The state of the States

How can it be that on a day like today,
the State of Ohio can take your life away?
How could twelve people – considering themselves right –
take a stranger’s life and turn out the light?
I don’t understand it, it is nonsense to say
that any crime constitutes worse than a life locked away.

Consider me this, it’s a dark dreary night,
we enter an argument that turns to a fight,
when it comes to an end I’ve beaten you black
so along come the police, shackle my hands behind my back.
When it comes to court, the verdict is read:
the State of Ohio will punch me in the head.

Or what if you were to enter my house,
pick a lock and creep like a mouse
around my property picking up my treasures,
cleverly avoiding all security measures.
What you didn’t see was my surveillance camera
so now you sit at the mercy of the judge’s hammer;
For taking from me – which you should not do –
the State of Ohio will now take back from you.

I suppose the most barbaric you may think
would be if a man spotted a woman who’d had too much to drink;
He takes a chance and slams her to the ground,
rips off her clothes and begins to pound.
Now if he were found guilty even ten times over –
as punishment would we take him out back and bend him over?

If you think that my examples are strange,
then imagine I just shot you at point blank range;
what now would you cry for my punishment to be?
A wet sponge on my head and I’ll meet old sparky?
Or how about you lay me out and tie me down,
pump poison in my arm and watch me drown
as I can no longer see, I can’t even breathe –
the State of Ohio has killed me.

This is the law – an eye for an eye;
The State of Ohio putting its people to die.
We shouldn’t have the power to say
when people see their very last day.
Those in favour of the penalty will shout
“we only kill those who killed beyond reasonable doubt”
and I return straight back to an eye for an eye
and the fact that twelve strangers deciding someone dies
is downright barbaric, it’s practically medieval –
why don’t we get some women and douse them in diesel
burning them for witchcraft just in case;
if you’re tried for treason we could twist thumbscrews in your face?

I think you’ll agree, that it just isn’t right
yet it’s fine to pull a belt around me really tight
and get my veins showing really well
inject me with poison and put me through hell.
You might be one who argues that this is humane,
well I’d like to argue for tests to your brain
to check that everything is working as it should,
because you’ve lost your compassion – you’re not good.

How can it be that on a day like today, that I still cry
because countries the world over put their own people to die.

(February 2016)


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