Swans Commentary » swans.com October 9, 2006  



On the Suspension of Habeas Corpus


by Gerard Donnelly Smith





(Swans - October 9, 2006)  
Without the body no words against abuse,
No counter-testimony about injustice,
Only a ghost's chance for freedom,
Only women holding photographs,
The flat, yet inadmissible, evidence
That the missing did indeed disappear,
Speak as if in communication with the dead,
For they are dead, dead to justice:
Zombies held by fascist methods and tactics;
Legal slight-of-hand instead of voodoo powder:
Buried alive beneath shredded constitutions
That should have stood for liberty
Instead of cowering below a puny man
Who has an inferiority complex.

Habeas Corpus ad Subjiciendum,
The great writ of liberty written out
Now written out of law by actors
In a self-realized Wagnerian opera:
Torture as the grail, the writ's suspension
A spear that heals their conscience
And baptizes their brotherhood in blood;
The shattering chalice echoes
Through the corrupted chambers
Where pages cower from pedophiles
Who have power to hide the bodies
Whom they have exposed to abuse,
Those they swore to protect.

Gross negligence compels the negligent
To retroactively forgive gross action,
Expunging their contributory neglect,
Wanton behavior and reckless indifference
Justified by the turn of a phrase: combatant,
A synonym for rebel, confederate, insurgent;
Prisoners who have no body before the law,
Who like soldiers on Johnson's Island,
Or at Andersonville, die from exposure,
Or lack thereof before any judge or jury;
Citizens all under the Constitution, remember
         First they came for the Jews
         and I did not speak out
         because I was not a Jew.
             --Pastor Martin Niemöller (1892-1984)


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About the Author

Gerard Donnelly Smith on Swans (with bio).



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Swans -- ISSN: 1554-4915
URL for this work: http://www.swans.com/library/art12/gsmith74.html
Published October 9, 2006