Sept/Oct 2020 • Vol. XLII No. 5 All of This Is True |

{#289-128} Property of the State

: Roxbury Correctional Book Club I Poetry American Journal arrives in a library cart dog-eared to page 18 “the prisoner” as if to start there in media res, dear hayden: the [I] in me no longer lives it vanished i confess the collective (we) is no better; yes, walls here are gray not green but know your poems sing —  again, [I] does not exist, comrade. i do between life & death in this infinite space with no clock no marker of time no calendars to strike out the day or days running together after lock in. i write —  the legal pad fills itself with regret [ownership is mine even in this cage] a brokenness dictated by time’s torture: writs, habeas corpus, motions denied in a house lacking doorknobs to turn, yes the cockroach caught became a pet at xmas my cellie snorted white lines to escape physical torture of the mind cascading in & on itself rapid then slow —  a program of abstinence & madness. II Memoir (for Old Skool) gloved fist, flashlig

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Sept/Oct 2020 • Vol. XLII No. 5 All of This Is True |

{#289-128} Property of the State

: How to Become the Invisible Man names must be on the list but no one will visit today including children over twelve. friends dissipated first at roxbury weekdays are fixed: 1:00-11:00 a.m. & 12:00-2:30 p.m. weekends depend on an inmate’s # —  from dc take I-270 north though the cut-off time stays at 2:00 a visit might be miraculous. .but. drive far-far west — get off (as if someone actually might) at the sharpsburg exit (rte. 65) —  since girlfriend never wrote she will not proceed one mile or approach any access road. after the transfer from county contemplate loneliness & why family blocked every collect call —  please follow the signs believe a whole body can vanish.

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Sept/Oct 2020 • Vol. XLII No. 5 All of This Is True |

{#289-128} Property of the State

: Quiet Before the Storm in the Dayroom stainless steel tables with stop sign seats hold dominoes, checkers, playing cards alongside a group of old heads studying not the bible but the quran for balance. rippling keys from a manual typewriter echo from cell 42 on the top tier — filing a writ, perhaps a hail mary; yet, hope —  in the dayroom men craft greeting cards or bracelets from slivers of colored plastic under the bolted tv big pun gets a tattoo the cost: five cup-a-soups & two kippers for a naked lady drawn with a walkman tricked out by a needle the cassette gone the music gone. hear the clank of metal or thud from a steady stream of urine in toilet water before the flush & release —  there is laughter over our sadness lingering beneath fake smiles someone owes for a bag of heroin & before lock in will battle the creditor like a gladiator: a spectacle we call theater of the absurd.

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Sept/Oct 2020 • Vol. XLII No. 5 All of This Is True |

{#289-128} Property of the State

: Unreliable Narrator distractions ring apparent: gate, iron, cement, gun, dog, division by categorization —  race is a factor manipulated because you cannot depend on distracted recall inside delusions of the incarcerated —  this may be make-believe now: a row of cells contain bush’s war on drugs, the carnage invisible within a ten-year bid —  brought in by corrections from baltimore bundles of boy .or. opioids for the uninformed —  hung out to dry while hanging in the streets for black bodies:  — prison prescribed as cure —  blame shackles for diversions for the system goes blameless: cop, warden, da, politician all cry necessity, a must, a need —  this is the fantastical dreamed up in the mind of someone real.

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