things that judges love through their door
Run well with their pry and pore
A voice, a whisper, a proper attire
Cheering smile of sun through the window
Reminding them: A wiser authority
Is still at work.
That smile forbids the thought
Tranquil assurance that feeble justice
Upholds the social fabric
I learn – but not by reading alone
Resolving into one great seminar
On the complete works of law
The conversations they hold by the side bar.
Off To The Side Bar
A sudden drop of eye brows
And slink to the side,
Announces that the judge is in the house!
Fast and demanding, in vivid tribute
To the giants and their fondest tribunals
A flirty romp through the blues
Of rules of evidence against a backdrop
Of bored jurors, the judge fills a blackboard
Of swaggering legal exuberance.
My bout of hope and despair
Momentarily grew heavier:
The black robe was hideously dark.
I could not sink the illumination in.
There he sat, like a savage uncaged
Behind a carnal, corrupted disguise
Of neutrality, under the mask
And ether of justice.
With a tongue of burial and
A hangman’s gaze,
Held me in contempt.
Hatred is not a legal value.
When justice is kidnapped
By its own emotional blackmail
Like a solitary miser
With no one to confess to
Law stands at ground zero
Forced to exit the back door
Lamenting the plague of fables
Of steel justices giving cold shoulder
As soldiers do in their glory of trenches
To the fat of their fear.
Kaveh Afrasiabi has a Ph.D. in political science. He has authored a number of books, fiction and non-fiction, and numerous articles -- including the Harvard Theological Review, Middle East Journal, UN Chronicle, and The New York Times. He is the author of: After Khomeini: New Directions in Iran's Foreign Policy (Westview Press, 1994).