Life in prison:

Never so alone

Ashamed

Depressed

Anxious.

Strip-searched

Man after man

A number now

Prisoner after prisoner.

One by one

For all to see

Arms outstretched

Humiliation.

Men

Many frightened

Pretending

Showing no fear.

Long, dark, damp concrete hallways

Steel bars and doors

Stale air and emotions

Never a ray of sunlight.

Voices

Thunderous voices

Shrieking, howling, shouting

Everywhere.

Never-ending chatter

Never-ending clatter

Never-ending loneliness

Never-ending despair.

Never alone

But always alone

Sitting

Staring.

Thinking

Dreaming

Hoping

Regretting.

Kneeling

Prayers unanswered

Forgiveness

Doubtful.

Never silent

Deafening

The hollering and shouting

The clanging and banging.

Chains rattling

Doors slamming

Whistles and bells

Endlessly.

Time

Stopped

Days become weeks

Weeks become months.

An eternity

A lifetime of agony

Living inside their minds

An endless nightmare.

At least I could go home

At the end of the day.

Unwind

Take off the uniform

The badge

Thinking

Staring

Nightmares

Of bars and concrete

Of broken lives and hearts

Only to awaken

To begin another day

In their world.

  1. Janis Patterson
    Janis Patterson says:

    I have toured several jails over the years (on the side that can go home, thankfully) and your piece gave me shivers. The artificial lighting. The constant awareness of never being truly alone – no solitude, no sense of your own humanity. The noise – good grief, the never-ending, intrusive noise, from the sound of others breathing to cursing to the sharp-edged clatter of dishes and the semi-rhythmic stamp of feet as chainless coffles march past – it is truly the stuff of nightmares.

  2. Pat Marinelli
    Pat Marinelli says:

    Another great notebook post!

    I have to say that a few years ago I visited the Hauptman jail cell and as those loud cell doors closed, I was so glad I was on the right side of them. It was a very scarey feeling.

  3. Dave
    Dave says:

    I have been meaning for some time to comment on your ‘Spiral Notebook’ posts. Each one is poetry. They are great.