In the courtroom
In the matter of theft of property
his eminence the author Michael Parkes
shall face the firing squad


the judge was old and as wrinkled
as the newspaper you sat on
on the train and then tried to read
words folded onto one another spelled
an evil warning, a talisman of wrong

shock tactics

and now he faced the music
the happy gavel striking out
years of freedom in any minute

what a job that old hook nosed bastard
what your honour pleases
his black eyes seared forth
“What is your claim?”
“If your Honour pleases, it is a matter of honour”.
“You wish to fight a dual?”
“At dawn”
“What is the charge?”
“A man has stolen my wife”
“But, you are not married. You are merely a squire.”
“My intended.”
“I see. Well its a razor away from mischief but I will allow it. Who is the intended duelle”
“It’s Blind doc” a marvellous hush descended
“You want to fight a duel with a blind doctor?”
“I do not, he is my friend and compardre, but in a drinking game he declared his love for my lost love, Alicia, and now I can no longer bear it.”
“I see. How is a duel with a blind doctor going to absolve you? Shooting your best friend will scar your heart forever. Friendship runs deeper than flesh, its to the bone.”
“Your kind honour explains it well. But for one fact.”
“And what is that?”
“I fully intend to lose. It is the only way I can deliver my Alicia from the pain of my love for her.”
“I see. A duel is the one exception, a crime of passion. But what if Blind Doc refuses, as he should.”
“He is a man of great honour. He will not refuse.”
“I will grant your petition. There is to be a dual at dawn.”

And so it was as the early hour approaches
Strained as I was tumbling down a deep cravass
a crack in my own wisdom had engulfed me
and falling, tumbling and not hitting the walls
and the voice demanded I fall upward
the voice did not stop I asked it to stop
but it called at me and then shook my shoulders
and I awoken now and inhaling deeply
assumed the position and was dressed

The water had not stopped peeling out of air
and the grass was not yet wet
the air was a crystal
turning and turning
the weapon of choice was a loaded musket
handed with extraordinary grace
into my hand

at this time my fate was determined
if I was to fire at my friend
the rest of life was doomed
I had no choice but to fire
my gun into the air
that way he could be fooled
into thinking I had simply
missed and he could now aim

But the tarnished musket jammed
there was no moment so I called out
breaking the dawn’s embrace of silence

“I have no weapon” I called
“Neither do I” my wise friend said.
And so we watched the dawn over the first bottle of wine.