Imprisoned

dungeon

Now is not the time for my fettered lines’
titanium self-importance

Now is no time for me to claim
I know a thing or two about life
as if I were anyone’s keeper…

A “suicidally depressed” convict
serving a life sentence for murder
petitioned my psychotherapist friend to treat him:

& so it was that with all the affect of detached generosity
a wife & mother of three could muster     she rendered
a diagnosis of anti-social personality disorder
even as his icy eyes ignited in her a germ of lust
that razed every trace of her in a sudden flush

Now is really not the time for idle moralizing
about prisoners     or locks & keys     as if
there were any kind of justice in poetry

It’s not the time for tying up loose ends
saving pennies for rainy days     or chrysalizing
our little     wrinkly walnut meats
of pupating cells so they can burgeon belief
in the virtue of counting the hours…

Now     the dragon is awake     blinking
in the vacant daylight of withering dreams
wagging her head in a gnashing rage

STEPHANIE L. HARPER

lock-and-key

 

11 thoughts on “Imprisoned

  1. the subtlety of the end rhymes in the quintain beginning ‘& so it was’… ‘genERosity / rendERed / disorder & lust / flush— put me in mind of how Simon Armitage approaches rhyme. i’ve been trying to uses words, usually polysyllabic that rhyme with more than one mono-syllable as an end rhyme, the result are subtle, but really interesting fore example take the word ‘release’ i find rhymes in ‘least’, ‘leap’ ‘lean’ & any word ending in -er, a sort of mirror rhyme.

    Liked by 2 people

    • I do write deliberately with an ear for such prosodic elements as those you’ve pointed out in this piece. Interestingly, for me, consonance and assonance seem to happen as a natural byproduct of the poem’s mood, which I more often than not end up needing to tone down quite a bit. There can be too much of a good thing… I am heartened by your use of the word, “subtlety” here. 😃

      Liked by 2 people

      • only a very special poet, Manley Hopkins comes to mind, can get away with too much of that good thing, but otherwise the poet runs the risk of writing a parody of a poem they may not even know.
        i steered off music for a while, but reading Simon Armitage & Derek Walcott as i have been lately has reawakened my interest again for the heartened subtlety that is possible with it, if you tread confident yet cautiously into its territory. .

        Liked by 2 people

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