bemusing musings of a bewildered brush-wielder

walls r klosing, and light

Speedy, pencil on bristol paper, 18″ x 24″

Out in Riverhead, today, I worked on Speedy’s drawing.  When asked by one of the inmates, I actually forgot how long I spent on this drawing.  Speedy said “As of right now, spread out over all of the days, we’ve spent seventy minutes.  I’m keeping track.”  So there it is.

Last time I was in the jail, I brought in a plaster copy from the statue of the Laocoon Group, a marble piece created in Rhodes, Greece, in 25 BC.  One young guy from the group, Philip, came forward to work on the drawing.  Covered with tattoos, from his neck down to his knuckles, he steadily worked away on the drawing, and did a beautiful sketch of the statue.  It was very impressive, and showed a real talent.  This week, Philip approached me with a portfolio.  Inside were a dozen drawings- beautiful works, very subtle and calligraphic.  Through symbolism, he was telling the story of his life.  The work had a graffiti quality, melded together with realism.  I was very impressed, and I told him so.  When we had a spare moment in the day, Sargent Fischer told me that there’s been a real change in Philip.  He’s always getting into trouble on the floor, and oftentimes displays a real frustration.  But the past two weeks, he hasn’t gotten into any trouble- he’s disappeared into his cell, and worked on these drawings for hours and hours.  Sargent Fischer said that, perhaps, the best thing is Philip’s sense of accomplishment with these drawings- which is well deserved.  He is proud of something that he has worked for.  She said that many of these guys have never known what it is to work for something, to achieve.

After I was done working on Speedy’s drawing, a young, quiet black man got up to read a poem aloud, which he had scribbled a notebook in his cell earlier that week.  I had a copy of it run off, and have reproduced it exactly as it was written.

Walls R Klosing

I swear these walls are closing in on me,

They’ve passed my skin & now I kan’t breathe

They’ve boxed in my larynx & now I kant speak

They’ve choked my throat & now I’m too weak

The space to grow is obsolete, I can’t focus

Never before was I scared of bein klaustrophobic

I wish I had a wish, fuck- 3, I don’t care

With closure like this, all a man needs is air.

I kant move, I kant grow, I kant speak

I kant see, yet this prison seems to

grow from within like a cancer deep inside of me.

Why’s this happening, what’s the kaws, who’s 2 believe?

I’d ask you 4 answers, but I fear for you its the same.

Sanity is slipping my grasp but to some its just a game

This seems to come with the koncept of

a number replacing your name

I feel erratic and ecstatic, but I’m compulsive

and asthmatic

Why so jovial on a dull tip, if I’m depressive

& impulsive

I feel like exploding, dying a death unpleasantly

revolting

But I’ll take that any day if it stops the walls from

closing

– by Antsy Dolce

 

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One response

  1. kittie

    The poem is heartbreaking. Yes, these men are convicted felons, yes punishment is required, but at what expense for such a lengthy sentence. Some need physcological help, who among us does not need help? Yes they need socialization, who among us does not annoy others? This man has needs that the art program obviously is addressing, allowing him to open if ever so slightly. On the other hand is the Sargeant in charge, who is sensitive and recognizes differences in these men and CARES. Thank you Kevin.

    April 16, 2011 at 6:25 am

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