Sunday, April 10, 2016

Arlene Corwin writes

The Man Who Killed My Brother #1

Wanna hear a story, all? 
The man who killed my brother 
Went scot-free. Not exactly. He 
Got three years in the cooler, for 
Such is the law.  
They found my brother’s blood 
On wall and floor. 
God knows what more 
There was than wall and floor!

The prosecutor told me 
That the judge was sympathetic. 
Family wrote supporting letters, 
Loving letters, caring letters, for 
My brother was no orphan.

He was gay. 
The family had to pay 
A mammoth sum 
To have his body come 
Back to New York. 
They didn’t trust his aids-free health.  
My brother was fit as a fiddle.

After years they found his killer. 
All the proof was there, and still, 
The trial went in killer’s favor. 
He was free in three.  
Detectives, in their stab at comforting 
Said, “He’s a bad egg.  He’ll be back. 
Inevitably, his kind are…” 
So I was left to trust. 
One day the killer will be back behind those bars, 
His freedom left to rust.

You have to trust in justice.


The Man Who Killed My Brother #2 

Got off with slaughter – slaughtering: 
Manslaughter.  One can only 
Laugh in irony. 
Slaughtering is butchering. 
Decimating, wiping out, 
Murdering and killing off, 
Putting man or Man to death.

Nowhere in the dictionary 
Does it warrant or suggest 
A measly three year sentence. 

The man who killed my brother 
(blood on walls and floor…all over…) 
One could call that massacre. 
I would call that massacre. 
And all he got was three small years.

I thought about it just today 
And thought I’d say it. 


  1. I'm sorry those words had to be said. But it was important to say them. Powerful. It is unfortunate people have no empathy until someone they love bears those differences. It is unfortunate some people have little respect for the lives of others. It is unfortunate folks can manipulate, tamper with and work our justice system to the point where justice becomes a crapshoot. Your brother is not just a statistic, a case or an unfortunate event. Your words ensure that he, despite what happened to him, is the story. Thank you for sharing.

    1. You, dear 'kevinpat' whoever and wherever you are, that was an exquisite, well formulated, moving comment, and I thank you so much. As an extension of my comment below, you've just become an instrument yourself for the abstraction we call justice. So I thank you again.

  2. In 1987 Arlene's brother, Charles Nover, a local bartender, was discovered, strangled and nude, in the bathroom of his apartment in North Hollywood, California. The chief suspect in the murder was David A. Phillips, a drifter who had met Nover in a gay bar and moved in with him, but he disappeared and the case went cold for almost 20 years despite a $500 reward. However, a routine due-diligence check on the warrant in 2004 uncovered that a David Phillips had been treated at County USC Medical Center at around the time of the murder, but his Social Security number belonged to a David Wayne Gormley, who had been working as bartender in New Orleans for five years. Witnesses picked Gromley out of a photo line up. Further investigation revealed that he had been convicted of armed robbery and had an extensive criminal record across the country. (In 1983 he had been arrested for armed robbery and attempted murder in Florida, after he had stabbed a man and stole his credit cards and $50.) This new information led to his arrest near the French Quarter in New Orleans, Louisiana, a year later. But, as Arlene writes, he was only convicted of manslaughter, not murder.

  3. Thank you both for your comments. Inadvertently, you've carried the case further. Out into the world and public eye. Maybe the long arm of justice, although invisible, never stops its journey. And to carry through the idiom, maybe justice will be served - is being served as we speak.
    Arlene Corwin


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