ode to the guild

The following is a poem by one of the Homrich 9, client of NLG Michigan and Detroit Chapter. Read more about the case here.

By Jim Perkison, Homrich 9 defendant

now comes the legal crew in the city stew
of bending the strait to an imperial plot
shenanigans royal, emergencies gubernatorial
defecation mayoral, desiccation neo-liberal
and it all flows down mimicking the creature
going round even when enslaved in a sound-bite
policy, the nine waxing conspiratorial after the ten
had been inspirational, with the guild
breathing heavy in the hall on recess, cooking up
duress as defense against the offense of charges
for praying too loud, pouring water too proud
on the driveway, uncowed by the blue-suit crowd
or a high-heeled chief counseling bowing to fear
baxter leering from the police van rear, steering
bullies to a court they thought to avoid, the rest
of the bunch plastic-wrapped and humming
on the bench at the mound, and even that was found
in contempt, like a sound of jazz or a diss rap of old
from under the shroud of a body laid in a coffin
after crucifixion like a continuation of civil infraction
in the form of wanton insurrections of vibration
daring to contest the flatulent inebriation of power
under a badge
all of this falling in the lap of the guild of aiders and abettors
to assess, finesse, redress under the gaze of a whole congress
of district court gowns and frowns and smiles in the
contorted face of a city of attorneys seeking their pound of flesh
riding the circuit like preachers pretending to pronounce
lessons in the ears of don’t “hath-a-way” out magistrates
who retired in the mix and apparently went crazy, and
back again to the maze of district court conniptions and
corrections and data-delirious dungeons where the case
would still be laired if the lawyers hadn’t dared air a word
otherwise and we found a new round of solicitation for a
stiff-collared, better-be-saluting-and bowing presentation
of our best wardrobe confections and attention-standing
contrition before a judge demanding submission to
blackboard instructions and abstentions from surprise
or laughter and then once again the nights of banter and
planning, divining and opining and regaling and fine-
3-buck-chuck-wining and nacho-chip-dining, seeking to mine
our best decipherment of the signs of the times in the dock
before the bench, still loving monkey wrenches and hunches
of workable strategies in the labyrinth of law department
silliness clowned up as serious business in desecration
of the people’s real interest.
and now looking back on the whole uproar of contention
so much suspension of belief about jurisprudential function
in service of justice, the pace yet yielded moments of
lawyerly grace worthy of faith like an evangelical conviction!
now comes john royal, for instance, in pigeon-toed resistance
shoulder-hunched and bobbing against the air-punches of walker and
mullins, frontin’ hollowell, jones-day and duggan insistence,
john in retort tongues-speaking cases like a baptist on a mission
quoting the bible like a pentecostal under holy-ghost unction
(almost like a kellermann in clean-shaven disguise!)
as if the dock was a pulpit and the jury getting’ high on his reprise
and then we got little nick on the side, poppin’ and lockin’ with
research and replies, running circles around the district
wearing ties as thin as the charges themselves, allison weighing in
from murder trials and high-crime files, sobering the assessment
with wonderment that we’d so far escaped a felony bid,
and lee waxing ironic and razor, mcguire down the hall and lockhart
in the breech, shaun early on and sean at the end, ashley for a minute
and deb on call, chicago rick cutting it thick and keeping me
out of hoc when the judge went rabid on leaving the state, a passel
of beagles legalin’ it out in the office, goodman hovering and
then hurwitz angling in for the kill, an argument like a storm
in the gulf, raining down points like drops piling up like a flood even
a judge with a grudge couldn’t survive, and so here we are now,
ready to cut a rug, toss back a mug, let oranges be oranges and not
the color of the day, and even get to watch marian school bill
if the beat heats and mr. old knees and hearing aids
dares get out on the floor!
biding fair before miller and garrett, to get
grounds for duress spaded up and ferreted out in spite of
prosecutorial babble and thorns, then
what could be better than to end the trial in a pile of food and
a vial of vodka, guffawing at the spectacle
and riling up for the next battle?