Work beckons

Tomorrow I begin my teaching assistant job at the local county jail. Unfortunately, but understandably, there is little I can write about my experience without getting myself into trouble/crossing confidentiality lines.  I may try anyway.  I am nervous (mostly of what the students will think of me) but overall excited to work with a population that I can learn so much from, and if I do my job right, can learn a lot from me.

Poetry by William Wantling

I’ve got to be honest, I can
make good word music and rhyme

at the right times and fit words
together to give people pleasure

and even sometimes take their
breath away–but it always

somehow turns out kind of phoney.
consonance and assonance and inner

rhyme won’t make up for the fact
that I can’t figure out how to get

down on paper the real or the true
which we call Life. Like the other

day. The other day i was waling
on the lower exercise yard here

at San Quentin and this cat called
Turk came up to a friend of mine

and said Ernie, I hear you’re
shooting on my kid. And Ernie

told him So what, punk? And Turk
pulled out his stuff and shanked

Ernie in the gut only Ernie had a
metal tray in his shirt. Turk’s

shank bounced right off him and
Ernie pulled his stuff out and of

course Turk didn’t have a tray and
caught it dead in the chest, a bad

one, and the blood tha tcame to his
lips was a bright pink, lung blood

and he just laid down in the grass
and said Shit. Fuck it. Sheeit.

Fuck it. And he laughed a soft long
laugh, 5 minutes, then died. Now

what could consonance or assonance or
even rhyme do with something like that?


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