This bifurcation of a mood, hulking stone-cropped symbol, bedazzles sulking sensual lilac beauties. Enormous prurience, implacably untamed (and here we crystallize our disenfranchised name): amused, the poet summarizes yellowed notes, exploits winter’s nudity with summertime’s misquotes, dangling, mangling, jangling out of tune—a systematic eulogy for autumn’s ochre moon. Cunning sedentary statuaries restrain resplendent vestiges, shadow angry troubadors’ scraggly cavalcades: ABC in the house; Reacher warehouse tracking 17 hours. Come to us: Thursday + See-more Jane = proud of self nervous 500 taut screws.
Scoff at their curses, they’ll take you away. Linger too long, they’ll congeal your soul at the one-eyed ogre’s matinee. The eclipse prompted the warden to circulate a memo prisonwide warning Don’t Look at it it Can Ruin Your Eyes.
I sent a memo back to the warden: This Life Sentence Ain’t Doin Much for Me Either.
Every day is a self- contained universe defined by enigmatic variables entwined perhaps with antecedents but singularly representative
in the record of our allotment.
Republican & Democrat mean nothing to me: they foster fixed ideologies
dependence recognizes the conditional unanchored by the conventional.
I am a product of the modern machine. I do not care for archaic blatherings, cheesy croonings, syrupy obsecrations or (for that matter) anything shit from the dusty minds and crusty quills of yesteryear's versifiers.
Emerson, Whitman, Whittier, each progressively shittier, their lines murder by tedium.
Dickinson and Poe defend that black, bleak, broad-whiskered era:
dark souls, lonely souls, slung off and faded away:
The greatest among us pen magnificent fascinations go mad and die young.
I do not care for old lickers and their vacuous psalms. Ripe is a step removed from rotten, age an achievement unworthy of immortality.
I do not care for bygone philosophies that humanize inanimates, caricaturize the humble struggle.
John Corleywrites from the Louisiana State Penitentiary at Angola where he has served 29 years of a life sentence. He is a recipient of the PEN award for playwriting and a National Council on Crime and Delinquency award for journalism. His first poetry collection, Pagan, was released in 2018.