The Big Yard

(Act 1)

Yea! it is summer
in the Big Yard
and our prior shakedown
by fisted metal detectors go
humming for midnight muderers’ murmurings.

Yea!  it is summer
in the Big Yard
with the faces old and new,
carrying hardened stones
and fading mumblings of you:
gangsters out sunbathing laugh
at the squeeze’s eyes trembling
under the strongarm’s breath;
biker freaks rant
at the queens out hole strolling
the pimps and johns on the scene;
a c/o voices his suspicion
to some heads about a bit of weed
he believes they have smoked,
and tells them to beat it
off of his post;
and the music kings dance,
dance adjusting stero headphones
as the bass
of the blue marble sky
falls down and out
on us cruising inside
this obituary zone—

    down and out
    our voices take hold
    at this living tomb,
    with smiles and jokes
    about life and metamorphosis
    or the coins lost in our toss.

Yea!  it is summer
in the Big Yard
and the end
to winter’s incessant card games.

(Act II)

Yea! it is summer
in the Big Yard
and across the Yard,
on the handball courts,
a shivering shank jolted
the prisoner’s ripper just right,
a left broke the punk’s jaw.

Yea! it is summer
in the Big Yard
and when the shotgun roared two warnings
a crowd without faces scattered
before the video cameras zeroed in;
ah! could smell
the coming recall-lockdown for sure,
and many didn’t know the score—
just another day passing,
but an end to our fresh air.

Yea!  it is summer
in the Big Yard
and the gates slanged shut
locking down the Yard.


In the distance
a forest grows
green upon a hill;
there I have found you
breathing by the laurels’ roots
and lying beneath
the moon rising
on the edge of the blue sky:

O bloom, O bloom,
An Roison Dhu,
hold me in your flame!

(Act III)

Yea! it is summer
in the Big Yard
and when the gates swing open
to the speakers blaring
800 slithered into the monster’s jaws;
but up sprang a protest 200 strong
spilling around the ball stands
its gleam surrounded homeplate:

a fusillade of voices echoed
as someone yelled let’s play ball,
and out went the players with applause;
the recall roared and roared,
warnings of our last chance,
a punk broke down
and slithered away harassed,
but still our day went on;
suddenly Ol’ Captain Bluebelly came out,
alone and dragging his fear so thick
no one would touch it,
his pointing finger and barking voice shuddered
with a possible reading of the riot act,
but the fuck yous rumbled through the stands
and away he went carrying a tight face
as our game went on;
and finally when the 8 o’clock recall came
the field and stands emptied into
the zooming cameras that could only record—
Prisoners +1, State -1.

Yea!  it is summer
in the Big Yard
and the monster’s metal jaws
closes each night
upon nameless faces
and swallows.