Volume 12 | Issue 1 | January - March 2008

We all know the old saying that for the optimist the cup is half full and for the pessimist it is half empty. When it comes to death penalty/moratorium work in Alabama the realist would have to say that it is neither and if that would seem to be an impossibility please bear with me while I explain the dangers in either perspective.

After the recent huge success in New Jersey friends from abroad as well as out of and in state wrote emails full of hope and it sounded almost as though Alabama would be next. Supporters pointed to our very supportive press, the strides that have been made and even that people in high places thought that in ten years’ time the death penalty would be a thing of the past in Alabama.

The realist begs to disagree! To begin with Alabama has almost nothing in common with New Jersey whichever way you look at it, size of death row, executions, political climate and still New Jersey had to work hard for its success. Meanwhile here in small Alabama we ranked number two for executions last year, continued to execute while eleven other states put executions on hold pending the U.S. Supreme Court ruling, denied post conviction DNA testing and sentenced more people to death than Texas, four times our size. This is progress? This is reason for hope? As for the ten year prediction the realist would respectfully state that to promise a starving child that it will be fed in ten years’ time is obscene.

The realist does see some good things happening in Alabama although they do not yet amount to a glass half full. There is a significant part of the press, which continues to lift up the injustice of capital punishment; there is Senator Hank Sanders who has once more introduced moratorium legislation; our ace in the hole, Attorney Bryan Stevenson; an upcoming visit from Sr. Helen Prejean; the twenty-nine Alabama family members of murder victims in support of a moratorium; the Alabama State Conference of the NAACP; Alabama Arise, Alabama New South Coalition and many new workers all toiling for change in the killing fields of our state. We know that we are not New Jersey but that has not prevented us from learning from its success. We noted the important role of law enforcement in guiding public opinion when it comes to issues of crime and punishment. After all who better than law enforcement, all too often asked to put their lives on the line to speak to the effectiveness of the criminal justice system? And so we have begun to reach out to law enforcement for support. There is power when a retired Chief of Police states when signing on: the death penalty is inhumane and ineffective!

You may wonder why the realist is afraid of optimism and pessimism when it comes to our work in Alabama. Both present pitfalls. In the case of optimism there is room for complacency and
inertia or discouragement when there are no major breakthroughs in the fight. With pessimism it is too easy to conclude that the situation is hopeless, so why even try? To both the realist says feelings are fine but have little to do with our fight or the timeliness of the outcome. We are in this fight for a moratorium and against the death penalty because it is the right thing to do. It is as simple and as hard as that!

Esther Brown

Greetings from the editors desk:
I hope the new year is treating you all well. The first quarter of 2008 is almost over and people across the nation are talking about the Baze v Reese case, involving lethal injection protocals. However, there is something as or more important going on in Alabama right now and that is what I need to talk to you about.

As you read this, our legislators are in session and there are several Bill proposals that are extremely important to our cause. Sen. Hank Sanders and Rep. Marika Coleman have both introduced Bills calling for a moratorium on executions while a study is done to find and correct the flaws in the system. Sen. Sanders has introduced several others concerning capital punishment which also need our support. In order to be voted upon, the Bills first have to make it out of the House and Senate Judiciary Committees. I can’t stress enough how important it is that everyone reading this take action and contact the members of the Judiciary Committees in support of these Bills. Also, we ask that you contact the legislators from your district asking them to support these Bills.

Without your individual support and action, these Bills stand very little chance of passing. Legislators can be contacted by phone, mail or on-line. In an effort to help you help us, we will list as much of the contact information as possible. Please, please, take the time out of your busy day to help make history in Alabama. Thank you all.

Jeff Rieber
Z-540 H1-8A

Film Screening:
The Independent Film Channel (IFC), is preparing to release a new documentary titled At the Death House Door which addresses the most pressing issues surrounding debate on capital punishment including: lethal injection, wrongful conviction, morality and religion. The movie tells the story of Carroll Pickett, who served as the Chaplin for the Texas Department of Corrections from 1982-1995 and counseled 95 inmates executed by lethal injection. It chronicles Pickett’s experience counseling Carlos De Luna, who was executed for a crime he didn’t commit, and tracks Pickett’s ideological transformation from supporting to opposing the death penalty. Project Hope to Abolish the Death Penalty will host a screening at Montevallo University in May.

Alabama Moratorium Legislation:
S.B. 24 regarding juveniles and capital punishment, which would bring Alabama in compliance with the U.S. Supreme Court ruling outlawing death sentences for juveniles at the time of the crime.

S.B. 25 Moratorium on executions

S.B. 46 DNA testing for death penalty and long term imprisonment cases under certain circumstances.

S.B. 47 Mental retardation and capital punishment which would establish criteria and bring Alabama in compliance with the U.S. Supreme Court ruling.

S.B. 48 Jury override in capital cases. Alabama is the only state that has limitless override and 24% of Alabama death row prisoners are there because a judge overrode the jury.

*The House Bill Number is not available at this time, however, Representative Marika Coleman is the sponsor.

For those of you who are writing the address is: 11 S Union St, Montgomery, Alabama 36130
Senate information phone number: (334) 242-7800
House information phone number: (334) 242-7600
*For those with web access: All information can be found on our web site phadp.org
Also, there is a link to identify your legislators by zip code.

Children of the Future:
Imagine if you will, a five-year old child alone at home. There’s no running water. No electricity. No food to eat. Windows are boarded up where the glass has been broken and the restroom is down the hall, third bucket to the left. This child is waiting for its parent to come home from work or wherever so that it can finally eat. Instead of being greeted and fed, the child is beaten with whatever is in sight because it forgot to go a few houses down to fill up two one gallon jugs with water or because the parent had a bad day and needs to vent. Picture this five-year old being told throughout its childhood that it should have died at birth and that it will never amount to anything in life. Imagine this child growing up having to survive the best way it can because no one seems to care Imagine it running away every chance it gets because the mental and physical abuse is too much to bear only to be found and beaten until its flesh is ripe. Picture this person being afraid to look its parent in the eye thinking that it will only upset them. And imagine this child wishing that someone would come to the rescue but it never happens.

Was it hard to imagine that? Have you ever met such a person? I am speaking of that poor child—a child of the future. Do you wonder what became of that child? Perhaps it committed suicide or flirted with the idea? Perhaps it resides in a mental institution? Perhaps it is strung out on drugs? Perhaps it is a bad parent today? Perhaps it resides on death row? Do you care to guess? Whatever your answer is, if you at least made a guess, then you have shown some degree of caring and that’s all that child ever wanted: someone to care. If you do not like the possible outcome for that child then I have given you the reason why the millions of dollars spent on capital punishment should rather be spent in poor communities, whether on awareness, education, health care and support services.

See that child grew up in a poor community and it does not matter whether it was a boy or a girl. Had the millions, which were wasted on capital punishment been invested in that community and others like it, at least the child would have had a recreation center or Boys’ and Girls’ Club to run to as a means of escape even if only for a few hours every day. At least that child would have been exposed to positive influences and guidance so that it could have had a chance and hope for a brighter future. Perhaps it is too late for that child or those children. But it is not too late for the children of today.

We have often heard it said that the children are the future. If this nation truly wants to unite this country, be an example to the rest of the world when it comes to human rights then it must start today. It must start with our youth through prevention, awareness of its needs, education and caring. Today’s youth will one day be the leaders of this nation: doctors, lawyers or residents of death row if nothing is done to prevent it. Our children are our future.

Omar D.

A Christian Perspective:
Produced by Project Hope to Abolish the Death Penalty

Dear Family and Friends,
Greetings! Well another year is upon us. Most people have New Year’s resolutions. Opportunities abound for change. But, the first thing that needs to change is our perception. How we perceive ourselves, others, and our place in the world around us. Who we are or who we perceive ourselves to be, often leads us to say things such as, “I’d be happy if.” Then, when we accomplish the “if”, we learn we are still not happy. Losing 10 pounds is no-guarantee to happiness. Getting a better paying job is no guarantee to happiness.

When we look outside ourselves to find happiness we are most often disappointed. We end up living a reactive life rather than the proactive one that we were meant to live. When the change begins with our perceptions, we are truly being proactive. We stop defining ourselves by outside factors. We start seeing ourselves more authentically and can make changes that last and are positive. We then can choose to stop defending and justifying the negativity we cling to in our lives. We start accepting mistakes as learning experiences. We stop expecting more of others than we expect of ourselves.

This year brings a decision from the U.S. Supreme Court, most likely in June. No matter what the U.S. Supreme Court decides, it will not stop me from caring about my family, friends or myself. I can already see past the momentary feelings I will experience when Baze v. Rees is decided, but it will not change who I am. After all, you are responsible for who you are, how you are, and what you are. I chose to accept Jesus as my Lord and Savior. I chose to get involved with Project Hope to Abolish the Death Penalty. Here’s to more proactive and positive choices in 2008.

Sincerely In Christ,
Ronald B. Smith Jr.
Z -586/H1 -6A

Starting Anew:
Well, another year has crept up on us. And we all have set some goals for 2008. This is a critical time with the primaries in full bloom. All of the candidates are vying for that prized position, President of the United States of America.

They are making promises such as being tougher on crime, bringing the soldiers home from Iraq, and improving health care. Basically, it becomes the same sales pitch every four years. So many promises result in many unkept promises. Outside of the presidential race, lawmakers are watching the United States Supreme Court, awaiting the ruling involving lethal injection. So much taking place at the early stages already. The question I have is, do they sacrifice their time to speak out against the death penalty? The answer is no. Because they based their campaigns around issues such as capital punishment.

Wouldn’t it be nice if America would vote for the right person who will see that lethal injection is a silent form of torture? But, then again, we must live in reality. In the mean time, lets keep our fingers crossed and hope that society will finally see that we are all victims in all of this.

Ulysses Sneed

Every morning I awake with choices to make. I can choose to be positive or I can choose to be negative. I may not be able to choose my own circumstances or how things will end up, but I do get to choose my attitude for that day. It all relates back to my goals. Those that I have set fo my own aspirations. My goals have alot of control over my actions. And that leads me back to my topic…Opportunity. I’m in a place that doesn’t push or encourage you to better yourself or to do better for yourself. You have to take the iniative in creating your own opportunities. You can’t wait around for others to lift you from the ashes of this place, or to do you any favors. That even applies in the free world. So, you must never stop learning and improving your mind. Built into every experience is the wisdom to be stronger in the next chapter of your life.

Death row has opened doors of opportunity for me. Most important of all is the opportunity to know God and my place in His plan. Our church here on the row is called Life Row. Alot of the brothers around me have been given thesame opportunity, to make an eternal decision, they may not have had in the fast paced world. And this decision has been the foundation of every good thing in my life since I made it. No matter where you are in life physically, it is in the eye of the bbeholder how you view adversity. Either you will see hardship or you will see opportunity. I have chosen to see adversity as an opportunity to develop and grow. To advance my thinking and to glorify God in the midst of it all.

We just celebrated the Dr. Martin Luther King’s birthday. A man that was full of great wisdom, insight and foresight. He refused to see adversity as hardship. He worked hard to prepare his family and his followers for the things to come. A new and approved future with equal opportunity to all. He didn’t settle for less. He looked forward to the mountain top and he reached it despite all the odds against him. And with this year’s Presidential race we see that others have also been given that opportunity.

I can understand that no one wants to struggle. But, it is through struggle that you can mature. My life did not have to be this difficult, but since it has been, I’m glad that it has given me so many opportunities.

Dying to Live,
Anthony Tyson

Where There’s Hope, There’s Victory
Hope, a feeling of expectation and desire, as defined by the Oxford dictionary. We all have expectations and for some of us, it is what drives us. For some, it is easy to lose hope when life takes an undesired path. I ask, “why not hope?” Hope is one of many gifts from God and we must hope in all things, while trusting and believing they will come to pass.

I’ve met some on “the row” that seem to have lost all hope. It is saddening because I see them on the very verge of giving up and giving in. I imagine it is difficult to hope when friends or acquaintances have fallen victim to the executioner, and I admit that I too have struggled. When you think of it though, you know the position you are in, and that the State has every intention of taking your life. You cannot lose hope though. You must live every day to the fullest, while hoping for tomorrow. God will provide all you need if you just hope and trust in Him.

Psalms 27:14, tells us “Wait on the Lord: be of good courage and He shall strengthen thine heart: wait I say, on the Lord.” No matter who you are or where you are, we all experience trials, and if we just give it all to Him, He will make a way. In Psalms 34:4, David says, “I sought the Lord, and He loved me, and delivered me from all my fears.” Jesus is the same today as He was yesterday and His saving grace is there for us all if we just ask, and wait. He gives peace and understanding when we seek Him. We have victory in Jesus.

So, I encourage all that are reading my words to hold onto your hope, and do not stumble because of the way things may seem. Make your supplications known to Him and He will hear your cry. Again to hope in everything, living unwaveringly, and knowing you have victory in Jesus!

By: Nicholas Acklin
Asst. Editor

To Kill or not to Kill
“To kill or not to kill, that is the question”, to paraphrase Shakespeare’s Hamlet. Well, killing is a time-honored tradition. So are dictatorship, genocide, slavery and torture.

The past may be our guide, but we are not required to repeat it. The practices above are considered, correctly, anathema to civilized behavior, as should be the Death Penalty. I was once asked how I would feel if my mother was raped and murdered. My honest answer was that I would want to personally rip the offender limb from limb. This is what we call a visceral, or gut, reaction.

Fortunately, civilization means that we don’t have to think with our guts. We can resolve our problems rationally and, yes, with some compassion. It is expensive to house a convict in maximum security for life. Counter intuitively, perhaps, it costs even more to try and execute the same convict, because a Death Penalty trial is so much more expensive. This does not include the moral cost of the Death Penalty.

To lose a loved one to murder is horrible, granted. To harbor such hatred in one’s own heart and to wish for the death of another human being on top of that is much worse.

“To be or not to be”, was Hamlet’s actual question, of course. How to be may be a more appropriate question. Shall we maintain the self-destructive practices of our benighted past, or shall we raise ourselves above the level of the ones we so righteously condemn?

Aulton Craig Smith Birmingham

How Did We Get Here?
How did we get here? Can the justice system be fixed? Will more innocent lives have to be terminated before we can fully comprehend the brokeness of our legal system? What will the United States Supreme Court decide? Can this year be the start of something great for our country or will we just fall back into the mire of injustice, that we have found ourselves stuck in the past thirty-two years after the death penalty was reinstated?

The United States Supreme Court agreed to hear arguments on whether the lethal injection cocktail of the State of Kentucky inflicts unnecessary pain. This was a huge step in the fight over capital punishment, because it has prompted the States to put execuions on hold until the high court makes a decision. Even with all these new developments involving the death penalty, Alabama still tried to execute James Callahan in January. Alabama’s justice system was basically saying our system is fixed and we’re ready to start executing. Will the United States Supreme Court start the turnaround that will take this country back to greatness?

Some of the death penalty States have involved physicians and other health care professionals in the lethal injection procedures. I thought medical personnel were under an oath to provide healing techniques, not techniques that cause harm. Even with medical personnel present this doesn’t ensure that executions go more smoothly. There have been countless botched executions. So, I believe that there isn’t any humane way to end the life of another human. So, why are our politicians wasting taxpayer’s precious money and time trying to find ways.

We got in this predicament because we got away from what made this country great. Yes, our legal system can be fixed. Will it be fixed? Well, that is up to the people with the power to do so. The United States Supreme Court can make a drastic change to greatness with the right choice in their ruling on the “cruel and unusual” punishment of lethal injection. Will they make the great choice or choose to remain in the mire of the broken injustice system? There is only one way for great things to break out in the land and I believe the answer is found in a verse of scripture in Joel 2:21 and it tells who
will do the great things. “Fear not, 0 Land; be glad and rejoice: for the Lord will do great things.”

And I Remain
A Caring Christian

Do What’s Right:
As the year 2008 gets started we can look around the world and easily see that chaos and evil are at levels never before paralleled. As Christians it is too easy to be distracted by the violence and threat of destruction, but as Christians we also must recognize that when we look to our circumstances they get bigger and our God gets smaller. When the people of Israel had no king they did what was right in their own eyes. We can’t look to our circumstances and deal with them by what is right in our own sight. We need to look to our King. When we focus on King Jesus, He gets a lot bigger and our circumstances get alot smaller. We have to put the King back on the throne of our lives and live by faith. Whatever we go through our King will be with us. I’ve talked to lots of people that speak of looking back on their lives and seeing how God brought them through this or that. I’ve experienced this myself. Why can’t we turn this around and look forward knowing that what we have to go through today, we will not go through it alone. God, our King, will be with us and He will use the circumstances of our lives to strengthen us and teach us to rely on Him. G.K. Chesterton wrote the following. “Here dies another day, during which I have had eyes, ears, hands and a great big wonderful world around me. With tomorrow begins another. Did I do everything I could to impact the world the Lord has given me for today?” So, as 2008 moves along, let us make a commitment to put the true King on the throne of our hearts, take our focus off the things around us, live knowing God is with us regardless, and do all we can today to make the world around us better for having endured us for just another day. Let’s do what is right in our King’s eyes.

Love and Peace,
A Person

Message from the Minister:
I’ve just returned from the annual conference of the National Coalition for the Abolition of the Death Penalty. You might think that such an event would be a rather glum affair, but it was quite the opposite.

Fresh off the vote to abolish the death penalty in New Jersey in December, the participants were both excited and hopeful. Indeed, everywhere, it seems but here and a few other holdouts, the tide has turned against the death penalty. While waiting for the next big U.S. Supreme Court decision on the constitutionality of lethal injection, it is important to remember that the last two decisions significantly narrowed the scope of the penalty by excluding the mentally ill and juveniles from its reach.

At least 126 men and women have been exonerated since the re-instatement of the death penalty in 1976. In about 15% of these cases, DNA evidence that was not available to defendants at the time of their trial later proved them innocent. Alabama is one of the few states that does not allow DNA testing for defendants after the initial trial stage.
Once you miss your opportunity at trial, it is gone forever—even if the science that could prove one innocent did not exist at the time. Such was the case in the execution this summer of Darrell Grayson. Potentially exculpatory evidence remained locked away and untested, and remains so to this day.

The most compelling part of the conference, though, was not the legal analysis and updates; it was the testimony of murder victims’ families and the families of inmates executed or on death row today. It would be easy for all of these people to be bitter—especially the murder victim families. I can’t judge family members who feel differently since I have not had anything like their experience. Still, the peace of mind and lack of bitterness of the family members I heard at the conference was remarkable. I can only aspire to that level of forgiveness and compassion.

Like all social issues, one’s position on the death penalty has no bearing on one’s membership in our Fellowship, and when I speak on this issue, I may only speak for myself. All who come to us in good faith seeking spiritual growth are welcome here For those who, like me, want to see an end to the death penalty, I hope you will join me as I seek opportunities in the future to engage in advocacy on this issue.

Rev. Paul Britner

Alabama News:
* The Reverend Paul Britner attended the annual NCADP conference in San Jose, CA

* Esther attended Sen. Sanders’ press conference announcing his reintroduction of death penalty related Bills.

* Alabama Arise’s Lobby Day is coming up soon.

* Esther and Virgil both participated in NCADP conference calls.

* Esther attended an Alabama New South Coalition dinner where Senator Vivian Figures announced that she will be running for Sen. Sessions’ seat in the U.S. Senate.

* Esther attended a CURE meeting where Charlie Sullivan, National CURE Director, was the honored guest speaker.

* In her capacity of chair of the Moratorium Department, Esther will be attending an NAACP training day.

* Esther and Virgil will be attending the ARISE lobby Day event.

A letter from Esther Brown:
Executive Director of Project Hope to Abolish the Death Penalty, introducing our new website January 20, 2008.

Today is a very important day for us of Project Hope to Abolish the Death Penalty. We thank a dear friend and welcome a new one. Dale Wisely has been our web master and friend for 7 years. During that time he brought our organization into the 21st century by establishing our web site and our email group. We owe him more than I will be able to do justice in this message. He shared his wisdom with us, he came to my rescue countless times when my limited computer skills left me floundering but most importantly he was there as a friend. His friendship led to the publication of Darrell’s chapbook, Against Time, by Mercy Seat Press of which Dale is co-owner. His encouragement of Darrell, the poet, as well as his friendship goes beyond what I want to write about in this message. I know you know Dale what was in his heart as well as in ours. But if you think this is a goodbye, absolutely not! Dale, we are pleased to welcome you to our advisory board and will continue to count on you and your strong voice for abolition in Alabama.

And now to our new friend and web master, Virgil O. Trucks III, welcome to our family! As you know, we are an all volunteer organization and so it is a major miracle when someone comes along and says: how can I help you? I am a computer specialist, a web designer with lots of experience and I believe that the death penalty is wrong. At first we thought surely this is too good to be true but please go to our new web site with the same old address, www.phadp.org and you will see why I call this a miracle. You will be seeing and hearing lots more about Virgil, who actually wants no thanks, but we do not have to listen to him on that one! Virgil is already actively involved in spreading the word about Sister Helen and we have plans! Thank you, Dale and Virgil for all you have done and will continue to do in our fight for justice!

Death Row Artwork:
For years now there has been a movement to stop the sale of artwork from death row. A movement that has found its way to the highest authorities in the land.

In the last Alabama legislative session, a Bill to prevent the sale of art, essays and memorabilia was introduced into the House of Representatives. This Bill passed unanimously in the House and was sent to the Senate with hopes of the same.

Were it not for the political maneuvering of state Sen. Phil Poole of Tuscaloosa, this Bill would have passed the Senate into law, with no opposition. For most following this Bill, such a passing would have been a wonderful thing. What would have been so wonderful, you ask?
For that you have to look to the reason behind the creation of the Bill. For the Bill’s creator, that reason is simple and tragically one sided. State Rep. Cam Ward of Alabaster created and introduced this Bill to stop the sale of inmate art that depicts victims and the crimes that were perpetrated against them.

Even as a death row inmate and artist, I see both the need and desire for such legislation. I have never felt the need to glorify my greatest regret. Nor have I ever condoned that behavior in others.
I do however, condone the sale of inmate artwork on the net, or otherwise. You see, I often use the net to sell my own artwork. I do not do so in order to strike at the families of the victim in my case, nor to promote such behavior. There are only 2 reasons I sell my art in any medium. The first is the most obvious. I do not believe my own friends and family should have to be burdened with my support. While the money I generate from the sale of my art doesn’t alleviate the financial burden placed upon them, it does ease it. And have no doubt, for those who love us, that burden is substantial.

The second is more personal, though equally important. I simply don’t want to be remembered solely for the actions of a single night. I want to be remembered for more than the person I was that night.Someone better. I am not that person, and will never be that person again. The artwork I sell reflects that fact. My legacy will never be great, but perhaps I can show the world that I am not the monster I was believed to be.

You may be asking why I would be concerned about this Bill if the artwork I sell is positive ? Why would this affect me or others of like mind? That’s simple as well. You see, this Bill will not only affect the one or two who abuse this right. As with all things that make the lives of death row inmates and their families harder, the D.O.C. will see this as an opportunity to punish us all. With the passing of this Bill, wardens across the state will stop the art from leaving death row. An action that would place a massive burden on some families.

I am not the only one here who uses his talent to assist in his care. There are men here whose only income is from their artwork. Not the sinister depictions the Bill targets, but beautifully positive art.
They do not rely on their crime to sell their work, nor do they attempt to cause harm to anyone with that work. They sell positive depictions for positive reasons. Depictions and reasons that are greatly threatened by the ambiguous nature of this Bill.

Please do not misunderstand my intent. I agree that there should be a filter to ensure that harmful, deplorable art does not leave the prisons. I only wish to point out the harm that would come from not protecting the rights of those who wish only to assist their loved ones and improve themselves through their art. To ask that you take care Rep. Ward, that you don’t cause more harm than good with your Bill.

Not everyone here is evil.


Winter spring summer fall
I live in hell and my room is small
Four steps forward and four steps back
Like a caged tiger I pace in my tracks.
Life on the row is nothing nice
Roaches invade my cell and so do mice
My body is locked behind bars of steel
Every day and every night
I go through sad times and hard times
But will not give up the fight.
I am now considered a threat to society
And my state want to kill me
But if killing is wrong why are they doing this
For our children to see.

-Robert Simon Jr.
MS death row

Dreams can be real
By: Tina Petrose

Wanna know a secret,
one you can feel?
If you allow them,
dreams can be real
Some stand alone,
hearts hard and cold.
Lost to the light
with no warmth to hold.
Look to my eyes,
I’ve nothing to hide.
I’m not like others,
Who cheated and lied.
Am I thy kindred,
You’ve waited to find?
Strong is my spirit,
Yet gentle and kind.
Let yourself go,
for a moment or two.
Come to my world,
I’ll share it with you.
Could you be ready,
to open the door?
Hold out your hand,
I won’t ask for more.
Let yourself go,
come on and feel.
If you surrender,
dreams can be real.

By: Darrell B. Grayson printed with permission

Trust me, Brutus, in agonizing thirst
In the night’s constriction,
Shining deep within
In seminal light,

From on high and downward
Spirals to cleave this madness,
This soulful regeneration,
IN Temple, Synagogue,
Fleeing Celestial plight.

I’m here, Shining One,
Come ply your divinity
On us shimmering beasts,
On old days and lights.

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