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Monday, April 21, 2014


by Gil Hoy

The drawn-out execution of Dennis McGuire has prompted many to question lethal injection in Ohio. McGuire's execution took about 25 minutes; a state expert said he expected it to happen in a matter of minutes. --The Associated Press via The Plain Dealer, January 26, 2014.

Can’t get Ohio out of my
head, damn.

Took 26 minutes to kill
him, some new-fangled
poison not the usual,
a half-baked horror show.

Sour drugs flowed through
blue veins, the prisoner
strapped to a gurney gasped
vacant eyes staring,

nose snorting,
choking almost guttural--
like food stuck in your
on and on, convulsions.

By all accounts, he was
a horrible savage man

25 years ago,
raped, tortured and killed
a young woman with child,

just married, still to live
and be enjoyed.

So nothing cruel or unusual
here, an eye for an eye,
a tooth for a tooth,
Lex talionis, as prophesied.

But this death more
like a Macabre blunder
at a public square picnic
hangin’ from days old,
when the man’s head
in the too-tight hemp noose
might come clean off,

Minute after lingering
minutes, following terrible
60 second minutes
Strangling from the inside,
a mammal gasps for breath.

Heard that his blood in the
crowd had to cover their ears
and wipe their tears from
soaked ashen faces,
I say listen up, after what he did.

If you agree, show the
video play-back to your son,
so he can see what we do,
though slow suffocation
is not for the squeamish,
something to Hide?

Murder: premeditation
and unlawful killing,
the state does you one better,
premeditation and ceremony,
and who are we
to tell the state what to do,
sounds AOK to me.

Much ado about nothing.
Throw to hungry lions
crush ‘em with fat elephants,
devoured by wild sweaty-toothed beasts
does the trick
tear them apart by Galloping horses,
burn him like an over-cooked
headless turkey for your Thanksgiving roast,
crucifixion, decapitation, boil until cooked.

Firing squad? Pass the loaded Gun
please, stoning? A duplicitous
contest to see who casts the first
stone. Disembowelment, OK,
dismemberment, tie him to a
cannon and set the charge, so cool

your mouth just drips with blood
like a stale English Pudding,
gas, hangings, electric chair,
That covers it.

But somewhere I read and
believed to the marrow, now
shaking terrified: turn to him
the other cheek also, or we
will all be Toothless and Blind.

No one’s listening or caring

Blood red Hearts disgorged on a
winding cobblestone trail that leads
to a distant dream
That our eyes don’t hear anymore
and that tastes forgotten anyway.

Gil Hoy is a trial lawyer in Boston, and grew up in Brookline, MA. He received a B.A in Philosophy from Boston University, an M.A. degree in Government from Georgetown University, and a law degree from the University of Virginia. Gil is an elected member of the Brookline Democratic Town Committee, and served as a Brookline Selectman, the Town's highest elected office, for 12 years. Gil is married, with three children, and lives in Brookline, MA.