“Pocket Full of Violet” and Other New Poems by “Conway”


My prison pen pal “Conway” continues to make great strides in his poetry and artwork. As I mentioned in last month’s post, conditions have improved at his new location, where he has a job in the library and access to colored pencils and a typewriter. I hope to reproduce some of his drawings here soon. He often picks up themes from the classics he has been reading and reworks them in a voice that’s all his own. He sent me these poems after reading T.S. Eliot’s “The Waste Land”. I heard some echoes of Eliot’s closing section (“What the thunder said”) in the first poem below.

In his July 17 letter, Conway writes,

“…The other day while going through work change (strip search) the lady (if you wanna call her that!) searched my lunch (state issue baloney, apple, bread & mustard) well I had put a scooter pie inside the bag, I had purchased from canteen — she said I was not allowed to have it, who knows what (security risk) this would present, ‘the great marshmallow pie war’ so I ate it, you know, destroyed the evidence, literally….

“OK now on to bad news, they shot me down Calif Supreme Court on my writ of Habeas Corpus. So now I must file in Federal court. The basis for the appeal is #1 violation of contract (plea agreement) being as there was no mention of 3 strikes law in original plea bargain in 1987 that if I was arrested for non serious crime I would receive life in prison. I have good federal case law that confirms my argument plus the due process doctrines. It’s hard to get anyone’s ear on this stuff, though. Everyone is so caught up in their own drama they could care less about all the people stuck in here on an illegal law, as long as they have their big screen TV and what-nots….”

From July 26:

“I’ve been going to work almost every day since I got assigned to Vocational Education Clerk. So not much to blabber about, except last Saturday we had a yard down incident (upper yard) I’m lower yard, but they make us all prone out on our belly when they answer an alarm. Any rage, it was 109 degrees and I had my shirt off yard shorts on and was walking the concrete track with a buddy, so we belly crawl off the blazin hot concrete (stayin low) over to the grass field in the center of yard and, were obviously lookin to see who got got, so to speak, and I noticed that the grass was itching real bad, and thinkin it had just been a long time since I laid in the grass, I commented to my buddy “man this grass itches” about that time he looks over at me and says “Dude you got Ants all over you” Sure as heck I’d laid myself smack dab on an ant hole, so we slow crawled sideways and I brushed the critters off me, feelin like the interloper. Crazy huh? I know an Ant can’t move a rubber tree plant, but they sure moved me 🙂  “

Pocket Full of Violet

What love can clutch me
will remain forever, sheltered inside
the refuge of this stone heart
among a lazy river of stars
rising to meet my eyes awake
searching this endless silence
waiting for a break, carefully.

Chances & chains connect our soul
with so many sighs undone, reflecting
glittering like glass marbles
framed in stone and drowned by tears
shuffled savagely by foul years.
Broken fingers of the wind
departed softly unheard, and wept
swept through a lost window
behind another dull evening moon
bringing the bright kite
with a pocket full of violet
waiting beyon this wall
heavy on my heart
promising a new start
in an empty chapel
built by the lean,
mean and broken, spider’ web.

I sat alone in the pew
behind myself, daring my heart
to turn the key and cope
pierce this fierce dark with hope…



A spider hurls his rope up high
into an invisible windless sky.
His silk flag floats down
spinning a sticky town.

He laced up a Butterfly begging to be free
he swallowed her, but won’t feast on me
I wave my middle finger, curse & mock
he smiles and points at his key to my lock.

Someday, he motions, but not just yet
I wonder, do spiders ever regret
forget the paralyzed pleas of their prey
cursing the web, his bite, this Day…


Little Brick 

This little brick went to prison
that little brick went home
that little brick went missin’
this little brick’s on his own
that little brick the cops hassle
put the little brick back in jail
built a little brick road & a castle
brick by brick straight to hell…


The Gavel

When the Gavel came down it glistened
   should’ve splintered from the sound
echoing in my mind, still shaking the ground
   no one else heard but I listened…

When the gavel came down I bled
   while my family mourns, I’m alive still cold
buried in concrete on steel shelf
   filed away, story untold

When the gavel came down
   we all shut the book on life, in this scene
a library of lost souls
and everywhere in-between

Then the gavel spoke, deafened
   I started to choke, lost my mind
for all life to spend
   in this library of prison, when
the gavel gave its final decision…


One comment on ““Pocket Full of Violet” and Other New Poems by “Conway”

  1. Mattie says:

    That’s a mold-breaker. Great tihkning!

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