Poems from prison: ‘How to Survive a Bullet to the Heart’
The simple beauty of Poem in Your Pocket Day is the ability to express your feelings about anything – New York City’s vast beauty, the moment you fell in love, your hatred of this everlasting winter – to a total stranger. But some people don’t have the freedom to share their thoughts with someone sitting next to them on the subway. They are locked up, serving time for a crime and working through the issues brought them there.
Who better, really, to write a poem than prisoners? They have a unique perspective and stories that need to be told. John Wareham compiled a new book of poems from prisoners, “How to Survive a Bullet to the Heart.” Here are two poems from the book, exclusively appearing in Metro:
More to It by Rudy Bisnauth
There’s more to it than cuffs and crackles.
More to it than pain and shackles.
More to it than days and nights.
More to it than oozing life.
More to it than parsing crime.
More to it than counting time.
I woke and saw that pain’s a blessing.
Judgement Day is life’s undressing.
Caress what is to be your rest;
love, in time, will be your test.
To me there is a whole lot more.
A door to open many tours.
More to it, I count my breath,
how many whispers might be left?
Embraces by Josue “Big Bear” Pierre
Even after all these years
visiting day, I must say,
can leave me in tears.
To see loved ones I first strip naked
and consent to be degraded.
Needless to say
to embrace the faces
who journey the day
to this cold chalet
come in answer
to what I pray.
Being with those I love is joy
but too soon time flies,
then comes goodbye.
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