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A Poem From "The Sun" Literary Magazine. (1 Viewer)

RHPeat

Met3 Group Leader
Staff member
Senior Mentor
This poem is open for discussion by anyone who wishes to make a comment. It's a two page narrative poem that has long lines which gives it a prose poem feeling.
"The Sun" Literary Magazine carries short stories essays and poetry.

Origin: From: "The Sun" August 2021 — Literary Magazine — Page 13
This poem is printed on two full pages in the Magazine. The line in the middle of the poem, is the page break between the two pages. So there is a bit of white space around the poem's stanzas; it is single spaced and the line breaks are as they appear in "The Sun" — Magazine's text.
The poem uses space caesuras and long dashes to separate text as speech pauses. It also use italics in strange ways like the word cannot is half italicized. There is also the use of capitalization to emphasize speech in (ok, OK) and (Communion.)
======================================================

By Laurie Rackus Uttic
h

It’s Friday Afternoon in the Florida State Penitentiary and the Men Read Poetry.

and Ronnie says Robert Hayden got
it right, a whipping be like that — “the face that I no longer
knew or loved” — damn, that’s it, right there and
Ronnie doesn’t blame his mama for beating him so bad, but
maybe she could have kept her pipe in the car and then maybe
he never would have ended up in a foster home and maybe
if he hadn’t been such a pissed-off little shit-ass runt, maybe
they would have put him in a house with a mama who liked kids and maybe
then his foster dad wouldn’t have put his hands on him and made him run and

Dwayne doesn’t care what anyone thinks Maya Angelou is the world’s best poet —
Yeah, I said world — and "you may kill me with your hatefulness” ought to be the slogan
for every CO in this shithole, but still like air Dwayne’s gonna rise, he’s just praying his mama
don’t die before he gets out and he still thinks if he would have gone to his brother’s funeral when he
was nine, then maybe he wouldn’t have started crawling out the window at night looking for him and maybe
this is nuts, but for the life of him Dwayne cannot remember anyone telling him that Scotty died, but
they must have, right? and

Julio thinks Pablo Neruda’s got it wrong .. Just because your wife forgets you .. just because she writes, you know I
can’t be along .. Just because she sends your letters back – return to sender? what the fuck – just because
another man’s sleeping in your goddamn bed don’t mean you forget her .. “I shall stop loving you little
by little,” too? I’m telling you straight, it don’t work like that and


------------{page break}------------------

RJ’s new and he doesn’t want to read anything, but can he just say something? He sold drugs.
He regrets it. He has accepted the Lord as his Almighty Savior. he regrets it, ok? OK. Thank you.
class we get credit for and we laugh and laugh and RJ says he likes what we’re doing over here
better than that chapel with all them white women, no offense, and their bib les and gold
crosses, and Jesus, the men are even worse, the way they look at you like a bill
they gotta pay, but these are the only two damn places with air-conditioning
and we all agree it’s hotter than shit, and animals in the goddamn pound

are treated better and then I read Tim Seibles’s “First Kiss’ and the men
place the words of his poem on their tongues like Communion
and we are all fifteen again, holy and hungry, standing under
a porch light while the earth splits beneath our feet and we
don’t move or speak because Tim’s words are still alive
in the space between us and beauty crumbles
when you try to catch it — we all know
that — so we let it settle on our skin
and hold our breath until Marco
says, like a prayer,

It be like that. It be just like that.
 
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Pamelyn Casto

WF Veterans
My subscription to The Sun just ran out. I found the work published there quite interesting and Uttich's poem is no exception. Here's a brief ramble before I get to sleep.

This is a powerful and touching and disturbing piece. The story about Ronnie was particularly heart breaking. It happens so often that little kids who are beaten and abused will convince themselves such things are somehow their own fault. Ronnie puts himself down savagely--calls himself "pissed-off little shit-ass runt".

I felt sorry for Dwayne, worrying his mother might die before he gets out. He recalls his personal tragedy, losing his brother -- and that was so touching that as a boy he began crawling out the window to try to find him. He's been mistreated by the COs in the penitentiary--and relates to Angelou's words: "you may kill me with your hatefulness.”

I agree with Julio about Neruda's poem-- "I’m telling you straight, it don’t work like that". Julio clearly knows about such things.

RJ claims to like what they're doing here, with the the poetry readings. This place, the site of the poetry readings, and the chapel have air conditioning. He says "animals in the goddamn pound are treated better."

I don't know the last poet's work but again, what great description Uttich provides.

After reading the poem I feel like I've learned more about penitentiary life, more about the lives of those confined to the place. It all seems credible, authentic. "It be like that. It be just like that." I like the way Uttich had the characters responding to the poems. I plan on seeking out more of her work. Thanks for posting it, Ron.

I'd like to see the poem with all the spacings, pauses, and special uses you tell us about. I'd bet that with all that shown in the poem, it would be even more powerful.
 

RHPeat

Met3 Group Leader
Staff member
Senior Mentor
My subscription to The Sun just ran out. I found the work published there quite interesting and Uttich's poem is no exception. Here's a brief ramble before I get to sleep.

This is a powerful and touching and disturbing piece. The story about Ronnie was particularly heart breaking. It happens so often that little kids who are beaten and abused will convince themselves such things are somehow their own fault. Ronnie puts himself down savagely--calls himself "pissed-off little shit-ass runt".

I felt sorry for Dwayne, worrying his mother might die before he gets out. He recalls his personal tragedy, losing his brother -- and that was so touching that as a boy he began crawling out the window to try to find him. He's been mistreated by the COs in the penitentiary--and relates to Angelou's words: "you may kill me with your hatefulness.”

I agree with Julio about Neruda's poem-- "I’m telling you straight, it don’t work like that". Julio clearly knows about such things.

RJ claims to like what they're doing here, with the the poetry readings. This place, the site of the poetry readings, and the chapel have air conditioning. He says "animals in the goddamn pound are treated better."

I don't know the last poet's work but again, what great description Uttich provides.

After reading the poem I feel like I've learned more about penitentiary life, more about the lives of those confined to the place. It all seems credible, authentic. "It be like that. It be just like that." I like the way Uttich had the characters responding to the poems. I plan on seeking out more of her work. Thanks for posting it, Ron.

I'd like to see the poem with all the spacings, pauses, and special uses you tell us about. I'd bet that with all that shown in the poem, it would be even more powerful.
Actually Pamelyn all the things I talk about are in this poem. I sent Clark a copy of this as well. He has a prison poem as well that is quite good. Make him dig it up and send you a copy. I was talking to PiP about this poem also. It's great how they all come together — with the one thing they miss the most, a woman. The first Kiss poem took them all — over the edge. This says to me that prisons are about punishment. But this writing program is actually about rehabilitation in a big way. It's obvious in the reprocusions of "The First Kiss". That it is Communion on their lips as they spoke about that poem.

a poet friend
RH Peat
 
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Pamelyn Casto

WF Veterans
I love your reading, Ron. Rather than a literal missing woman, think the poem is more about innocence and communion and a holy time for these men before the world no longer cared--a time when someone cared--a time before they fell into their grave mistakes and disgrace and shame and punishment. I'd guess at least some of the men in attendance could have even been gay and understanding what it was like, how holy, that first kiss of love ( of any gender) was like. Doing these poetry readings and sharing their hurts and rages through commenting on each poem (Angelou, Neruda, etc.) and it's meaning to the man named, can work as rehabilitation. Through poetry, they're given their voices back. They have a community going. Through poetry, they're learning other people have these pains and sorrows and each man tells how he relates to the poem. Oh, I looked up Tim Siebles' "First Kiss"-- Wow. It be like that. It for sure be like that (for the boys and the girls involved in that first kiss where the world becomes beautiful, wonderful, loving, amazing . . . Yeah, it be like that. Here's that link. Wow.
http://www.fishousepoems.org/first-...Head Solos (Cleveland State University, 2004).

Wow to both poems.
 

RHPeat

Met3 Group Leader
Staff member
Senior Mentor
Pamelyn

I didn't realize these poems were out there to read. Thanks for sharing that. And you bet that had to turn all their heads and put Communion on their tongues. Thank for the connection and I did like the poem "The First Kiss". I like what you say about their poetry group creating a community. I look at the Met 3 poets in the same way. That they are tight community of writers. Strong critiques with getting personal creates learning and awareness. I like that in the group.

a poet friend
RH Peat
 
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