I . The Accused: “Your Honor…

And if I were a troubled lad
and if indeed I did go bad,
it matters not what I’ve done since?
No point in trying to convince
when crushed between the iron jaws
of merciless inhuman laws.
Can I forgive those who would shame
my lifetime’s work, my own good name?

 

II. The Accusers: “J’Accuse!…

I hang a cloud above your head
that will be there until you’re dead.
The tarnish on your sterling name
will cast a shroud of doubt and shame.

What can restore the brilliant sheen
I have besmirched with the obscene?
The truth? Don’t make me laugh, my friend;
pack up your bags, this is the end.

 

III. The Moral of the Story

The mighty tumble to the ground;
they crash and burn without a sound;
their lives are ruined—and no one cares?
Perhaps it is that no one dares
to say a word in their defense
against such power, so immense!
The question then: what will you do
when Me Too tars and feathers you?

 

Joe Tessitore is a retired New York City resident and poet.

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16 Responses

  1. Frank De Canio

    Well done, Joe. My position has been and always will be, “let the axe fall where it should” I just don’t understand that jurisprudence, informed by men, can tell women – “Well, you’re still alive. I can’t execute anyone for that.” Suppose someone levels a legislator’s home? Will he be happy with a mitigated sentence, where his wife and all his 7 children are left homeless? Leonato in Shakespeare’s Much Ado About Nothing, said: “Please leave me alone. I intend to be flesh and blood, not airy philosophy, for there has never yet been a philosopher who could endure a toothache patiently, even though they all write as if they had risen above human suffering and misfortune.” Would we be less angry if nobody died in the World Trade Center? Then why should a woman bite the bullet when it comes to rape. And what message would legislators be giving to rapists if the latter knew, pending incontrovertible guilt, that they should count the minutes before they’d leave this world, not 20 years. Again. I’m referring to cases where there is not an iota of doubt. That said, we should all be bound by due process and not opinions or circumstantial evidence.

    Reply
  2. C.B. Anderson

    Although I liked your message, I must weigh in with a few grammatical points:

    I, line 1: It’s “were” not “was,” the subjunctive, not the indicative mood.

    I, line 5: To preserve grammar & meter, the entire sentence should be rendered thus:

    No point in trying to convince,
    When crushed between the iron jaws
    Of merciless inhuman laws.

    II, line seven: A comma is necessary between “laugh” & “my” because your putative friend is an addressee. That’s just standard practice. It’s more or less similar to the grammatical convention of putting a comma after “Dear Friend” at the head of a letter.

    Aside from these minor misdemeanors, I found these poems both poignant and timely. Nice job, Joe. I assure you, if you ever decide to leave NYC, you won’t go out tarred & feathered. Although, considering the political climate there, that’s precisely what might happen. I’m sure you have had numerous disputes with your neighbors, if you speak to them of such things. Follow your star, but don’t always broadcast your destination.

    Reply
  3. ALLEN DESPRES

    Kavenaugh is applying for a position of power He has been nominated by a president, who constantly attacks others with lies and abuse, if they don’t agree with him.
    Kavenaugh would over turn or limit a womans right to choose, the Affordable Care Act, Laws protecting the environment, and protect the abusive actions of this President. He has already shown he is biased against the Democratic Party.

    I have the word Gaarland, for all those who talk about injuistice.
    And if anyone thinks the Supreme Court doesn’t have the power to make millions suffer, below there are two rulings that had injust and brutal consequences.
    The Dredd Scott Decision- 1859
    Plessy vs Fergusib 1896.

    If he has been unjustly accused then the truth will out.
    That is neither here, nor there pertaining to his fitness on the court.

    He should be voted down.

    Reply
    • C.B. Anderson

      With all due respect, Allen, you might consider changing your surname to Desperate

      Reply
  4. E. V.

    These are very good poems, Joe. You have developed an ear for meter. Let’s be grateful conservatives have a voice at the Society of Classical Poets.

    Reply
  5. Jack Beaulieu

    “The mighty tumble to the ground.” And so do “the rich and famous”–like Cosby, for example, now in jail for a rape he was found guilty of committing 14 years ago.

    Ford did well on her polygraph test. Maybe K should see how well he does when hooked up to a lie detector?

    The poem seems to assume that Ford was lying. It is equally possible that K is lying. He did say that back in his school days he never drank to the point of blacking out. So you’d think he’d remember “train rapes” if they happened. I would guess that major stuff like that tends to stick in the memory more.

    The poem suggests that people should be forgiven for the sins of their youth. But attempted rape is not exactly a peccadillo.

    The poem says that “no one dares to speak in their defense”– but so far as I know, Trump has continued to back K.

    The poem seems to assume the “Me Too Movement” will win. It sorely laments that possibility, because–why?
    Because the mighty should never tumble? Because it can be assumed that people who attempt rape in their youth will outgrow the sexual predator stage of their lives?

    The mighty often tumble–and thank god for that in many cases–and some sexual predators never outgrow their predatory urges, as is well documented.

    Obama made a mistake in not appointing Garland as a temporary justice. He had the power to do that I think, but let the opportunity slip by.

    Nice post Allen. I don’t know much about K, but considering his supporters, I’m guessing your advice is correct.

    Reply
  6. James A. Tweedie

    A Response to
    Ford vs. Kavanaugh

    By James A. Tweedie

    Both rape and sexual abuse
    Are almost always done in private.
    Which makes it hard to then accuse
    The men by women who survive it.

    For those molested cannot prove
    Their case for there’s no evidence
    Or witness to support their move
    To charge a criminal offense.

    If evidence can’t be produced
    Then it becomes “He said—She said.”
    And if the charge is introduced
    In court, the judge declares it “Dead.”

    Because of this most women choose
    To withhold such an accusation.
    Aware that they no doubt will lose
    Their dignity and reputation.

    The law’s intent is right and good,
    But in this case “the law’s an ass”
    For shaming women’s victimhood
    While giving guilty men a pass.

    Of course such accusations can
    Be false and fraudulent, it’s true.
    The reputation of a man
    Can be destroyed by one “Me too!”

    Regarding Christine Blasey Ford
    And Kavanaugh we’ll never know,
    Perhaps, who spoke the truthful word:
    The woman’s, “Yes,” or the man’s, “No.”

    Americans, both “Red” and “Blue,”
    Will sift politicized confusions,
    Then choose a side, and claim as true
    Their firm, self-justified conclusions.

    As far as I’m concerned, it’s all
    “Lose/lose” for everyone involved.
    Now politics will make the call
    And leave the verdict unresolved.

    But women, silent in the past,
    Have been empow’red to speak their mind.
    And those who have been pawed, harassed,
    Or raped have quite an axe to grind.

    So every guilty man should fear
    The wrath of those they have abused.
    The price they’ll pay will be severe
    For sins exposed and unexcused.

    All guilty men are now forewarned:
    Prepare to be exposed and scorned.

    And those who fabricate a lie,
    May they be cursed by God and die.

    Reply
    • Frank De Canio

      I’m a stickler for comprehensiveness, for getting in as many points of view, for addressing as many sides of an issue as possible and I’m also a rhyming poet. So I can say you did a great job of covering all bases. People who rape should be cursed by God, let Nature take care of the dying. On the other hand, we live in a country ruled by law, notwithstanding the smug, self-righteous demigods in the media – at least it was like that when I last looked. I urge every woman to move with alacrity when they are abused, so that they must not be deprived of justice. The poem was wonderfully terse and comprehensive and metrically perfect.

      Reply
    • Joan Carol Fullmore

      I loved every word of your poem until I got to the last line! 🙂 May I suggest:

      And for those who on others fabricate
      Lord help them when they face their fate.

      Reply
  7. Joe Tessitore

    Thank you all for your comments.
    I did not write these poems to prove or disprove anything. I wrote them for forgiveness, and against the horrifying notion of “guilty until proven innocent”.

    Reply
  8. The Society

    Another poem on this topic, just submitted:

    On the Davenport
    by Cu Ebide Aswerl

    He sat back on the davenport; the news was on the screen.
    The talk was on Brett Kavanaugh; it came from the machine.
    He stretched his legs out far and wide, o, he was quite relaxed;
    the news report was tense, the pundit outraged to the max.

    Apparently there were teenage shenanigans afoot;
    or were there? can one tell? and was there evidence to boot?
    He tried to concentrate on tolerance, compassion too;
    he longed to come up to the beautiful, the pure, and true.

    Was someone lying? someone standing up for their beliefs?
    Had some been drinking, tossing ice, or nurturing their griefs?
    He closed his eyes and sighed. Was not one innocent until
    one had been proven guilty of the living he had spilled?

    Reply
  9. Steve Shaffer

    “Give Us Barabbas!”

    When reason and truth have both gone astray,
    Political correctness rules the day.
    When everyone lies without compunction,
    Time for societal extreme unction.
    Rules of discourse, now a Gordian knot,
    Yet breaking them will incite a boycott.
    “Never upset me” is the law of the land,
    You know “a house divided cannot stand.”
    “Don’t speak your mind with thoughts undesired,
    Without a doubt we will all get you fired.”
    When others’ thoughts have been laid to rest,
    It seems /your/ ideas must now be addressed.
    You’re top of the heap, then the crowd doth spew:
    “Give us Barabbas!” and then comes for you.

    http://classicalpoets.org/the-day-the-poetry-died-and-other-poetry-by-steven-shaffer/

    Reply

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