Can anyone out in the hallway hear me?
Skrit-Scratching on the walls,
Floor to ceiling pencil poems
In prescription-cursive fonts,
Hand cramps trying to keep up
With the torrent through my cortex.
Thoughts crying out, screaming the night,
Jolting awake, dream-fog questioning
The reality of sounds in the dark.
Strain to hear soft sobs through
Shared bathroom walls,
Fetal-curled on the tile floor.
Randomly reciting passages from Plato
Epictetus and the Buddha.
Waiting for the appropriate countersign
From Aristotle, Epicurus and the Gita.
Murmur-chanting Howl and America
Softly, steadily swaying like a Rabbi praying Torah.
Desperately shoving notes and folded photographs
Under the cell door, hoping an Orderly doesn’t see.
Walls full, pencil broken
Poetry flows on, scratched into the floor,
A spiraling binding protection circle of words
Writ with a broken bloodied fingernail.
20-21 September 2016