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Tiered cell block at Alcatraz
Photo by Geoff Livingston (CC BY-NC-ND 2.0)

Go to your cell and lock it up.
But my cellie taking a shit.
I don’t give a fuck,
you can wipe him when he finishes.

You got misconduct —
how do you plead?
Innocent …
You’re guilty.
I believe my officer.

Your guards made lewd comments towards me.
File a PREA against them.
Now turn around and cuff up;
you’re going to the hole.

You can’t be trusted, you’re wearing brown.
But I didn’t do it.
So what?
You’re a convict now.

I can’t get up in the morning ’cause I have a sleep disorder.
You shouldn’t have come to prison.

My cellie and I don’t get along;
can you make a move?
Beat his ass and you’ll be in a new cell by noon.

If you need to talk, send a request slip.
But I’ve sent you five.
Well, I didn’t get shit.

My aunt died; can I make a call?
It wasn’t your mother —
not at all.

You ask for information but I won’t tell,
and because of that I’m living in hell.

I asked to use the phone and you said they were full,
But now I see three open and you let him out before me.
Well, give us some info and you’ll get pulled.

You said showers are done,
then let him jump in one,
but when it comes to me,
I have to rinse and run.

Search and seizure — you wait outside, eager,
then trash my cell and break my TV speakers.

I know who you are and why you do this;
you had it bad in school, so at work you’re ruthless.

I don’t need to be reminded of who I am and where I stand.
Just remember, if you see me on the outside,
don’t try to shake my hand.

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.

Gregory “Royal” Fann is a writer incarcerated in Pennsylvania.