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What Happened to James Chasse: James Chasse - a poem

Monday, October 2, 2006

James Chasse - a poem

from the Portland Tribune

James Chasse - By Jay Thiemeyer

the callous disregard
the allegation
before the excess
before the kicks
before they sat on broke chest
before they stopped their car
before the man was even there!
Before the manslaughter
before the frieze of cops assembled
with paramedics who stood
all deciding over
the shackled Chasse
before terrorized curses
of a mad man
Jim-Jim defenseless before
the cops with their flack-jackets
before their badges took offense
before the Grand Jury
and before the prosecutor's skilled
orchestration of events
the man was not yet dead.

before the cops agreed
among themselves to be cops
before a man
before the question even came up
of what cops thought -
god knows what Jim-Jim said
much less what they heard -
or what they might be looking at:
less than nothing for them?
or worse, a target,
practice in the Pearl?
with a captive audience.
a show of force, zero-tolerance
for protected privilege
the Pearl assured they got
what they deserved and paid for.
Before the moment when they
might as well have thought
'a man is just a man'
and who is a brother's keeper?
or that bullying sadism has consequences
paid for by others
than those dead

before all that
whether indeed
'a man is just a man' or
that that is
all you need to know
in a civil society
and recognize the spoil of
thinking: "he was a homeless
blemish on the upscale;
he blasphened the Pearl.
He must have done something
to deserve what he got"
which seems to suffice for some
in their sacred scared gated world.

"Face it Jim-Jim -
though you're dead
perhaps you can hear me -
You got no rights, man
they disappear
for the likes of you.
you gave it up by being you,
even your Right to Life."

a blink and nod will never change
how fear responds with a gun
and a badge
to greater fear
the unknown madness

don't forget that, Jim-Jim
might do you some good some day

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