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Showing posts from April, 2006

Cement Oasis

I went to prison this week, for the first time. Sadly, like many folks who've never been inside a correctional facility before, my expectations had been shaped by MSNBC's Lock-Up, HBO's Oz, the films ConAir and Shawshank and, maybe, a dab of The Andy Griffith Show.

I know. How surburban of me.

Suffice it to say, my assumptions were ... um ... wrong. True, the innmates could've been actually shanking and hustling and tossing one another right before I showed up, but they were writers and poetry fans with me.

By the end of the night, I was signing programs like a rock star and accepting generous compliments and thank-yous for the day we'd spent together.

"You're a blessing ... really."

Me? Sheesh. "Thank you" isn't quite adequate, d'ya think? No, I didn't think so either. Especially when they are the ones who made the day important, which made it spectacular. For my part, I turned a workshop into a sustainable series ... something that …

Reality numb

Words stand still
broad bands
of expectation

Bodies of young boys
beneath murky lagoon
bound by marsh weeds
pulled down to sweeten
its stagnant streams

frozen in my mouth
jagged edges digging
into fury
tearing open that simple shell
exposing apathy's patient dead seed

Unable to bear fruit
from freedom ringing verdicts
handed to police academy misfits
one family
our community
all damned to prune these
plantation field perversions
grief proving its forever harvest

shrink away
too small
and limp
to even wobble
beneath the weight of this
unbrave world
into corners
what good can they do