Trial of the Century

Just as you think that nothing’s sacred today
and if almost anybody can always get away
with just about anything there under the sun
it’s fun to flash back on old bones of contention
when the people of the public got pissed at all their peers
for hassling the issues of the day in active spheres
of influence – and arguments could everywhere be heard
about innocence and guilt and the punishments incurred.

What with Sacco and Vanzetti and Leopold and Loeb
and those Rosenberg spies with what they sent across the globe?
That other Adolf had his day decided in Israel.
The desk murderer was hang-ed with no chance of an appeal.
Let’s talk about justice. Let us think about crimes,
pondering on all the victims cut down in their primes.
Let’s consider injustice, however cruel and elementary
as it’s been judged and adjourned in the trials of the century.

Both man and a monkey got some press in twenty five,
debating which one might be the best source of how we thrive.
A Lindbergh baby loss held our attention for a while
until a German patsy took the fall and lost the trial.
Each of these adventures were the story of the year
until the next one came along, simply leaving us all queer
and excited – just to sing about the latest greatest thing
trilling on, thrilling to what the new big case could bring.

Jeez! With Patty Hearst and Claus von Bülow, plus that Alger Hiss
it’s like there’s not a Century-Trial that a year did miss.
What Helter Skelter’s family did to Sharon Tate
was horribly banal, and hardly tempting fate.
Each of these rough stories, though they held our interest fast
were clearly not enough to make our attention last.
For as soon as the juries sent perps off to penitentiary
we’d move on the next week to the subsequent trial of the century.

But now we live a life
where whatever sort of strife
people might get up to
will not be enough to
get in the people’s brains
`so that they will sustain
the energy to maintain
the interest to contain
a trail of a new century…

We have a country that has judged all others for a century
and looked upon the planet as plenipotentiary,
which suddenly must ask,"What has happened to me?
Have I been played the way I’ve treated them: unconscionably?
Is this the world I’ve made: no democracy,
which, after so much done to others – ironically –
seems somehow, appropriate, at least, symbolically."
And asking this, must realize, ashamedly

that blaming other nations for their influencing polls
while we have done it often in much reverse-ed roles
is somehow some relation to a kettle smoking pot,
or asking to judge others while ignoring your own rot.
In any case, in this new age, with these new eyes, we see
a brand new hundred years and new crimes to prophecy
and though this nation has just seen some righteous heresy
it’s possible we’ve yet to know our latest, greatest, without debatest
most heinous trial of the century.

About Jonathan Berger

I used to write quite a bit more.
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