Fernando Rivas was awarded 3rd Place in Poetry in the 2022 Prison Writing Contest.

Every year, hundreds of imprisoned people from around the country submit poetry, fiction, nonfiction, and dramatic works to PEN America’s Prison Writing Contest, one of the few outlets of free expression for the country’s incarcerated population.

Given a finite number of words, x

where x is a function of all churning emotional landscapes

on this planet.

And given a muting force, y (representing silence or repression)

so that we can express what is verbalized as

y + x or

x – y

perhaps there is a ratio: z

so that x/y = z

where y is the determinant

where a balance between spoken works and silence

is some predetermined constant

such that when a time factor, T, is introduced

T  x𑇐  x/y   or  TX/TY  or  T(z)

can determine with some accuracy the final sum

of words spoken to words never said at any given moment

of history as written as opposed to history as spoken  (HW  ≠  HS)

and every speech is a motion of molecules

an emotional current set in circulation.

To this add noise, N

and music, M

so that the sonic/emotional global landscape


TX/TY  𑇐x  M  x𑇐  N  or

TXMN/TYMN or T(z)MN/MN  𑇐x  y^2

And if enclosed as a matrix the expression becomes


                          = E,  or T(z)MN/MN  𑇐x  y^2  =  E^3


where E^3 is the total sonic energy expanded on Earth

at a given time, T.

The impact this has on the troposphere is unknown,

and moreover can we infer any change in atmospheric stability?

These questions are open for further inquiry.

Purchase Variations on an Undisclosed Location: 2022 Prison Writing Awards Anthology here.