Locked up in a Lockdown


(Maryland Penitentiary, August, 1991)

As if stricken by our gloom,

the days changed from glowing whites

to dull reds, then slowly into blacks.

In scorching steel boxes we sat

And watched that stream of silence

splash its longing portrait upon sealed

and dusty windows.

Like shadows still,

bruised and bleeding

in that dark germ of a place,

Like flies glued to the belly

of the Emperor's dead cat,

We sat.

Some of us sat thinking of revenge;

Some sat in pernicious cowardice,

conspiring to collaborate

further with the enemy;

Some just clutched bibles

and wanted to go home.

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