I’ve seen them smile at me with their vibrant eyes
and their multicolored wiles,
these Manson brides,
I’ve seen their hazel hues change tint with gravity,
seen their latticed warmth and morbid geniality.
Susan with her matronly vivaciousness,
she’s a singer, we’re told, married her lawyer,
she is all hearty laughs and suffused powders,
quick dash of her lipstick, brief makeup encounters.
Patricia, the scholar, a model prisoner, athletic,
she trains dogs for the handicapped, a trainer,
she is standoffish, sincere, gracious, ascetic.
Gray haired now dignified, the former beauty queen Leslie
conducts herself with the decorum of the nouveau riche,
she waits like a fallen parvenu, prim, quiet and stately,
waits with the mollified gestures of a disgraced arriviste.
But I remember them holding hands sauntering down the halls of justice,
chanting distorted children’s rhymes accompanied by their sardonic wiggle
designed to puncture fear into the heart of a bogus protected American auspice
and sow discord with their stubbly scalps, hexed foreheads, mocking giggle.
Taught and tauten,
where is your cruelty now?
drowned beneath the mandatory reflection of incarcerated years?
routed and rotten,
where is your cruelty now?
hidden within the manifested scaffold of a suggestive cough, scoff, or a sneer?
Susan meet Sharon,
more than eight months pregnant, two weeks away from full term,
a beautiful movie star, she now pleads for her life and that of her unborn baby.
What did you say to her before you hung her and stabbed her sixteen times?
"Look woman, you’re going to die, I have no mercy"
Katie meet Abby,
coffee heiress, millionairess,
a volunteer social worker trying to help junkies just like you,
she made a run for her life and you chased her down on the front lawn,
wrestled her down to the ground, 21 slashes to her abdomen and crown.
Lets read Coroner Naguchi’s autopsy report, stab wound #8:
"This is the fatal stab wound. It is in the midline of the
anterior chest directly somewhat obliquely upward and laterally.
It is 1 ½ inches long and penetrated deep in the thoracic
cavity. It lies about 12 inches below the top of the head."
Van Houten meet La Bianca,
proletariat mother, standard bearer of the middle class,
she could have borne and raised me or you for that matter,
her death was less dynamic than those rich or those famous,
more ignoble in the shadows of the notorious afterthought,
she died wearing her peignoir, crawled approximately two feet
until the electrical cords tied around her neck caused the
connecting lamps to fall. No blood splatter around her,
only the profuse pool of blood underneath, indicating you
straddled her back as you knifed and gouged her repeatedly.
At what did you do then, oh silent one, oh shrouded one?
You dipped a pillowcase in her coagulating purple ink,
set about to transcribe master Charlie’s papal bull,
"Death to Pigs," "War," "Rise," "Healter Skelter,"
hellion, did you know you need a spell checker?
I’ve seen these vicious monsters smile and flutter long eyelashes,
I’ve seen them enter parole hearings, smooth their wet hair,
fold their umbrellas, shake their galoshes.
They practice their imposed patience against America’s guilty memories,
await the death of disaffected family, of judges, prosecuting attorneys.
I’ve seen them sit placid, calmly drink water, seemingly humbled, chagrined.
They remind me of that shit stain in my toilet in the shape of Hitler’s Berlin.