Lurid Confessions

One fine morning they move in for the pinch

& snap on the cuffs--just like that.

Turns out they’ve known all about you for years,

have a file the length of a paddy-wagon


with everything--tapes, prints, film . . .

the whole shmear. Don’t ask me how but

they’ve managed to plug a mike into one of your molars

and know every felonious move & transgression

back to the very beginning, with ektachromes

of your least indiscretion & peccadillo.

Needless to say, you are thrilled,

tho sitting there in the docket

you bogart it, tough as an old tooth--

your jaw set, your sleeves rolled

& three days of stubble. . . . Only,

when they play it back it looks different:

a life common & loathsome as gum stuck to a chair.

Tedious hours of you picking your nose,

scratching, eating, clipping your toenails. . .

Alone, you look stupid; in public, your rapier

wit is slimy & limp as an old bandaid.

They have thousands of pictures of people around you

stifling yawns. As for sex--a bit

of pathetic groping among the unlovely & luckless:

a dance with everyone making steamy love in the dark

& you alone in a corner eating a pretzel.

You leap to your feet protesting

that’s not how it was, they have it all wrong.

But nobody hears you. The bailiff

is snoring, the judge is cleaning his teeth,

the jurors are all wearing glasses with eyes painted open.

The flies have folded their wings and stopped buzzing.

In the end, after huge doses of coffee,

the jury is polled. One after another

they manage to rise to their feet

like narcoleptics in August, sealing your fate:

Innocent. . .innocent. . .innocent. . . . Right down the line.

You are carried out screaming.