A Poem From Anonymous

After a little philosophical difference of opinion between myself and the powers that be I found myself spending Thanksgiving Day and Christmas in the “Graybar Hotel”. Holiday time in the big house is an unusual experience, at least for me, but it’s not all gloom and doom as quite a few guys try to make the best of it and have a little holiday cheer. I wrote this poem on Christmas Eve perhaps as a slight antidote to my slightly less than cheery environment.
The vernacular of the poem would be familiar to any prisoner but may bear some translation to the uninitiated. Here is a glossary of terms in the poem that clearly is inspired by Clement Clarke Moore’s “Visit From St. Nicholas”

“Pod”: A prison housing unit with about fifty bunks and an open row of toilets.
“Offenders”: Guards call all prisoners “offender”.
“Domino slammers”: Prisoners who loudly slam domino tiles on the tabletop into the wee hours.
“Racks”: The thin metal bunks stacked two high.
“Last count”: Guards count prisoners several times a day to detect escapees.
“Pastries and Fruit Sticks”: Popular snack items from the prison commissary. Convicts can form a line once a week to purchase a limited amount from the prison “store” window from their offender account.
“Ear plugs and dew rags”: Often worn while sleeping.
“Trippin’”: Generally freaking out or causing a commotion.
“Ol’ School”: Any inmate over the age of 45 is considered elderly and referred to as “Old School”.
“Lay in” : Written permission slip for movement within the unit.
“Out of Place”: Punishable offense for not having a “lay in”
“Hit a lick”: Street gang lingo for committing a robbery.
“Gray Blanket” Coarse prison issue blanket.
“5X Orange Jumper” The largest prison issue attire.
“Gangsta sag”: Sagging pants favored by gang members.
“Big Store”: When you spend your limit at the commissary.
“Hol’ de Doe”: Literally “Hold the door” Metal doors slam shut and cause delay in a line of moving offenders until the camera guards buzz you through.
“Square Bidness”: Street and prison slang for “That’s the truth!”
“Lemme fine out”: Let me find out. Roughly similar to “Don’t tell me” As in “Lemme fine out you ripped off some onions from the chow hall and didn’t give me any!”

“A Convict’s Night Before Christmas.” By #1658022

‘Twas the night before Christmas and all through the pod
no offenders were movin’ and man that was odd.
The dudes were all passed out, just flat on their backs
even domino slammers had gone to their racks.
The T.V.s were off, no bro gave a shout.
It was after last count, it was after lights out.
All of these cats man, they dreamed of their homes.
Flashbacks of pastries knocked around in their domes.
Wid’ my ear plugs plugged in and my dew rag on
I had just kicked on back and was almost gone.
When all of a sudden I heard a dude call
this sucka was trippin’ out in the hall.
The tank door creaks open and in struts Ol’ School
totin’ a sack and acting the fool.
“Rack time is quiet time!” I sez wid a frown.
He kept laughin’ and jivin’ and playin’ the clown.
He ain’t got no lay in, this fool’s out of place.
I almost jumped up and got in his face!
He sez “Chill Bro! Didn’t mean to be scary
but I just hit a lick on the whole commissary!”
He had turned his gray blanket into a stash bag
and his 5X orange jumper rocked a full gangsta sag.
With red cheeks an’ white hair he was built kinda’ thick
He slapped me some skin sayin’ “Jes call me Nick!”
He tiptoed around and stopped at each rack
passin’ out goodies he had in his sack.
He tossed around pastries and fruit sticks and more.
Ol’ School was a rollin’ like he’d just made big store!
I just rubbed at my eyes like not believin’
this cat didn’t rip off, it was stuff he was leavin’!
Just as fast as he got here I saw big boy go.
I was runnin’ behind yellin’ out, “Hol’ de Doe!”
Square bidness he split like some magic trick
Lemme fine out I’d just met Ol’ St. Nick!
I heard this dude call as he went down the hall
“Merry Christmas my home boys,
I’ll holler at ya’all!”

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10 Responses to “A Poem From Anonymous”

  1. It’s close to 100 degrees here in Richmond today…and this poem has me chillin’.

  2. corndoggie Says:

    WDL (Well done, lad). Clever and enjoyable.

  3. corndoggie Says:

    Good to see you didn’t shelve your sense of humor for the duration.

  4. Anonymous Says:

    We got you beat up in Novosibirks: 103 yesterday (finally melting the last of the big ice pile in the Sears parking lot in St. Paul).

    Lemme fine out that’s a damn fine pome.

    This is jude/judd, btw, in case it comes up anonymous.

  5. Anonymous Says:

    Why din’t my pvs comment post?

  6. boatdog Says:

    A very fine poem. I’d love to hear it narrated by Burle Ives’ ghost with a slide show visual of scenes shot by the home town teams with “Wayne the Farmhand” lighting and mood.

  7. Anonymous Says:

    My dad had a carotid endarterectomy done at about when he was 90 that caused him to go mad. Sure it prevented him from having a stroke, but the last years of his life weren’t a quality I’d recommend. They got him somewhat adjusted with drugs but I’ll never forget visiting him in Westbrook and telling him “jeez if you live long enough who would have thought you would have to endure going insane”, as the more severe looney tunes danced around him.

    This poem is a wonderful example of making lemonade from lemons. WDL!!!

  8. corndoggie Says:

    A. Read this last night — made her giggle. She, too, is glad about the sense of humor.

  9. Twimagic Says:

    Post it on twimagination.com please.

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