by Curt Stubbs
I was arrested in the neon high sun
by a rookie policeman who said he didn’t
know poetry. He and his old lady read
best sellers, he said, when they read at all.
He told me if I didn’t quit screaming verses
at him things would go hard on me and then he
banged my head on the door jamb of his squad car.
I stood there stupid with a mouth full of words
and no one I could say them to.
I was arraigned in a room where the walls were stained gray
by the lives of the ones who’d been arraigned there before me.
The back of the bench in front of me had teeth marks,
a full set, where someone else had bit back their words
when they found out the judge didn’t know poetry either.
The judge said his name was Stud Poker and he didn’t
tolerate laughter when justice was being dealt out.
I was found guilty by a jury who also didn’t
know poetry but still thought they were my peers.
The foreman was a trim black woman who wore
haute couture fashion but still thought poetry
wasn’t being written these days. She said the last
of the poets died before this country was born.
She didn’t know that poetry is not written but lived.
I was sentanced to confinement in a single cell,
and to have my eyes blinded, my hands shackled,
and my mind laundered. Judge Poker thanked the jury
and said I had been dealt a fair justice for my crimes.
My mother shed tears and begged him for mercy, but
what does she know about poetry anyway?
3880 N. Park Ave. #A
Tucson, Arizona 85719