You Know You Gonna’ See My Face

“164th District — Judge Jamison” by vaXzine is licensed under CC BY-NC-ND 2.0.


Jury Duty Reflection #2

“You Know You Gonna’ See My Face”

By Jane Tawel

May 19, 2022


You know, Juror Lady?

When I first saw you in the seat,

and you let your eyes meet mine,

just that one brief time, and I said, in my head,

“Praise the Lord!” she is lookin’ right at my face,

and no one else in that place did that, you know?

Avoidance of the eyes is the order of the day.

Cuz’ just seein’ me there, everybody is aware,

I must be guilty, right? their consciences don’t put up any fight.

But I could tell yours did. I could tell you knew sin.

And though you knew it was your civic duty,

you felt it like a weight, so heavy duty,

to be sittin’ there tryin’ for size your discrimination,

in honor of your nation, but that’s the same nation,

that’s always kept folks like me in our station, yeah?

So how can you judge me, you had to ask,

I could tell you thought it was a heavy, heavy task.

And when all the others thought I bowed my head in shame,

as the judge read out my name,

I could tell you thought, “well maybe he is offering a prayer.”

And I could tell you cared just by the way you also bowed your head.

It was a mighty dread, wasn’t it? — that feeling you and me had?

But don’t you leave here today after the clerk had her say,

and after all these weeks, you are lookin’ pretty meek

and those tears in your eyes, well in the end you had to surmise, right?

And though you put up a fight, hey, now you getta’ finally leave this place,

and you think you won’t ever have to see my face, no more, once you walk out that door.

Well surprise! Tonight, when you try to sleep, and tomorrow before sunrise,

even before you open your eyes, you’ll remember our shared glance,

and in your mind, you’ll see my countenance.

And I will sear it, you will always be near it.

And though you try to erase,

You won’t ever forget, this face, Juror Lady.

You won’t ever forget me.


You know every night when you go to bed,

the last thing you see is gonna’ be my face.

And when you finally wake up,

to your coffee pot, and your shop, shop, shop,

and all your this and that and your smallish what-not –

you know when you aren’t lookin’ in the right place –

well you know outta’ no where — 

you gonna’ see my face.


You’ll be asking yourself, “Why didn’t he say a word?”

You went ahead though, and clipped my wings,

And now I’m nothin’ but a jailbird, another one of 2 million

that are locked up, outta sight, outta mind, mosta them of my kind, ya’ know?

Oh, yeah, allota us pulled the crime, so you did what you hadda do,

But didn’t you ever think — well maybe so did we?

And now I see you in my dreams thinkin’

“Hey, I did my best”.

Now you just gonna try to let the case rest,

but you still askin’ yourself, “Did I do enough?”

Now you keep on harpin’ on the clues, like you some kinda Blues Clues, ya know?

Did you really have the proof or

will you lie awake wondering if you goofed?


You know everybody else on that jury, well, they claimed

they got the stuff — 

but your heart — it wasn’t tough enough.

You know you will be bleeding,

asking yourself if there was any cheating

on the things the police said, oh, yeah,

I gonna be stuck in your head.


Don’t you wonder where my mama is?

Or who’s gonna take care of my kids?

And the defense didn’t have his biz-ness

together, man, he had no plan

to try to save me from the man, right?

And what about the circumstances you never heard?

Don’t you find it a little absurd

That all you gotta say, is “I think so”

and bam, wham, thank you ma’am, in the drink I go?


You think ya’all so smart,

so intelligent with your high school and college degrees.

Sleeping like babes at night,

 — nighty night, you lay yourself down with ease.

The only thing I ever laid down is the gauntlet for my boys.

And I learned the lessons of the hood

when I still shoulda’ been playin’ with ma’ toys.

I went to school on the G.I. Bill — “Gangster Institute”, man!

Yeah. You know I didn’t have no plan!

My life was a carousel of ups and downs.

I got nothin’ from you clowns, and

by fortune I was bought, by the ‘hood I was taught.

And now I face a hell –

Only cuz I was caught.

Man…. You think?


Cuz what is so damn wrong in all of this,

is that til now what I did with my life, no one cared.

You know, no one gave a shit about whether I was worth repair?

Now they just gonna’ throw me into there and throw away the key.

And you know? When you wake and try to get rid of the image of me — 

You think then, you gonna feel free?

And forget all about me? — won’t rehabilitate — 

I’m telling you straight.

No matter how long I’m in attendance,

what you gave me is a life sentence.

Even if I get out, I’m down the spout.

But although even my kids and mama and the friends who took me there,

won’t care, I’ll lay my bet,

Juror Lady, you won’t forget.

You won’t ever forget me.

You know, you gonna see my face.


You sat with those eleven folks,

and they had the nerve to be eating cookies, telling jokes.

And some of them had took one look at my race,

and couldn’t wait to set the pace,

of your deliberations, hating on their race relations,

and sitting, mighty in numbers in the back room,

Did you know — man, that was what my gang did for me?

A gang of twelve is a mighty thing.

There’s a power in a gang,

Yeah, now you know, what it is to hang,

and you feel release when you “bang, bang”,

like you felt when the judge bang banged her gavel, metaphorically,

bang banging me.

You can’t wait to be released.

And though our weapons of choice were different,

Just like me, you got swept in the current.

And alla them others of the gang of twelve felt so easy,

“He is nothing like me, I vote, Guilty!”


I wouldn’t even mind their hating me

if the world would just rehabilitate me.

And Lady Juror, you ain’t purer than the others,

But I could see you earlier in the row,

thinking with your heart, thinking, “I don’t know.

Is it fair to judge another, in this day and age?

And to lock him up forever in a cage, with no hope of getting’ better?

Is that the law or is that the letter?”

And I could tell, you feel me?

You had for the defendant, anxiety,

Cuz what is wrong is our whole society. You know I’m true.

But I can’t let you or your tears move me, little missus,

Cuz this is the witness,

I did what I did to survive,

just to stay alive in that place.

So now, if you put me down, send me to the hard cot,

where I will fester more and finally rot,

and for most that is the end of dealin’ with me,

but you know, Juror Lady,

you get to keep one special memory — 

It’s gonna be a long time, you and me.

Oh, you all reading this, you think I’m taking up too much space?

What’s different, then? Nothin’.

You all always have thought “my kind” take up too much breathin’ space, don’t you?

Well, get back in your SUV, and walk careful with your mace,

And don’t think about me, cuz you didn’t see it, you don’t see shit,

(Oh, does my phrasing make you uneasy? You getting’ a little queasy?

Well you keep your piety and your easy society.

But in the cell there ain’t a better word than “shit” to describe this hell.)

But Juror Lady came and saw me. I know at least, she saw me.

And even if I gotta pay, and yeah, someday, yeah, we all gotta pay.

And man, I won’t see another free day, for a long while,

I won’t see my baby’s first smile, but, Lady Juror,

You might forget the details of my case, but

Don’t you think I won’t leave a trace,

Cuz’ you’ll forever see my face.

My face.


And night after night, Juror Lady #9,

after on tofu and organic greens you have dined,

you will now you lay you down to sleep and pray the Lord our souls to keep,

and you will lie awake, your prayers dry, and wonder,

“Did I get it right?” Did I?”

Did you take all the pieces of me, and put the pieces of the puzzle,

together right? Cuz you just might

of got it wrong.

Cuz you will ask yourself again and again,

for a kid without no kin, but the gang,

Well, how do you expect to feel my pain?

Yeah, when I was arraigned,

did anybody bother to obtain,

the whys and wherefores of all that was profane,

in my world? Isn’t my world, too, meant to be holy and sublime?

I mean, come-on?

Can you prove I did the crime?

Prove without doubt?

Or did you just get burnt out from having to stand out,

while eleven swore to heaven, they were sure?

Hey, I ain’t pure, but please…

Did I even have a prayer in life?

It isn’t burden of proof you should have entertained,

but ‘member how you felt inside yourself again and again — 

that you could feel my pain? Oh, you became my pain. Oh, you and I gonna spend a lifetime,

feelin’ now my own pain.

But you sealed my fate,

and you will find in time,

and in the unguarded, no parole spaces

in your mind — 

You’ll be seein’ my face.

Look hard, look long, take a good long last look — 

Do you see me?

Really see me?

Cuz you know in your deepest soul’s place,

You will never not be able

no — you will never forget my face.


But you know, much as you hated to,

Much as you hated you — 

You had to look away from my face and you had to say:


See ya’, Number 9.

See you time and time and time again,

And you will never be sure if what you saw and heard,

was enough to put me at that place,

but one thing you do know,

you know you gonna’ see my face.


You will look every day in your own mirror

and you know, much as you hate to,

much as you hate you,

You will look at your own face and you will have to decree:



© Jane Tawel, May 2022

Jury Duty in L.A.- Reflection #1: You and Me

Homeless Person Vaporized on the Subway” by ramsay stirling is licensed under CC BY-NC-SA 2.0.


Jury Duty in L.A.

Reflection #1 “You and Me?”

By Jane Tawel

May 17, 2022


There is no place for me to go.

No place.

No place.

No place.

And I look out at a world not mine,

and no one sees my face.

My face.

My face.

My face.


What did I look like, years ago,

when I had some of that?

How did I lose it all so fast,

and end up here,

and end up lost,

and end up so miscast?

‘Cuz’ you don’t really see me, do you?

You think I am not like you.

Admit it, it’s true.

You don’t see the slippery slope

that’s been keepin’ you on your side of life’s river,

and I floating downstream on my frail mat,

and alla that, alla that, alla that,

you got, you think that you deserve it?

But one wrong glance, one bad romance, one missed chance,

one person screwing your finance, one look askance,

one little perchance,

one wrong step in The Big Dance,

and there you go, lucky you, not so lucky any more, are you?

No, you are just like me.

You ARE me,

but you don’t see.

There ain’t no you and me –

The Dance is always for Three.

Let them that have eyes, see.

Let them that have ears, hear.

And let them like me that have nothing any more,

Weep and mourn.

There ain’t no joy in the morning,

‘cuz alla you-all are blocking The Light.


© Jane Tawel, May 2022

A Somewhat Incoherent and Rushed Amount of Thoughts on a Trip to a Stunningly Beautiful Part of the World

A Somewhat Incoherent and Rushed Amount of Thoughts on a Trip to a Stunningly Beautiful Part of the World

By Jane Tawel

May 3, 2022


Here are some random thoughts on a recent trip I was privileged to take with my husband to Bryce and Zion National Parks in Utah, U.S.A. This was our second trip there and if you have never gotten to go, well, find a way. Go. Now if possible. Our trip was a celebration of my husband’s birthday, but it also turned out to be a retreat for our marriage and relationship, and a spiritual adventure for our souls.


If you have never quite been able to believe in a Creator-Being, some call “God”, then you just might after visiting Bryce Canyon. And if you need to find solace, inspiration, and joy in putting one foot in front of the other, both literally and figuratively, then head to this area of amazing and incredible natural and glorious wonder. And if you want to learn about both the incredible creative Spirit that shapes towering red glowing rock formations and vast purple and yellow canyons, but that also shapes each human heart and lives within each human open to Spirit and Truth, a Quixotic and Incomprehensibly Wise Creative-Father that also shapes men and women into creative sources as well, then go to Bryce and Zion. You can just “be” there, which is the best, but you can also hear and read about the miracles of creation, both divine and human, that make this place a continual, evolving, and ancient as earth and native peoples – a story of glory and grace, determination and awesomeness, and practicality and natural magic.


After a week of hikes and picnics, rest and play, Raoul and I drove the long day’s drive home and talked about our “take-aways”. Here are some of mine, in no particular order.

  • Sometimes you have to rest from trying to learn, in order to learn. Sometimes you have to play to let the hard work of relationship grow into something fruitful. And sometimes, you have to stop thinking, in order to understand – to understand others, to understand the Mystery many of us seek and call God, and to definitely, at times, understand oneself.
  • Forgiveness of others is hard, and forgiveness of oneself is even harder. The difficulty is why many of us never try to forgive and many of us never do it particularly well. True forgiveness means the annihilation of past judgments and the desire to avoid any future judgment.
  • Acceptance does not mean condoning, but it is better to remain silent about not condoning actions and let your voice speak loudly and lovingly of your acceptance of the person. It would be good to try each day to do this with myself. “Hello, dear Jane. I do not condone the fact you over-ate yesterday, nor do I condone the fact that you gossiped about that workmate or had that negative thought about that loved one. I do however, lovingly accept you – slightly chubbier, a little bit anxious and worried you – and I love that you are still seeking and going to try to do better today. I forgive you, Myself. I accept you myself. Jane ole Pal, Go out there and love!

  • There aren’t really any good words to describe Nature’s beauty. But I am so happy that people just have to keep trying to describe it anyway. There were a couple times I slightly embarrassed Raoul by bursting into the verses from the old hymn, “For the Beauty of the Earth.”  I sing this to myself some nights when I feel anxious about my kids, or the world, or myself. I sing it sometimes when I can to stop myself from cursing other reckless and naughty drivers on side streets and freeways. I sing it to myself sometimes when I feel God moved off far-away too long ago, and I keep wondering when She will return to save the planet and the people in Ukraine and all the angry people in America. But…. There was something about singing it to Raoul and me and the red rocks, and the impossibly- surviving trees hanging on cliffs, and the chipmunks that find enough food each day to scamper along the dusty trails, and the American antelopes, that aren’t antelopes at all but a unique deer-like creature that has had its own completely unique DNA since God said, “Let there be!” – and it all came into being. Which brings me to this:
  • It is good to be “becoming”. If even rocks are still changing under the glory weight of a God Who Is, then so can we be “becoming”. So am I still becoming. It is good to be alive and as long as there are rocks standing in Bryce Canyon and waters flowing in Zion, there is not only hope for our planet, there is hope for you and me.
  • Surely the Psalmist was right, when she wrote, “For the Lord has chosen Zion; He has desired it for His dwelling place.” But it is good to tell oneself when returning to the ugliness of a city street or the boredom of a 9-5 job or the angst of a world gone headline-mad, or the fears for a child or loved one, that God also lives in us:

So we have come to know and to believe the love that God has for us. God is love, and whoever abides in love abides in God, and God abides in him. By this is love perfected with us, so that we may have confidence for the day of judgment, because as he is so also are we in this world. There is no fear in love, but perfect love casts out fear. For fear has to do with punishment, and whoever fears has not been perfected in love. We love because he first loved us. (I John 4:16-19) 

  • I couldn’t stop looking at what the world and nature– from the large towering impossibly colored rocks to the small, delicate flowering plants –what all reveal about a Mind, a Spirit that is beyond my comprehension and yet Who somehow created a planet that is not only perfect for life, but perfect for exploration and awe-inspiring and wonder. The Psalmist also wrote these lines that kept zinging through my head while in Utah:

When I look at your heavens, the work of your fingers, the moon and the stars, which you have set in place, what is man that you are mindful of him, and the son of man that you care for him? Yet you have made him a little lower than the heavenly beings and crowned him with glory and honor. …


Dear fellow travelers: Today may be a day when like I, you get up and do the same old thing and feel the same old way– if not even a little achier or crankier or scared-er. And beauty may seem long past or remembered as a dream that you can’t quite bring to mind any more. Some days, or many days or most days –hope may seem to have hit a years’ long drought in the living waters department and God, well, He might truly be hiding out in places like Bryce or Zion because He doesn’t always seem to be on our speed dial any more. I know if I were God, right about now, I’d be taking a centuries long retreat to Zion and waiting to see if old Jane or the rest of the folks on the planet decide to stop warring and waging war and causing mayhem or just creating irritation in people they say they love. 


And so perhaps the best thing to do is to realize – if you are reading this – you still have the miracle of your eyes, along with the miracle of your hands and thinking brain – “Look, See, for the Lord is Good to have given you eyes that can see and hands that can work and a brain that can remember and envision something new to create today, even if it is just to create a perfect cup of tea.


Breathe deeply and mindfully, some might say that is all prayer is, and then realize today is yours to live as you choose. Choose now. Choose joy. Choose love.


Finally, no matter where you are, there is a dandelion growing in a sidewalk crack to remind you that the Earth is full of life and hope and beauty. And as long as you can see a wish-flower or hear a bird or taste a drop of honey or smell the morning air or touch your very own hand to your face, then you can trust that God is good and you are good to go.

And as long as people keep trying to create word-pictures that express the beauty of God’s creation and the beauty of God’s love, and the beauty of an hour more to live, and the beauty of our love for each other – well –then no matter where I am, or where my day will take me, or how simplistic and ineffectual my words may be, then I can have the teensiest taste of hope and glory and trust that “God is on Her throne and all will be well with Her World.” 


For the beauty of the earth,
for the glory of the skies,
for the love which from our birth
over and around us lies;
Lord of all, to thee we raise
this our hymn of grateful praise.

2. For the beauty of each hour
of the day and of the night,
hill and vale, and tree and flower,
sun and moon, and stars of light;
Lord of all, to thee we raise
this our hymn of grateful praise.

3. For the joy of ear and eye,
for the heart and mind’s delight,
for the mystic harmony,
linking sense to sound and sight;
Lord of all, to thee we raise
this our hymn of grateful praise.

4. For the joy of human love,
brother, sister, parent, child,
friends on earth and friends above,
for all gentle thoughts and mild;
Lord of all, to thee we raise
this our hymn of grateful praise.

By Folliot S. Pierpont, 1835-1917

© Jane Tawel, 2022