My poem, “Imprisoned,” is up at Claudius Speaks

Thank you to the editors at Claudius Speaks Journal for including my poem, “Imprisoned,” in their themed issue (IV), Flight! You can read this poem in full as it appears in my forthcoming chapbook, THIS BEING DONE (Finishing Line Press), below:

lock-and-key

Imprisoned

Now is not the time
for my fettered    titanium lines—

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 doing life for murder
petitioned my psychotherapist friend to treat him:

& so it was that with all the 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 wrinkly little walnut meats to pupate belief
in the virtue of counting the hours

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

STEPHANIE L. HARPER

 

15 thoughts on “My poem, “Imprisoned,” is up at Claudius Speaks

  1. Powerful poem, Stephanie! And interesting – different layouts and occasional word/phrase changes between the journal and this site. Which version is in your book?

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Thank you, Lynne! The journal’s version is an earlier draft of the poem. This one (above) is the current version (since about March 2017) that’s included in the book. I did ask CS if they would consider posting the revision, but I never received a response. I’m actually surprised they took the “less-marinated” version in the first place… The poetry biz is an enigma.

    Liked by 2 people

  3. Wow. Powerful, powerful poem. That little parable in stanzas three and four and abject and frightening lesson. I wonder, though, why I am so strongly drawn to a little moralizing of a kind that doesn’t seem at all idle to me: Careful when that dragon comes out to play. Dragons can do a lot of damage.

    Liked by 1 person

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