No-mess Hershey’s are what it’s about, no matter what else you hear.
Did you know American law gave you, once, freedom from unreasonable
Search and seizures, the Man had to get a warrant signed, based on probable cause,
Before looking at your dump of a house with a flashlight and a tone
That stands tippy toe above your ratty green rug, your peeling walls,
The class notes about polygons the kids dropped on the steps to upstairs
On their way to their tiny rooms.
Then if he wanted to talk to you, by the same 4th Amendment privilege,
He had to tell you, in so many words, p.s. don’t talk to me after all
If you know what’s good for you. The 4th has been like an icicle in a February thaw
In the sunshine of stupid questions. For example, “well, what does silence mean? Does sitting quietly
Count? Is that a non-verbal invocation of silence, or
Do you mean, Hang on, I’m thinking. (In other words, I’ll screw myself, and soon.
Let the innocents Follow in my unrighteous path, giving up their right, too,
To sit quietly and mean: No thank you, officer,
I prefer not to.”) Meanwhile, under the burning interrogation light the questions have become,
The 4th puddles at our feet. There are other stupid questions: are we talking custodial silence?
Pre-Custodial? Interrogation? Post-arrest?
Once I heard a judge allow a warrantless search…
They found a gun. Well, someone had a gun.
Several someones if you count the stack of cops who went inside. But anyway.
A warrantless search demands: exigent circumstances, consent, landlord authority
But only for common space areas. . . there are motor vehicle exceptions to the
Warrant requirement, border exceptions, open field exceptions, and abandoned property exceptions.
You can’t expect the garbage goes to the dump. This wasn’t much any of those.
But the search was valid anyway. The DA argued the cops thought the apartment was vacant
Because the garbage hadn’t been taken out
In two weeks. And no one had seen her. Thus, police acted in good faith, and got the landlord
To unlock the ‘vacant’ apartment and heigh-ho, everything goes, they got what they were after.
Only the Fourth Amendment, standing clenching her hands in the corner, basically your tired,
Hungry, poor Amendment. Which reminds me. My dear friend Lore is the most amazing poet I know.
She got a fellowship today—ok but why. Why did that remind me? Because of Liberty, yo.
Lore is Liberty, because she was toast, she was a mess, and proud, godless and smart which made it
Harder to get free. But she did get free, and now she has a fellowship, and a path to a professorship
Someday, and a way to pay the heat, while she writes so fearlessly and deft. She can’t know–I get
Caught up—does anyone else miss the warrant requirement? Has anyone else noticed the cops own the
Media machine, We all watch Law and Order, NCIS, The First 48, the Mentalist, on an endless feed,
Sprinkled with the 6 o’clock and the 12 o’clock news. All from the point of view of we-GOT-to-get the
Guy. Never from the lousy point of view of the defendant. And it is. From beginning to end, it is a tale
Told by a prisoner, full of fear and anger, signifying echos—I had to, he made me, he stung me, I stung
Back—of old plays. Lore’s victory today reminded me, some are not in that play of despicable moment,
Followed by terrible walk from that day on. Some are mastering the play
Of light between sentences, the play
Of dark images, frightening the reader with tender brutality,
Some are playing on swings at the end of the day, and their feet trail the bottom of the sky, their chins
Lift as their legs stretch out, and it is not as important to be bothered by anything of theory
By the time they head home.