el Jones I have a hard time seeing #BlackLivesMatter #poem

White space between pockets of lines are mine, so I (and others) can read it easier.

I have a hard time seeing justice as a reserve without a well
But then we bring its children a smudge kit in their cell

Don’t we wonder what will happen when there’s foster kids living in hotels
Or black children in the principal’s office 5 minutes past the bell
Because they never learned to read and they fell between the gaps
We start with zero tolerance by the time they’re done taking naps

Is it justice when some people start the race ahead by laps
In a country where we can’t even guarantee clean water from the taps
And there’s indigenous land under every prison on the map
And as you move up from minimum to medium to max
It’s a funny thing in Canada how the skin just gets more black

And that lack of access to parole that is kind of like a tax
A couple years of extra sentence that they tack on to our backs
And there’s those weapons laws they pass that they claim are for the gangs
While there’s white supremacists in prisons with KKK upon their hands
And there’s guards who give them daps

And the police can gun down teenagers and never hit the stand
I won’t even get into asking why we never charge the banks
But should anyone be sent to where they have to carry shanks

Eljoneslyrics.wordpress.com

 

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Full poem
I know a man who stabbed a man inside and got sent off to the SHU
But he says when somebody comes after you then what else do you do
I don’t believe that he’s a monster but that’s what the system say
And now he’s doing double life and might not see the light of day
And when you’re 15 and your family teaches you to sell crack
Well is there any coming back so you grow to manhood in the max
And we define entire lives by a person’s worst acts
So we just list their various crimes and believe we have the facts
So here’s another story of another lost defendant
He’s 20 years old and he’s 8 years into his sentence
Brought over to the prison from juvenile detention
Sometimes children in this country they just don’t deserve a mention
Until they commit a crime and then suddenly we pay attention
There are people in society we label as disposable
When you’re already doing time shouldn’t be the first time you’re diagnosable
And so we put them in a prison where at least they are controllable
And I suppose it isn’t notable and no one gets emotional
Unless we find out they are innocent then maybe humanity’s negotiable
But for the rest, you did the crime so your humanity’s ignored
And men are in so long they don’t know how to use a door
And men are in so long they’ve never heard of internet explorer
That’s what happens when you’re black when you’re indigenous and poor
When you’re considered to be a criminal before you’re even born
I get an incoherent call at 3 o clock in the morning.
The same guy who called me crying to report he was assaulted
He says he’s locked up in his room surrounded by guns and knives
If they come to take him back it’s either his or their lives
He says ever since he left the prison he’s been numbing with a high
But people say to close his mouth because it doesn’t happen to real guys
I suppose it’s ironic he’s from the same reserve as Donald Marshall
So it seems to me that justice there was only ever partial
When we look back at that case and say those 11 years were awful
But for everybody else the same suffering is lawful
I’ve heard so many tragic stories I could almost tick off a box
But still we call it justice when the prison doors are locked
We believe that punishment comes to the people who deserve it
But punishment mostly comes to the people who can’t swerve it
Can’t avoid it, can’t employ it, can’t voice it, can’t afford it
And then once you go to prison whatever happens can’t report it
If you can’t write how can you file Roebothams or habeus corpus
So we talk about wrongful but where are the rightful convictions?
Sure there’s Paul Bernardo, Clifford Olson, Robert Picton
But what about the man on his 50th charge of shoplifting
When it’s obvious to everyone the problem is addiction
And the truth and reconciliation commission can only be a fiction
As long as indigenous people out west are still filling up the prisons
I have a hard time seeing justice as a reserve without a well
But then we bring its children a smudge kit in their cell
Don’t we wonder what will happen when there’s foster kids living in hotels
Or black children in the principal’s office 5 minutes past the bell
Because they never learned to read and they fell between the gaps
We start with zero tolerance by the time they’re done taking naps
Is it justice when some people start the race ahead by laps
In a country where we can’t even guarantee clean water from the taps
And there’s indigenous land under every prison on the map
And as you move up from minimum to medium to max
It’s a funny thing in Canada how the skin just gets more black
And that lack of access to parole that is kind of like a tax
A couple years of extra sentence that they tack on to our backs
And there’s those weapons laws they pass that they claim are for the gangs
While there’s white supremacists in prisons with KKK upon their hands
And there’s guards who give them daps
And the police can gun down teenagers and never hit the stand
I won’t even get into asking why we never charge the banks
But should anyone be sent to where they have to carry shanks
I watch police roll into Ferguson with snipers riding tanks
I don’t think you have to not have done it for justice to be miscarried
When I’ve known men so long in prison that their babies now are married
Hell I’ve known men so long in prison that they first meet their son out on the range
And I don’t know that it is justice if we decide you can never change
And I don’t know that it’s justice when there’s men inside a cage
And I don’t know that it is justice if the scales will never budge
And men in prison with so much legal knowledge they could be a judge
And maybe they could have gone in that direction if they only got a nudge
And it’s true that I’ve known men who did a killing for a grudge
But does three seconds of your life make you only human sludge
And let’s not talk about the corporations that profit off it all
Like the predatory phone companies gouging prisoners for a call
Women going broke when their man’s conviction’s not their fault
I could talk about the scanners and how many hits are false
And how families are turned away after driving up for hours
Cause I dont know that it is justice when it’s so easy to abuse powers
I could talk to you for days and it would all be the same ruin
And I know men who did their time in prison with Assoun
And they’ll never be set free to share their voice in these rooms
And I know lawyers, guards and judges who do their best to change the tune
but in a society that’s broken it’s like reaching for the moon
And I confess I once believed that every person could be saved
And then it took a couple of years and it’s true that I got played
And I had to face that there’s some people who seem to always dig a grave
But I still don’t believe that they deserve solitary just because they misbehaved
And I still believe we can do better and that we have to find a way
And I’d still rather know I tried even if it means I failed
Because it will never be justice while the our solution still is jail
So from people doing time in Kent down to people in Renous
From people in the county up to people in the SHU
If that was your life story, what do you think you’d do?

 

 

 

 

 

THE SPOOL: A PRISONER’S LAMENT Bertoff

#prison #blacklivesmatter # iNeedFeminismBecause #INTERSECTIONALITY #sexwork is decent

Federic W. Bertoff

THE SPOOL: A PRISONER’S LAMENT

There are many ways
to mark time
though most claim they don’t
preferring the myth
of living each day just for itself

And never counting
but I count
and measure the time in ticking seconds
in empty instant coffee jars
in socks with slowly widening holes
in calendar girls

Counting out lovely monthly mermaids
Miss Christmas, New Year’s, Halloween
I’m staring out the window again
or measuring lengths of dental floss
one spool (a hundred yards)
goes about a year or less

While each night hurtling through the galaxy
I floss that grinning death mask,
pink gums sanguine in his dim reflection
and supposing I ought to re-use that floss
at four cents an hour (the going wage)
I consider cost

But, with dramatic dispatch, throw it all away
one Last Grand Gesture
in hopes of burning up that spool
just a little quicker
with fifteen more to go

—from Rattle #10, Winter 1998
Tribute to Poets in Prison

Making cow eyes. For the love of cows. Cowscowscows “Cows” by Peter Kocan! #Valentines #poetryisjustawesome

Cows by Peter Kocan

Cows graze across the hill,
Measuring the day
As their shadows tell
Irrelevant time. Their gait is half-way
Between moving and standing still.

The sun is gentle on the green
Of their meadow, their mouths deep
In its heavy warmth,
A watcher could fall asleep
In the depth
Of that untroubled scene.

From each dewdrop morning
To every day’s end
They follow the cycle
Of the rhythm of the world turning
In its season. A miracle
Of normalcy is a cow’s mind.

Beyond thought’s prickling fever
They dwell in the grace
Of their own true concerns,
And in that place
Know they will live forever
With butterflies around their horns.

More about Kocan:http://evidenceanecdotal.blogspot.ca/2013/05/a-miracle-of-normalcy-is-cows-mind.html

“There is a field near the main kitchen where cows from the hospital dairy graze. There’s a peacefulness about cows.

At weekends you take a book and sit under the tree near the field and read a little and listen to music on your transistor and watch the cows.

Sometimes you lean on the fence and click your tongue at the cows and they will wander close and sniff at you and

examine you with big peaceful eyes but with a dubious look also, as if they’re wondering what your game is.

You don’t stay leaning on the fence too long.             It’s a bit too visible there.

It might look odd.

Other people don’t spend their time looking at cattle. Looking at cattle is

probably a symptom of something. ”

The New Oxford Book of Australian Verse, chosen by Les A. Murray.
USED: http://www.abebooks.com/servlet/BookDetailsPL?bi=14144434264

– Poet Ross Gay in an extraordinary essay in The Sun (sez Lillian Allen).

Feels like some kind of poetry!

“What if we acknowledged the drug war, and the resulting mass incarceration of African Americans, and the myriad intermediate crimes against citizens and communities as a product of our fears? And what if we thereby had to reevaluate our sense of justice and the laws and procedures and beliefs that constitute it? What if we honestly assessed what we have come to believe about ourselves and each other, and how those beliefs shape our lives? And what if we did it with generosity and forgiveness? What if we did it with mercy?”

– Poet Ross Gay in an extraordinary essay in The Sun (Lillian Allen).