Letter #18 from UPIII



JVA Köln, 23rd June 2018 – edited 24th June 2018

Prison Poetry #1


welcome to prison
where you can shower twice a week
and listen to others comment
on how you should shave
the parts of you
only a lover might see
“I’m already treated like a child”, I say
“I don’t want to look like one too”

there’s parts of animals in all my food
except the potatoes rice, bread and soup
but questionable vegetable slosh that smells of salty ripe sweat
overboiled potatoes that ooze water at a poke
stale bread which makes you bloated and gassy
and rice so oily Trump might just invade
makes meals feel like a game of “would you rather?”
leaving me hoping the shopping arrives soon
so I don’t have to pick up my cutlery and play

vegan for me isn’t something I can negotiate
not anymore
each drop of milk a baby crying out for their mother
suckling the fingers of slaughterhouse workers
right before they pull the trigger

every egg, a baby born a “worthless” boy
ground alive or gassed
snuffed out by the millions, billions, trillions
all because some faceless human
wanted them born a daughter instead

a piece of meat was once a life
forcibly taken
I’ve heard those helpless, screams
seen the fear in those eyes
touched those faces begging for mercy
given the only act of kindness they probably ever knew
and all I could do was mumble a feeble
“I’m so sorry, we’re trying
I wish I could save you”

yet I am told
“we do not accommodate your request”
since when is it “impossible”
to give me eggless pasta
I already ear the rice most times (after I wash away the oil)
I’m not brave enough for the potatoes
but perhaps just a piece of fruit?

The cheapest basics are vegan
I’m not asking for a damn smoothie bowl
or chia pudding, zucchini noodles or seitan slab
just something simple to fill the gap

noodles and tomato paste
rice, peas and corn
I might even try the potatoes
if there was a side of sauce
that didn’t solidify into a brick
ten minutes after I open the tray

a minimum of twenty hours alone
in a shoebox with a window
dusty off – white walls
army grade bed, a desk, a toilet
sleeping on a “mattress” of seven centimeters yellowed foam
for fourteen weeks now
I’ve been forced to call this space “home”

to break up the “loneliness” I get an hour outside
“Freistunde” in the house courtyard
where we huddle in the shade of a nearby building
because there’s not a single tree inside
that looming, echoing, grey, depressing wall
reminding us where we are spending our lives

we live on the world
instead of in it
what is going on beyond what we can see?
how are our friends, and those we choose to call family?

lastly there are the other three
hours I can spend in another’s cell
if I so choose to go, I prefer not to have others in my own
“Umschluss” or whatever
honestly? I’d rather be left alone

I have friends, sure
but I don’t fit in, not really
my clothes don’t match (and I don’t care)
and the way I speak is strange
only ‘cause I’m not from around here

I enjoy my own company
but somehow that’s ‘not alright’
“do you want to talk about it?”
no really, I’m totally fine

every letter of mine feels the same
“I’m still here, but I’m doing okay”
am I though?
I’m not even sure these days

a friend here likes to tell me
“they may have trapped you body
but they cannot control your brain”
so as long as I remember all of you
I can push away the bad shit and keep it at bay

I’ve got a TV now
and shopping arrives Wednesday
German lessons on Tuesdays
with a visit usually Thursday

each week I count down to Friday
another seven days passed
then I count to Monday
maybe good news at least?

March, April, May, June and soon July
at first I resisted the time passing
but now it washes over me
It’s Sunday already?
What happened to the week?

I’m not sure who I am now
or who I’ll be when I go free
how strange it feels
that I’m still signing “UP”

I’ve had my birthday
also missed my best friend’s
and to a person I met in the forest
I hope you had a good one too
how are you feeling about being twenty two?

“soon, soon,
it can’t be long now”
There’s a light at the end of the tunnel
I just have to keep holding out

will it be a few weeks
or a month, maybe two?
September will make six
half a year with bars on my window

I’ve spent a season in prison
from snow to sweltering heat
watched a duckling family grow
babies to adults in eight weeks

somehow it feels like I’ve been here forever
though not at the same time
I can’t even remember what it is like
not knowing the daily prison grind

what is it like there in freedom?
being able to go wherever you please
and not having to ask
if your “Antrag” was received

I think I miss the “little things” the most
fresh fruit, a hot cup of ginger tea
walking more then from A to B
cell to class, or to a visit and back
six steps in the cell
the lack of “real” exercise is taking affect

I’m always tires
so I try to sleep the time away
but now I think it is more than physical exhaustion
my soul is burning out
from the same shit
day, after day, after day

“be strong” say my letters
“we’re with you all the way”
thank you for having my back
and telling me that no matter what you’ll show solidarity
it means more than I could ever express
I want you to know, too,
that I’m not going to stop fighting, not now, not any day

so this is for us, for our passion, our love
and for a future that’s not full of gas masks and dust


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