Damien Echols

Ben Myers

Deep down on death row
Damien Echols listens to the same nocturnal whispers,
cold echoes on colder steel
"you sure got a pretty mouth, boy..."
Guilty of being un-Godly
in a God-less world
(try explaining that to a toothless zealot...)
deemed to be at one with the devil
condemned by myths and white history
condemned by bigotry and a mob-rule community
Three poor young boys were found hog-tied
and mutilated in the mosquito-filled woods
gotta find someone, anyone 
"someoneís gotta pay"
"jobs are on the line"
"what kinda animal...?"
the witch hunt was on
when someoneís sisterís brotherís cousin
says that thereís the work of Satan
("may God have mercy," says a passing fisherman,
"I done robbed some banks and shot some people up
and some such crazy shit, but I ainít malicious 
and I says my prayers and believe in the Lord almighty 
saviour of all and I ainít no goddamn - Ďscuse me - devil worshipper")
Ďcos it sure ainít the work of no Chris-tee-un folk.
"Iíd wager itís that there Damien Echols
that fucken freak that refused the pastorís bible,"
says the district parole office, genuflecting dramatically
"the boy done wearing black all the time
and listening to that there heavy metal music
now tell me Bill what kinda normal..."
"Ainít no normal man done this, Dick," spits the sergeant curtly,
three decades on the force, 
pale doughnut skin sweating in the West Memphis sun,
"nor man nor beast nor nuthiní but the devil hisself.
Now what say we pay this evil fuck a little visit..."
Like Salem re-visited they dragged the boy from his books
and threw him to the wasp-ish pack
a dozen in all, there was Teddy and Harry and Rick Rickett,
Arlene, Bobby-Joe and Jim Swindler
there was Eddie and Jessie and Ray
and Buffy and Tracy and Peggy-Sue too,
ainít never done nuthin wrong Ďcept a bit of cussin and drinkin and philandering and killiní critters an maybe a bit of fighting and thieving and sister fucken when times were hard, but none of them, however desperate, done gone and dyed their hair and banished God from their lives and killed them poor young defenceless boys
no Sir-ee
and amen to that
but neither did Damien Echolls
screaming inside as the judge quashed his world
to an eight by three room
and a nocturnal visit from a shank-toting trustee by the name of Bubba
Damien Echolls
guilty of being slightly intelligent
guilty of being vaguely different
twelve faces said so
beyond a shadow 
of a doubt
beyond the shadow 
of the valley of death
that awaits him
and there he sits today
waiting for God to die
so that he too can be free
just like the real 
brimstone-spitting enemy.
Damien Echols.

E-mail Ben

Panic! Poets

Panic! Art Gallery