Saturday, October 13, 2012

Breaking the Silence


Poetry has always spoken to my heart, to my spirit. I imagine that is why I often turn to the Psalms for consolation.

The poem I have selected to share was written by an inmate in the Arizona Department of Corrections. He probably writes about the drug scene better than anyone I have ever read. He doesn't romanticize it, but spills it in words that wrench your gut and bring you to your knees. 

When released from prison, Aberg moved out of state and continued to write. Eventually he died from hepatitis - this a result of the life style he lived.

I would read this poem in the prison library to the inmate patrons. You could hear an audible in-take of air at the very end of the reading. Then the room filled with silence... reflective silence.

Our own son was sentenced to prison (again) this week. He will be serving 2.5 years, with credit for time served. 

We wish him well. This is his second time in prison. It grieves his father and I so. We will continue to pray for him. We will no longer enable him. He will receive no money from us, nor will we visit him. We told him this after the last sentence was served and he returned home. This sounds very cold to some of you, I'm sure. But this is necessary. For him. For us.

I leave you with this:

DEVOTIONS
William Aberg

It’s too easy
to describe: the match flame
charring the spoon, the blown veins,
the ravenous ghost who throws stolen
gold and gems into a lake
of pain that ripples
out in circles to everything

it loves. I remember
now, in April, the old chapel
on a hill of mountain laurel, windy
maple and oak, grass
speckled white with dogwood blossom—
There in the flickering red
                                  
scent of the votive cups,
my mother genuflects and turns to kneel
under the feet of the Virgin, slips
some coins in a box, and prays,
lighting a wick in my name, that I might find
healing, keep healthy, have enough
to eat. That I know how much

she loves me. But that I never come home again.
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Broken Hallelujah