New Poems by Conway: “Chill” and “Meditation Room”

My pen pal “Conway”, who is serving 25-to-life in California for receiving stolen goods, returns this month with two striking new poems. He writes that “Meditation Room” was composed during a recent stretch in solitary confinement.


Prisoners of lost sands
swing upon a string
of pearls becoming strands.
Remnants of time;
Like: Cheap laundry,
strung up on the line;
to chafe in the weather…

The Sun has blinked
His suspicious eye
once again–
darkness falls on all…

That heavy piss-stained kiss
was unable to fend off
the wind’s bite
and its whistle, cold embrace,
greedy fingers
frostier than jealousy…

While mountains drift away
from these windblown years
our sandbottles treasure
contains an epic measure…

In this moment
that last breath
or, first draft inhaled
when time accelled
before you and I laughed
then a cry expelled…

In this noiseless silence
that could wake concrete
the quiet was complete
it would take only a whisper
to break this spell;
But me
I’d like to yell…


Meditation Room
-Yoga 101-

There’s no place like–
Here, in the meditation Rooms
we are on our–

Relax, set aside your thoughts for a moment
adjust to the surrounding sounds.
The breeze flows over your body
at an abnormal velocity, all day
all night, it whispers, with the same exacting force.

Let this sound comfort your mind
it will not change–
it is there to fill your Lungs desire.
Now, tune into the jingling bell notes
of brass keys, chains on hips
as they Rhythmically flow into your vibrating eardrums
then calmly fade away (isn’t this serene)

Think warm happy thoughts, as
the cold Concrete walls, caress
your sense of claustrophobia.
No need to panic, it will do no-good
you’re not imagining this paranoia
you are Dead-locked inside, from the outside.

There is No-way
that you can open the thick solid steel doors.
Even in your wildest of dreams.
So, maintain my fellow prisoners;
Embrace your incarceration.
Enjoy the solitude of this tomb
            inside your Meditation Room.

6 comments on “New Poems by Conway: “Chill” and “Meditation Room”

  1. Steve says:

    As usual, I’m blown away by some of Conway’s images, and the thought of where and how these were composed. I’m grateful that you are an audience for him, and that you them project his work out to the rest of us. Does he know of this? I assume you’ve told him, and possibly shared the comments?

    Meditation Room -Yoga 101- has a lot going on… I am delighted with the craftsmanship. I wonder what it would be like to read it if you did NOT know it was composed in solitary. Would there appear to be more metaphors (instead of realities transcending, in the mind of the poet, into metaphors)? OR are the metaphors so concrete that anyone would guess they’d been written sealed up in steel and stone?

    I regret he’s there, but not what he’s creating from it. He’s building powerful things from his pain. This is another way we are made in God’s image.

  2. love the poetry, as a deaf poet, this means alot to my writing and language culture…

  3. Jendi Reiter says:

    Thanks for your positive response! I’ll pass it on to him in my next letter, and I know it will give him a lot of encouragement. He is glad to have his work published on the blog, and only asked that it appear under a pseudonym because the prison staff can be vindictive. We are seeking a publisher for his chapbook, in fact, and I am puzzling over an appropriate way to include his personal history in the manuscript without violating the anonymity rules that most contests have. While the best of his work does stand alone, the context does seem like an important element of appreciating the poem.

  4. Patricia Henry says:

    I would like to help to get my brothers poetry & works published besides getting working with him on a for concept of dolls ( with story books )

  5. I have added to my favorites, good work

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  6. Parabal says:

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