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Cross QC: Three Villanelles
for Michael Prideaux

Extract from The Lovemakers

Reading of Cross QC by Alan Wearne [3.3mb]
mp3 players/info (MPEG Audio file) can be found mpeg.org

(i) R v Kent: The cross-examination

    ...after what's been said and what's been done
it distresses, I understand, this evidence.
Let's get it right though: then he dropped the gun?

    A criminal shot, a colleague dead, just one-on-one:
life's never been like this before, it's far, far tense
than any courtroom, right? Yet, after what's been done,

after you've heard I'm gonna get you, son...
please constable, take no offence but get it right, he dropped the gun
and then he aimed it? Where'd you read that? The Sun?
    (Your Honour I withdraw)
                                           But what amount of sense
does this make: after all's been said and done,

with a partner dying wouldn't you make a run
(the only thing left to prove your innocence
is time)?

      And yet Kent doesn't. My client drops the gun.
    What guilty men act this way: lots, a few, none?
    (When a life's at risk all words swell immense,
soon as they're said)
                              As for what was done
we have it right? Then he dropped the gun?

(ii) R v Kent: The summing up

    The case you've heard, with due respects, is bent.
    We may not like him, think he's highly flawed,
yet he's stayed calm my client, Mr Kent,

and that's but a start to show he's innocent.
    Up rose his hands as he howled Oh Gawd!
(the case you've heard unravels, it is bent)

having a good idea what Drop it! meant
but, for that second, froze: his being gnawed
with staying calm.
                          My client Mr Kent's

no saint (what chassis never had a dent?).
It's hardly the point he gambled and he whored
with due respects.
                          The case you've heard is bent:

relive this evidence again: the scent
of anger's out, the ground is being pawed...
still he stays calm my client Mr Kent.

Four! Five! Six! That gun was a long time spent.
Throw it down! somebody implored.
And didn't he?
                     The case you've heard is bent:
for he stayed calm my client Mr Kent.

(iii) Some hours after the execution

    I wish I'd had his strength.
                                         Now, calm as he was
they've a stronger, calmer Kent to bury
(perhaps and maybe shall give way to because).

    My job requires plain speech, if no applause,
but how could you notify a jury
I crave the strength and calm I thought was

his; how, most nights, dreaming of rowing I haul through mud
    the oars
of a middle-aged barrister in a hurry?
    Our perhaps our maybe turned because

shaking hands a week ago: 'Thanks Mr Cross.
Had I the know-how I'd syphon off a brewery
and pay you in grog for life!'
                                        Calm as Kent was

he knew doubt as our one escape (all other doors
were boarded up); knew it had been a puree
of perhaps and maybe, to taste but once, because

if we have the crimes we have the laws
and have, now, the premeditated fury
of revenge.
             Today, stronger, calmer than even Kent was
(perhaps dying, and maybe) the state has demanded because.

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