Table of Contents - Vol. V, No. 4
First, I tell them to not write the obvious.
Don’t say that they’re prisoners.
Show that they’re prisoners.
Ban the word “prison,” I say.
They don’t know what this room looks like.
They don’t know there’s no bars in the entire place.
You see this fly strip,
it looks like it hasn’t been changed
in eight years.
“Seventeen,” Troy says.
“How do you know seventeen?”
“Because I been here that long, and it’s never been changed.”
So paint that for them.
You see all these flies,
you see how this fly has been rotting for eighteen years,
You see how hard that fly is,
like a little rock.
“That’s us,” Troy says.
“We’re those flies.”
Right, I say,
if you understand that, you understand poetry.
Kilby Correctional Facility, Maximum Security, Classroom B
I’m here to help, I say
I know what it was like for you guys,
when I was in Desert Storm
they cut off all forms of communication.
We couldn’t make calls.
Nothing, except for letters.
And that’s what it is for most of you.
So I wanna teach you how to communicate
with your family.
“What if you killed everyone in your family?”
© Ron Riekki