For the love of words. And the freedom to love.

bettsxr-dwayne-betts

Photo by H. Darr Beiser. Photo by Rachel Eliza Griffiths!

About his being locked up as an “adult” as a 16 year old in a men’s prison.

dwayne-betts

Photo by Gesi Schilling.

“For you: anthophilous, lover of flowers”

BY REGINALD DWAYNE BETTS

.
For you: anthophilous, lover of flowers,
green roses, chrysanthemums, lilies: retrophilia,
philocaly, philomath, sarcophilous—all this love,
of the past, of beauty, of knowledge, of flesh; this is
catalogue & counter: philalethist, negrophile, neophile.
A negro man walks down the street, taps Newport
out against a brick wall & stares at you. Love
that: lygophilia, lithophilous. Be amongst stones,
amongst darkness. We are glass house. Philopornist,
philotechnical. Why not worship the demimonde?
Love that—a corner room, whatever is not there,
all the clutter you keep secret. Palaeophile,
ornithophilous: you, antiquarian, pollinated by birds.
All this a way to dream green rose petals on the bed you love;
petrophilous, stigmatophilia: live near rocks, tattoo hurt;
for you topophilia: what place do you love? All these words
for love (for you), all these ways to say believe
in symphily, to say let us live near each other.
.
.
About his being locked up as an “adult” as a 16 year old in a men’s prison.
.
.
Tax cuts mean less time to read, fewer hours of access per month in the prison library- no they can’t go every day. Please.
Your tax cuts take humanity away from other persons.
.
Your tax cuts mean no time for therapy, no time to prepare for the living world, no time to better yourself, no strength to stay away, no better neighbourhood to return to, no vote. No voice.
.
And yes, everyone deserves to be heard, even if you sold coke or weed (that’s what the majority of black men are in prison for) or killed someone or defrauded thousands of people or paid your employees too little. They are people.
.
You have done wrong. Everybody has skeletons. If you’ve done your time, you should be given all your rights back.
.
Anyway.
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