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Prison Trilogy


Picture prison sex as art
Blood, semen, shit
Smeared across a canvas of degradation
Rape slaves are sold for cigarettes
Trapped in their chains of weakness
Their failing manhood
Hidden behind homemade hotpants
& shaved skinny legs

Isn’t it easy to fall in love?

Suppose it’s madness that drives atrocity
Every man is begotten by his father
Every man’s father is Cain
Do men do unto themselves?
What man wishes to be an animal?

Cages breed animals

Beaten, bloody, dead
For words – gestures
Casual bumps & glances
Knives flash, crimes of passion
Knife wounds & screams
Nightmares & fear
& a coward who fails to overcome his fear
The easiest way to appear strong
Is to exploit the weak



Sunday morning in Cell-Block One
I can feel the oppression
When the cellhouse grows quiet
& only state-issued brogans
Send their lonely little messages
To those who are not listening
Little messages aimed at no one
& nowhere...
Down the hall –
Where the television echoes nothing
At all the stone walls and stone faces
Of all the nobodies
As they dream their little gray dreams
Of all that has been wasted
We are a living still life
But ... it’s still life
To me
Because of a technocolor dream
Of two
You & I were they
It reminded me of opium
That dream
I remember well
A dream from heaven
I will tell
Though dreamt here in this pit of hell
There were dreamy kisses at midnight
I remember the flavor of moonlight on your lips
The feel of the leather skirt that hugged your hips
When our lips met I knew the rapture of a feather’s fall
In that kiss – I knew it all
With that brush of a butterfly wing
I came to know everything
The dulcet melody in the song of birds –
To the painful inadequacy of human words
Some things are better left unsaid –
You said



It can befool
Just a shallow pool
We may call tomorrow
& Sadness
That’s a deep emotion
Deep as any ocean
Anchor lines of memories
Hold us fast – in the past
Murky depths
Hidden obstacles
Ropes & chains that snag & pull
Hold me under to drown
Just below the surface of today
That hateful hurtful NOW
That I see only while gulping air
Gasping & choking
As the memories
Try to pull me under
Choke me with the clarity of hindsight
I go under again
I would rather drown
Than see the NOW

 Joe R. Hopkins













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