Photo by Viktor Mogilat on Unsplash

I Didn’t Even Try

Because I’m not Black
my cellie thought it safe to share his opinions of
N*s.

Because I pass for straight
my cellie thought it okay to share his views of
Faggots.

Because I was watching CNN
my cellie thought it okay to share his beliefs about
Fake News.

You can’t fix stupid,
so I didn’t even try.

I’m glad he went home today.

Powerless

I woke suddenly
gasping for breath
shocked awake
by the sound of silence

the stillness was deafening
squatting awkwardly out of place
like a pork chop in a synagogue
Shhhhhh …

missing the eternally steady thrum of my fan
gone the reassuring red glow of my digital clock
absent the tell-tale signs of chaos —

power outage in prison.
magical, beautiful, peaceful
short-lived.

a BANG startles the silence away as
the fan slowly resumes its duties
my clock faithfully flashes 12:00
and our muted misery
returns to full volume.

Disclaimer: The views in this article are those of the author. Prison Journalism Project has verified the writer’s identity and basic facts such as the names of institutions mentioned.

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Matthew Feeney

Matthew Feeney is a writer and poet, who has won awards from PEN America and the League of Minnesota Poets. Matthew’s writing has appeared in journals and anthologies, including “The Analog Sea Review,” “The Pinyon Review,” and “Evening Street Review.” Three of his poems were performed live at the 2019 World Voices Festival in New York City. Matthew is incarcerated in Minnesota.