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Terrance Taylor #377991

Something Is Happening

Something is happening here,
And it compels me to make a pronouncement.
There are adolescents in these institutions,
Young people lingering on the back walls of day rooms.
Huddled for safety and seeking strength from one another,
Sheep and gazelles within razor wire confines.
Eighteen and nineteen year olds.
Who look and act like fifteen and sixteen year olds.
Nothing they do unseen by predators,
Child molesters and tough guys who feed off their callow.
They lack an education and need a role model,
But their prison elders lack interest and a connection.
Pacified by video game consoles,
And squabble over basketball,
While leaving chairs unoccupied in law libraries.
Write-ups and misconducts a common occurrence,
And long sentences stretching into their future,
The reason for their indifference.

Something is happening here,
And it compels me to make a pronouncement.
I spoke to a broken and aged man,
His eyes hollow, clothes raggedly and hair uncombed.
He spoke truths of forty years of incarceration,
But said he was thrown in jail in ’77.
With everyday the same unbroken monotony he was lost in his years.
Or maybe he just quit counting.
I offered him toothpaste because I found his breath insulting.
He was happy to accept,
Grateful for my generosity.
As was the prisoner who sold baggies of coffee.
The old man said his mother died,
His brother was murdered and his sister quit caring.
So the psychotropic drugs help him to cope,
As did the occasional prison brewed wine.

Something is happening here.
And it compels me to make a pronouncement.
My job an observer of suicidal prisoners.
He suicidal and so being observed.
I document his eccentric and disturbing behaviors.
The way he talks to himself and swings at the air.
At other times astride his imaginary motorcycle,
He performs I document
And wonder what went wrong.
Was it prison that broke him to this point?
Or was it a pre-condition exacerbated by years of segregation?
Angered he punches the wall.
I look for signs of a fracture,
And document whether or not,
He screams I document.
He laughs I document.
He paces the floor and I document.
He doesn’t sleep so I document.
When I asked if he was alright,
He replied, “Do you want to fight”?
I respectfully declined his invitation,
But that I didn’t document.



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