D.E.S. (Nathan Li) and My Criminal Record (Barry Collier)
(desert’s eternal storm:
a lamentation in isolation)
Breathe deep, sweet –
gasoline fumes a lingering taste
on your tongue
taunting the desuetude senses
overborne by the empty vastness
of rusted desert enveloping
the black tar
once worshipped as the
artery of civilisation
now an idol promise of escape
save but one dream
in this nightmare is a road
Till no end, with him
Yes, you’re right! I am just a thief-
I’ve pleaded guilty to every crime-
Now you’ll look at me in disbelief:
But I didn’t do it; no, not this time!
I was standing and holding my basket
there in line at my convenience shop,
when a kid ran out with an ice cream-
despite his mum yelling at him to stop!
Worried, I ran from the shop after him-
there’s such heavy traffic in that street-
the kid had disappeared into the crowd,
but now, who did I just happen to meet?
Yep! A cop! Our local Sergeant of Police
(with whom I’m so very well acquainted);
he looked in my basket and said to me:
“knowing you, those goods are tainted!”
When I told the cop what happened,
he just gave me that suspicious look;
the shopkeeper told a different story,
and the Sergeant wrote it in his book.
Who are your witnesses? the cop asked;
I looked around, but now as I had feared,
the customers had all long left the shop:
the kid’s worried mum had disappeared!
I was cuffed, then taken to the station,
put in a cell with a big slam of the door,
charged with theft, then fingerprinted-
like I’ d been just so many times before!
The lawyer said “your case is hopeless:
“you must have the witness’s support;
“but because you didn’t intend to steal
“plead not guilty when we go to Court!”
And so, I told the Court I wasn’t guilty
and was given bail, I’m pleased to say:
with my record, that was on condition
I reported to the cop shop twice a day!
And on the day before the hearing,
on my way to see my friendly cops,
I saw that kid with his mum again,
as I was walking through the shops.
She was surprised I’d been arrested
for running outside to catch her kid;
said I shouldn’t have to go to Court:
“it’s wrong; for doing what you did!”
She said she’d come to Court for me,
and be a witness for me in my case;
and when she turned up on the day,
you should’ve seen the Sergeant’s face!
Mum told the Beak what happened:
“my kid runs off at the drop of a hat;”
she said “I’m ever running after him
“I’m so sorry: he’s such a little brat!”
The Magistrate heard the charge,
but contrary to what I’d thought-
he didn’t see my criminal record,
and threw the case out of Court.
So this is how the system works?
And the lesson I’ve been taught?
I’ll plead not guilty from now on:
each and every time I get caught!
© Barry Collier, 2018