Innocent, As Charged

Innocent, As Charged

who gets what

has become a matter

of value

of potential

you may be worth protecting

but not worth saving

<>

you may innocent

but that’s no guarantee

you won’t be prosecuted

your alibi may be solid

but once it is questioned

it becomes a proof of your guilt

<>

you may be guilty

but directing blame

can get you off the hook

you can cast suspicion

on the innocent

for even thinking you are guilty

while you wash blood off your hands

<>

if your value is greater

you deserve the protection

while the innocent are worthless

blameless

disposable

sacrificed

The first verse of this piece was written about five years ago when I was working my way through the Rules as prompts. But this dichotomy of who deserves protection hasn’t changed since then. The limits of that protection are consistently tested by the likes of Trump (money, not law, protects him from the law), even in Ontario there is a tug-of-war going on over education priorities & control. 

Someone said something to the effect that the exploited have no rights, only mercy – that laws are made to allow the merciful to find more devious ways of control & when the exploited realize this, as they often do, they are legislated into being grateful for any justice that might accidentally occur. It seems that those billionaires forget that without the working poor their financial empires would crumble. If there was no profit in keeping the poor poor, poverty would end. Or be made illegal – lock’em up & funnel that welfare money into the penal system.

I am grateful for what entitlement I may have as an older white cismale. I don’t have to worry about being arrested for bringing in a package delivered to my front steps while I was out. But know as I get older, with my limited financial resources me options will get smaller but I don’t lose sleep over that, nor am I obsessed with justice – one of the many things one can become so focused on futility takes over. 

These are thoughts that drift through as I talk about these old poems. One of the keys to meditation is to let thoughts drift without trying to impose order on them- denying those thoughts doesn’t allow them to drift. Focusing only on those thoughts stops blocks the ability to see beauty. Besides I’m not that complicated.

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Down The Blame Drain

Down The Blame Drain

what I lead you to believe

isn’t necessarily true

you let yourself be lead on

now don’t get defensive

but it was your willingness 

to fill in the blanks 

with your own expectations

that resulted in this

misunderstanding

<>

I could have pointed that

but you were so sure of yourself

contradicting you

seemed pointless

you can’t blame me

for you making it so easy

to lead you on

<>

once I started

you made no pause for me to stop

you took the wrong hint

dashed on with it

before I could stop you

and when I did

you were dumbfounded

you thought I was joking

now you know I wasn’t

<>

so blame me

even if it wasn’t my fault

This is a variation on one of my frequent notions – how we use language to evade responsibility. ‘What did she expect, I’m a man.’ ‘There were unexpected casualties.’ ‘He was black – young – in drag – so I shot him.’ The sad thing about these evasions is how acceptable they are to many people. 

I once read about a drunk driver, whose out-of-control car killed people on the sidewalk at around 11 p.m. – he said ‘they shouldn’t have been walking that late at night’ – he got off with a fine because the dead weren’t wearing bright enough clothes & had to bare some of the responsibility. All too often it seems that confessing replaces facing consequences, or facing consequences is seen as unfair & that a lack of forgiveness is spiteful. 

This poem is about shifting responsibility in such a way one isn’t sure who is responsible. There is an undercurrent of a much used romcom trope of a mistaken identity that is allowed to go on until one of parties feels betrayed. ‘you only loved me because you thought I was rich’ – a mistake that could have cleared up with a simple statement like – I’m not who you think I am – but no it is allowed to go on & on. Or poor twin killing the rich one to assume that identity. 

There is also a sense that the costume we wear is often mistaken for who we are, for what class we belong in. Dressing the part of say, a doctor, when one isn’t a doctor. Wear a white lab coat in any hospital & people will assume you are staff. Walk around a store with a clipboard & you can get away with merchandise. Look like you know what you are doing & people will assume you know what you are doing & that you have the right to do it 🙂


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