Killer Poetry

Posted: November 13, 2012 in Poetry
Tags: , , , , ,

Back when I was researching the depravity of the human condition, I ran into a very unusual character. This character was also incarcerated in the same institution that I was being held in at the time. Before I get to the meat of this bone, allow me to provide a few details first.

The inmate that this story is about will be called X. The reason for this is to protect the feelings of the victim’s family and I don’t want any part of getting X exposure. When they brought inmate X into the solitary cellblock I did not know who he was or what he had done to get thrown in jail. He just looked like another weird whiteboy with a checker board pattern shaved on his head. Understand, the solitary cell block serves either one of two purposes. The first, is to house the violent and uncontrollable, and the second reason is for inmates that have to be put under suicide watch. I had gotten into a fist fight earlier in the week. At the time of X’s arrival I had another nine days before I was to be released from solitary.

X was a very disruptive man. He screamed and kicked at the guards when they brought him his food. He screamed and kicked when they made him take a shower. He screamed and kicked when they would let him out to make a phone call. He screamed and kicked when they wouldn’t let him make a phone call. You get the point. He was being held in the Trumbul County Jail for manslaughter charges. This is a jail that is used to housing people for mostly petty offenses. Stuff like not paying fines or a missed appointment with the probation officer. Nevermind the crazy haircut, the murder charge along with the media circus that traveled with him made inmate X a potential security risk. Hence, his designation to solitary confinement. He started acting loopy upon his arrival to solitary. Many thought he was setting the stage for the insanity plea he would try to enter further down the road in the court. The crazier he got, the closer they came to putting him on suicide watch. The corrections officers finally cracked on the second day. They made him relinquish his jumpsuit and his sheets. He was left butt-naked in an empty cell. My cell was right above X’s. Our vents were directly connected. I would hear X in the middle of the night, singing one religious hymn after another. My vent just amplified this singing and let’s just say that X didn’t have the voice of the angel. After hours of this torment, his singing finally drove me into a rage. I knelt down to my vent and began shouting obscenities at X. He stopped yelling and said nothing in response. I sat by that vent for an hour. He did not yell back, but after awhile, all I could hear coming from his cell was his weeping. This tossed me for a loop so I backed off and laid on my rack in deep thought. Over the course of the next three days, X and I started talking a lot through the vents. He wanted to learn more about the Bible. I told him that he was in luck because I almost obtained a degree with Theology as my minor. So at night he would read the Bible up to a point he no longer understood. He would then yell the verse up through the vents so I could give him my interpretations. The guards eventually told me the crime X had committed. They called it the most severe case of domestic abuse in the history of Ohio. I can’t say much about the details of the murder without giving it away. But I can tell you that he bludgeoned a woman to death. X told me he loved her. He said he heard voices telling him to smash in her head. He said that she was leaving him for a guy that had a good job. I had no problems with X, but he had some serious issues.

The last night of my solitary confinement was a quite one until I was awoke by screaming and a thumping on the wall. The commotion was emitting from the room below me. By the time I could get up and approach my door window, everything was already over with. A couple inmates, who were also awakened by the fracas, were standing -like me- looking out their widow. I caught the attention of Jack by jumping up and down and waving my hands. Jack looked over at me from his cell. I held my hands up and half shrugged. Jack understood. Jack took his index finger to his temple and began spinning it in circles. I immediately inferred that he was referring to crazy X. When I stepped away from the door my foot kicked a single piece of notebook paper. On this piece of paper were a couple of notes addressed to me and a poem called “The Final Chapter”. I guess this was a part of the plan that he had set into motion earlier that day. I read the poem and wasn’t very impressed at first. The next day I got the “skinny” from a C.O. I guess X just went berserk, saying was hearing voices and they were telling him to hurt himself and to hurt others. After an hour of this, the warden decided it would be prudent to move X to the locked down medical unit on another floor. No other inmate would receive this kind of attentive treatment. But X had become quite the high profile case as of late. Before he left for the hospital he asked if he could slide the poem under my door while I was asleep. They would not allow this, but he did manage to persuade one of the trustees to do it for him. When they finally came to get X, I guess he just started freaking out. I never saw X again. When he returned from the mental ward I was back in general population. I tucked the poem away with all my writings and forgot about it.

Fast forward 3-4 years: I was digging through the “rat’s nest”, my affectionate pet name for the unruly mass of papers and notebooks of my writings that I’ve collected for years. You writers know what I’m talking about. Anyway, I decided to thin out the nest the other day. I hoped to uncover some piece that I could further develop. After a little of this and a little of that, I ran across the poem. I read it again. But I really read it this time. Poetry is an interesting thing. Emotive poetry can give you profound insight into the mind and feelings of the Poet that authored it. So I read it once again with this in mind. I read it with the knowledge of this guys state of mind; what he had done, what he will face for what he had done, and the environment he was experiencing at the time of its inception. Its something. Moments like this are important for art, because it gives us a dynamic example of the relativity between life and art. I did not alter this piece in any way, except for a few spelling corrections.

I did some follow up research on his case. He was found guilty of aggravated murder and gross abuse of a corpse. He was given a life sentence and is eligible for parole in twenty years.

The Final Chapter

The room is illuminated by a single candle

The flame is reflected off this chrome handle

Perhaps I’m a victim of too many memories

One life ripped apart by cold tragedies

My soul knows no peace

Tortured by the demons as I sleep

Nightmares now own what’s in my chest

The dark shadows of life allow no rest

No one could ever understand

I can take no more I’m only a man

The past is a collection of forgotten minutes

I see the world a better place without me in it

So I pop the clip and slowly pull it

The chamber is home to only one bullet

Understand that I fear life more than death

I close my eyes and take my last breath

I clear my mind

Forgive me father for it is time

A small smile cracks my serious expression

Finger now on the trigger and then…

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