TOUGH

TOUGH

TOUGH

A Poem by John Grey

Inmate is all you know how to be.
You've lived half your life in prison.                                                                                                      A break from routine                                                                                                                             is a pee in a corner
four feet from your bunk.
Your clop of your shoes on cold concrete                                                                                        can hear you coming                                                                                                                       from years past                                                                                                                                  and years into the future.

You gradate your life in terms of sentences:                                                                                  shop lifting followed by arm robbery                                                                                                 and then manslaughter.                                                                                                                  You’re fed at the government's pleasure.
An hour in the quadrangle
with faces sourer than your own
is the height of companionship.
Labor is number-plates
and a guard's regret
that you're not in chains
and hammering rock.

Your family visit sometimes.
Their shame can’t get enough of you.
You tell them that, with good behavior,
you could be out in five years.
But you hate good behavior                                                                                                          worse than the warden.

The truth is
you've only ever known enclosures.
Like how you live inside
this bad guy image
and you've thrown away the key.

Is this Love?

Is this Love?

VT&R: I Hooked-up with a Football Player and It Ended up Being a Metaphor

VT&R: I Hooked-up with a Football Player and It Ended up Being a Metaphor