Towers with Howitzers
Walls that touch the sky
Razor sharp fencing wired for sensing
Doubt them and die

Loudspeakers cameras that zoom
Microphones in every room
X-ray machines and monitor screens
An Orwellian dream

Hands bound legs in chains
No talking keep walking
Welcome to insane 

A toothbrush a comb a razor for shaving
Names become numbers the denims on loan
Photos and prints records for saving
Everything issued nothing owned

Cubicles of concrete and steel compact and surreal
Sixteen bars and a slot for meals
A light so bright never dim
The unyielding ingredients of grim

Ladles of food without taste but none to waste
No morsel debris
In the hollow of night cold beans become caviar
The watery Kool-Aid a fine Chablis

Lift ’em spread ’em hands on the wall
Rubber gloved searches for contraband small
No cavity overlooked not even a nose
Bend over for the finger no indignity spared

The slow procession of years a never ending rain
Friends disappear
A loved one dies no goodbyes 
Nothing to cauterize the pain
Old photos yellowed from time
Memories of days gone by
Fan before them on the floor and quietly adore

Make friends with the mice on the boat
The cockroaches out for a stroll
Talk to them . . . tether them
Offer them a roll

Large keys for small spaces
A thousand ugly faces

The burglar lives with the bigamist
The smuggler of toke next to
The dealer of coke

The hijacker from the Middle East with
The pedophile priest
The junkie with the judge
A Skid Row slasher with
The thief of gold bas
The bad check cashier with
The bomber of cars

The congressman on the take
Just above
The robber and rake

One sentenced to a year
One to life
One lives in fear
The other carries a knife

Some have muscled limbs under a sea of ink
Even with a gang stag ready for bang
Just waiting for rivals to blink

Some curl up in a ball fix their weary eyes on the wall
Just lay there and rot
Some read day and night lose themselves in a plot
No worries at all

Some the harmers of women and children are hated
Fated to telling only lies
Must risk their deeds with artful disguise

Some brandish repertories of romanticisms like a gun
Savage the lonely of heart just for fun

Some are ever engaged in discoveries of delusion
After the parole a collusion
Some have never shared a thought no friendship sought
No time for such intrusions
Some will file away at the bars change a sheet for a rope
Will risk it all with little hope


Some when finally sanity deserts will connect
Their neck to the ceiling or knotted sheet
And some they’ll just surveil in silence then quietly
Steal the shoes off their feet

Sometimes in the night bolt upright 
On sweat soaked sheets 
Look around and curse the interruption 
Better the violence in the streets 

The wielder of pistols and knives 
The men of many wives 
The safe cracker and the computer hacker 
The hijacker of planes deranged 
The forger of bills 
The merchant of pills for the seeker of thrills 
The starter of fires and killers for hire 
Spreaders of fear 
The thieves of the body most private and dear 
They’re all here
The still young and bold
The now wrinkled and old