Wednesday, June 26, 2013

Nine, Five, Four

Nine, Five, Four

Nine wise, black-robed, sequestered scions
With one voice: Law.

Speaking with brave equivocation
For this now's people
with forebears' words:

Compromising, a tenuous whole,
Split along old faults,
Bridging others.

Jurisprudentially bound by rule:
Accounting to God,
Accounting Man.

Channeling precedent, common claims
On humanity
With consequence.

Bravely banishing uncertainty
With uncertainty,
With spliced nuance.

Six men, three women, four liberals,
Six Roman Catholics,
A Latino,

Georgian, African-American,
Two Californians,
Four New Yorkers,

Italian-Americans, three Jews
Four conservatives,
More summed than whole.

Holding a polished, law-honed mirror,
Reflecting itself,
One court, one Land,

One live, heart-beating Constitution,
One deciding vote,
Straddling dissent.

Balancing justice and humans' rights,
Truth and tradition:
Science and faith.

Proclaiming:  Here, no more may "same-sex
Married couples have
Their lives burdened

By reason of government decree
in visible and
public ways." No!

"Majority goes off course," and yet
Firm-rooted, bides.

Conjuring Blackstone and Solomon,
Burke, Locke, Marshalls both,
Unruly mob:

Admitting, tacitly the failures,
Imperfections in
Decisions past.

Nine patriots, Americans all,
Five: equality
Four: yesterday.

Friday, June 21, 2013



"You better use that sc'atch paper, now"
     She warned, with feigned alacrity,
"I don't wanna see no mess."
     "Don't come in here with no foolishness."
     "C'mon, now, show yo' work."

Linking twenty bussed-in kids, mostly
      white and mostly lousy with math,
To Euclid: the street off Keech,
      She was the curvy embodiment
      Of its Greek-honed hero.

Word problems, in this sweet world of Slate,
     Chalk, sweat, unhidden erections
And harsh, innocent cruelties,
     Faded behind stifled chuckles and
     Algebra: its own sake.

Day's end sneakings back for extra help,
     Lips parting, white and gold-toothed grins,
She taught more than "solve fo' X."
     She shared lilac-wrapped humanity
     Within tight, buxom hugs.

That we cherished but dared not admit,
     Re-ordering operations,
 As our A-D-Ds allowed:
     Latch-keyed, lanky, and fearing failure:
     Always show our work.