Monday, January 20, 2020

Richard Spillman


He’s forty maybe, with tired eyes,
and skin so dark his tattoos
shift like deer in a forest at night.

He asks what I did and laughs
when I mention the protest march:
why would I care about that shit?

He tells me he’s in for murder,
not here but in Loosiana, some guy
with more mouth than brains,

and offers a cigarette, which I take
though I don’t smoke. Sharing a cell
with a killer makes me congenial.

He compares jails: Mississippi
was bad, but in Los Angeleez,
they got some crazy people there.

You talk about banks playing
with money like kids with bubbles,
for the joy of watching them pop.

He’d just seen Mandingo on Prime
and couldn’t get over the shock.
“Bred like horses,” he says.

I admit I knew, and his eyes
seem to measure my part in it.
Then he says he knew, too,

about the bankers, everybody’d
heard about that, but hell,
what can you do, you got to live.

Gerald So reads "Smoking in Jail":

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Richard confesses: I updated 'Smoking in Jail,' but the narrative is true to fact. I'd been arrested during a protest, and frequent hearings were held to encourage a plea deal. I moved, one of the notices didn't reach me, so like many asylum seekers, I ended up in jail."

RICHARD SPILLMAN is the author of In the Night Speaking and of a chapbook, Suspension. His poems have appeared Poetry and Rattle, The Southern Review and Gargoyle, and lots of other places.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Good stuff. Thanks,