attorney richard krech is a survivor of the 1960s poetry revolution. after parking his muse for 25 years, he has emerged from retirement into the light. he lives in berkeley, calif. the poem 'in chambers' which was originally printed in a DPress chapbook, the 1932 3Af Claret, which was a very limited edition & the publisher, Richard Denner, has given permission to re-print it. email@example.com
Video hook-up w/ the county jail.
In between live arraignments
and calendar matters
the Robe two-way video conferences
w/ a concrete cell
miles away across the freeway.
Dejected distracted jail-uniformed men
standing next to deputy sheriffs
plead guilty to infractions
and misdemeanors for time served
A promise of immediate freedom
for a hook chained to their back
for three years.
[Probation violation hearings
are perfunctory affairs] The
bargained-for illusion of freedom
memorialized in the video-tape
of the judicial proceeding
The cool air of the evening
thru the slid-up window
crossing my consciousness.
The faint modulated hum of the world,
a car accelerating into the distance.
In the next room the water
is making boiling sounds
as dinner cooks.
I look at the objects in my room,
the accumulation of a lifetime.
"We use things
to try to get beyond
them" I wrote
Still waiting 35 years later
for the transcendence to happen.
At least dinner
will come sooner.
No songs to sing.
I put away my notebook.
Glance at the cover of the book I'm reading
which lies on my table. The photographic cover
makes it look like a video
that I don't know how to access.
I feel empty but not hungry.
I blame the early-setting Winter sun
for my not watering the lawn.
I pick up this tablet
& regain that sense of purpose
of trying to craft that thought,
Trying to write a novel about no
"It's the most high stakes poker game
in the world" he said,
exaggerating only slightly,
leaning over in his chair towards mine
as we spoke in quiet voices
heard by no one else in the chamber.
Advocates and adversaries
sitting in a circle
as they have for years.
The black robe in the center
of attention, the center of power
the robe changing its inhabitant
on a cyclical basis.
Showing enough of your hand
to create a threat to the opponent.
Keeping as much powder and ammunition
dry as possible
for use in battle if it comes.
Presenting technical legal issues
or broad constitutional claims
always against a factual background
limited by provable facts
and evidentiary objections of your opponents.
Always the facts. Yr skill
or that of the adversary
must always bow to the provable facts.
Yet the sieve of evidentiary objections
of "hearsay" and 352 and 1101(b),
the sieve of "judicial discretion"
strains that factual material
so thin sometimes
so fat at others
that its rough weave resembles the truth
like a general outline
but details, perhaps crucial
perhaps not, are distorted.
The advocates and adversaries
discuss with each other
trade facts and arguments
and often turn to the robe for approval
or to tweak the deal
one way or another.
The currency of these transactions
are paid in bodies and time.
Time taken from a life.
There is no symbolism here. The words
are used to describe exactly what occurs.
Time taken from a life in being.
the adversaries try to take a whole life
all at once
and destroy it.
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