Thursday, January 7, 2010


Gerald Bordelon is schedule to be executed today and will be the first man executed in Louisiana since Leslie Martin was executed in May of 2002. Bordelon waived his appeals, making him a "volunteer" in the ghoulish parlance of the American death penalty.

In anticipatory memorial, I am posting two poems from Jill McDonough's Habeas Corpus on the lives and executions of two other volunteers.

January 17, 1977: Gary Graham
Point of the Mountain, Utah

A life of crime, of theft and drugs and jail
in Oregon and Illinois, but when
he robbed a Provo gas station, motel,
he shot and killed two clerks, both Mormon men -
Max Jensen and Ben Bushnell - with wives and sons.
There are sins that the blood of a calf, of a lamb
or doves cannot remit. They must be atoned
by the blood of man.

       He asked to die like a man,
and did, chained to a regular green chair.
When asked for his last words, he said Let's do it.
Black T-shirt, white pants. They added a hood, their
target, then bang, bang, bang, three noises, quick.

A line from Gilmore's mother that I found:
They shot your brother's heart out, on the ground.

May 13, 2005: Michael Ross
Somers, Connecticut

I am one of the greatest of sinners. I have murdered
eight women in a horrible way. The papers
lined up eight photos, smiling girls with feathered
hair posing at school or parties. Wendy, April,
Dzung, Paula, Debra, Robin, Leslie, and Tammy
were dead as soon as I saw them, he confessed.

A volunteer, he wanted to spare the families.
Or die, or get attention. Or he had Death
Row Syndrome, was a malignant narcissist.
Outside the prison, supporters told reporters
What do we do with trash? We bury it.
Inside, strapped to a table, Ross gasped and shuddered
while Robin's sister watched. She said It was too
peaceful. But I'm sure I will feel some closure soon.

1 comment:

  1. Billy, I am so mad and sad. I lived in New Orleans from 2001 until 2009. It was very comforting to me when I'd think how no one had been executed in La. since 2002. Keep doing the good work you're doing.