Monday, December 22, 2014

Roger Netzer


To meet its burden the state must prove
mens rea (culpable mind). It matters
what's in -- and not in -- the killer’s head.

Take negligent homicide.
Stu ought not have been texting
that time his rider mower trespassed
into the kids' birthday party next door,
but no one was more shocked
at what happened than Stu.

Reckless indifference to human life
(manslaughter) is more blameworthy still.
After robbing the convenience store,
Hugh meant no harm driving full-speed
at those pedestrians in the crosswalk
blocking his getaway. Most of them
made it to safety.

Then there is intent to kill, the worst,
when you think about the death
of your victim and plan it.
Like that time long ago when you thought
about hoisting your ex-girlfriend in your arms
and racing head-first towards the wall?

That was no plan, you insist,
just a shameful fantasy in the depths
of humiliation and jealousy
and loneliness and despair.
Hell, you couldn't even lift her.
And besides, if no bad act is committed
then it's no harm no foul no crime.
That dear impossible woman still lives,
I am -- I mean, you are -- able to say.

Roger reads "You Didn't Mean to Kill Anyone":

Roger confesses: "I have not committed a violent felony since I was a boy. 'You Didn't Mean to Kill Anyone' takes its tone from Alfred Hitchcock’s weekly introductions to his old TV series, which long ago found a home in my guilty poet's mind."

ROGER NETZER has practiced law for more than thirty years. His poems have appeared in The Potomac, Chiron, and Green Hills Literary Lantern.

Thursday, December 18, 2014

A-Z Challenge: P

To maintain the flow of submissions year-round, each week I'll challenge you to write about crimes beginning with a particular letter of the alphabet. We'll cycle through the alphabet twice a year. Notice we will come back to A in the second week of September, The Five-Two's anniversary.

This week's letter is P. That can refer to plea, poison, police, etc. The challenge is, of course, optional. The Five-Two is open to any interpretation of crime, poems about being wronged, anything that strikes you as "criminal".

Monday, December 15, 2014

Bill Baber


Shots fill the night like blooms of fireworks on the Fourth
a still body leaks life onto a dirty street
while hurried footsteps echo down the block
before a reluctant siren
begins to wail in the distance
there is never quiet here
and there is no forgiveness in this part of town
where street names are forgotten
and where raindrops fall like blame
peering out a window
little Johnny watches
thinking about horses
and green places he saw in a dream.

Bill reads "The Late Show":

Bill confesses: "A combination of an images brought this poem to life.The first was of a young boy watching Tucson police arrest a man they were forced to subdue, and the second was the way a murder was committed in a casual, offhand way in an old black-and-white gangster movie."

BILL BABER has published over two dozen crime stories. A book of his poetry, Where the Wind Comes to Play was published by Berberis Press in 2011. He lives in Tucson and sometimes crosses the border for a cold beer.