Epistle to a Serial Murderer (1985)

What countries the occasion when
A thousand PhDs do nyet,
Do not assuage, do not avenge
The rage that bubbles in the brain.
Occurs then the parameters of a pen
A ragged life of more dead ends
Versus the efficient deed
Brandish pistols, thence unload
The fault founders—then—
Explodes!              But

Did teenaged Terri of Toledo
Whose decrepit car you cranked
Whose throat you slashed outright
Bash your soul
Or bait
The peccadilloes you protect?
Yes, I know you were the butt of the whole humor of a nation
Its grinning, gritting irrumations but
Did in timbered Utah little Timmy
Forsook with strangulation know
Why, he was a bigger butt than you—
All he loved was Lassie!

And now I’m making fun you feel
Five more you never knew will die
(On Madison Avenue I could lay five thousand!)
But wait!  We’re all symptomatic
A nation’s conscience is exhausted
For your wretched cross as much as for mine
Guilt?  All that’s left is fun!  You preach:
Cut out that laugh and watch them bleed. 

Yet I’m saying out of the basalt of your rage
The bodies it encrusts
Shall as the stubbornest shoots of green
Spring though the black with love
Tender is the truth, not the choice
Between murder and a morals charge
Nor declaration of war.
No one to hate. 

Fast and feel fully, freely
That globe in your belly
The kick of Ethiopia in your throat
Pride in your pregnancy of kith and kin
Crank her car and smile!  Make your
Blemish presage your goodness
And whatever your load let the
Child, comedian, media mogul
Cruel as he wishes
Learn your patience.
No one to hate.

Yet still if you must kill
Remember your kind
And that everything provokes
The kindest person on earth. 

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