what is real

abstract visual of reality

by pamela

There is no place like prison for hearing what is real. Stark, painful, funny, poignant, harsh. All of it. What was real one recent night was extreme heat, no fans, and a wild array of writing. Writing that ranged from explicitly sexual to harrowingly life-threatening. Writing that included tributes to a mentor and to a young charge at daycare.

What is real has no singular definition or identity. It just is. Likewise, this poem ‘found’ from the lines spoken that stuffy evening, when I was challenged to ‘see what THAT poem will look like‘ from such disparate writings. And here it is – as real and visceral and true as each and every woman writing around the table.

Here is What is Real

My closet full of fuck-its.
Five badass kids in the back of the car.
This hell known to the outside world as CRCF –
I was counting on that money.
Teaching my little sister how to swim.
Being in the presence of a charmer.
A cherry of wisdom from whoever may be speaking.
The choice to go over the cliff or up the tree. Continue reading

a tribute to a departed daughter

Credit: soulvisionart

As much as I love creating poems ‘found’ from lines written each week by the women incarcerated at Vermont’s Chittenden Regional Correctional Facility, sometimes others do, too. The short piece below was penned during last week’s circle after the writer heard the dozen women read their words around the circle. CB’s poem is built entirely from those lines she heard from the other women’s writings – dedicated to the memory of losing her own daughter.

(Tribute to a departed daughter from the readback lines of the other writers)

A very unique person loved and accepted by most
When you were born, I was able to put you in your father’s arms
If you were still here, I would have loved to hear you sing

How can they get past what happened?
How I wanted to swoop in and save you
I remember so much about you, I have so many wonderful memories of you

The days go by and I miss you very much
The truth hurts sometimes
I didn’t know what to think or how to feel

I wish I could turn back time
I light two cigarettes, one for me and one for him
I close my eyes and I am at peace

Oh my, I just set myself free