Two Poems by Louis P. Nappen

Social Justice Advocate Jana Kings

suffers from migraines,
but the court does not care
and the brief is still due.

Thomas Jefferson suffered, too.
But another’s suffering
does not help you.
She thinks,

An hour in the dark,
flat on the carpet with a wet
towel on my brow

should do the trick, then back
to the computer glare.
Seasonal or stress-related?

Seasonally-stress-related?
Whatever,
when the sinus hate arrives

it deprives her of her life,
her liberty, and
even the most trivial pursuits of happiness.

When the filing was due for Mr. J.,
he had a Committee of Five,
but Franklin and Adams

merely supplied minor tweaks.
She types a canon of law:
“Equity abhors a forfeiture.”

But she is arguing the exception
not the rule.
Her client’s narrative is not a perfect fit.

No lawyer should be a perfectionist.
The bracelet on her wrist
does not mean

to her
what you think it means.
What Would Jefferson Do?

 

Speech Writer Cyrana Chatters

You know that
famous speech
about “the glass
wall protecting
the empty garden
of peace”?

That was her.
And that line
comparing Germany
to Gatsby?
Her as well.

Over time, her voice
became The Speaker’s,
and The Speaker
became her husband.

For twenty years
the two conversed
as one.
Until her husband
died in a crash.

She tried penning words
for other mouths,
but no pairing
of ventriloquist
and vent
jelled so firmly.

(Imagine players
in your favorite show
staying in character
but swapping lines.)

In the end, she turned
her talent to memoir,
titling her autobiography
Res Ipsa Loquitur,
the thing speaks for itself.

 

 

 

Louis P. Nappen received his BA and MAT degrees from Monmouth University, where he served as editor-in-chief of both the college newspaper and literary magazine and was honored with the English Department’s Creative Writing Prize, the Communications Department’s Journalism Award, and the University’s Outstanding Student Award. For several years, Nappen taught high school English and journalism, then attended Seton Hall University Law School. He presently works as an attorney in a small firm that focuses on constitutional and civil rights. These poems are part of a larger collection Nappen is working on, tentatively titled “Fifty Lawyers.”