Kuwasi Balagoon: Your Honor

your honor
since i’ve been convicted of murder
and have taken time to digest
just what that means
after noting what it means to my family
and how it affects people who read the newspapers
and all
i see now that i’ve made a terrible mistake!
and didn’t approach this trial
in a respectful, deliberate or thoughtful manner
didn’t take advantage of the best legal advice
and based my actions on irrelevant matters
which i can see now in a much more sober mind
had nothing to do with this case
i must have been legally insane thinking about:
the twenty five murders of children in atlanta since
Wayne Williams’ capture
the recent murder of a man in boston by the police
the recent murders of two in chicago by police
the shooting of a five-year-old little boy in suburban calif
the lynchings in alabama
the mob murder of a transit worker in brooklyn
the murders of fourteen women in boston
feeling that this is evidence of something
and that there must
be a lesson in all this – i thought
murder was legal

 


Kuwasi Balagoon

Kuwasi Balagoon was a defendant in the Panther 21 case in the late sixties, and a member of the Black Liberation Army. Captured and convicted of various crimes against the State, he spent much of the 1970s in prison, escaping twice. After each escape, he went underground and resumed BLA activity. He was captured in December 1981, charged with participating in an armoured truck expropriation in West Nyack, New York, on October 21 of that year, an action in which two police officers and a money courier were killed. Convicted and sentenced to life imprisonment, he died of pneumocystis carninii pneumonia, an AIDS-related illness, on December 13, 1986.

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