Monday, December 19, 2011

Jailhouse Poets

Our Secret
Hey, Lord.
We have a secret.

There are some things about
Being old that are fun, yes fun.
The world gets off your back.

They neglect you.

You don’t have to keep up appearances.
You can go back to the fun of being a child,
Watching a spider spin a web.
Making shadow pictures against the light,
Exploring the backyard
As if it were a new country.
Eating applesauce with cream
Instead of dinner,
Dawdling, staying up all night
Counting stars.
Staying home from a dull party
To play chess with an old friend,
Wearing a funny hat.

Why didn’t you tell me
That besides all the things I hate
About old age,
There’s some fun in it?

I know.
I wouldn’t have believed you.

A Sense of Love

The children haven’t turned out
The way we thought they would..
Their parents are hurt and angry,
Ashamed and worried about it.

I’m not.

I like these kids the way they are:
Open and honest, disorganized and gentle,
Scruffy and kind.

They don’t seem to mind spending time with me.
We talked about real things,
Dreams, peace, the sky.
They tell me that living is more important
Than accomplishing things.

I agree.

Their parents are outraged by this,.
So I don’t go into it.
I say, “The kids came.”

The parents say, “Good. At least
They have s sense of duty.”

I think they have a sense of love.

poems by Sandra

So I swung

I saw a swing
so I swung.
I saw the cigarette
so I smoked it.
I saw the drug
so I did it
and did it.
I saw the gun
so I took it.
I saw the store
so I robbed it.
I saw the police
so I ran.
I see my mother cry

but I gave it another try,
another fix, another store.
I saw a lawyer.
I saw a judge.
I saw the jury.

Now all I’ll see is more bars.
I’ll see the prison.
Maybe one day

poem by Peggy Sue

It Is Nothing I Do

It is nothing
I do
that makes me different
from anyone else

It is the events:
random and
savage that
happened to me
that made me
what I am

poem by Stephanie


I really don’t think we should go through
with this you guys.
I have a feeling we’ll be sorry.

You always have your funny feelings.

Okay smart ass, go ahead.
But don’t forget I warned you.
Hurry up and get it over with.
Spread legs, hands on the car.

        You were right. I’m sorry.

        Just shut up, Okay? Sorry isn’t going to help  now.
        Sitting in the cop car i felt for this man.
        I turned to him and said;
        Don’t worry love.

        One day we’ll laugh at this shit.
        One day we’ll write a book.

I Seek Peace

Why do you hide from me?
I look for you in my God.
I look for you in pleasure.

I seek you, for I need you.
Peace, restore my soul.
I see you in my child’s face,
In families that gather together.

I see you when two young lovers
Gaze into each others eyes.
So, why Peace,
Do you hide from me?

The doors of my heart
Are open to you.
Won’t you please come in?

poems by Yvonne

All of the above poems were written by women in prison in a book called: “So I Swung” which is an anthology of work by women in the Travis county Jail, 1978.