To hear you, you’d think prison
were a regular ball--no chain--
every sentence one long pun, a timely
punch line, a riddle so clever its answer
amuses for years on end, at least a chuckle.
And not that prison isn’t the most hilarious
sight gag stops me. It’s your jokes.
Whatever I try to tell you,
you’re laying jokes ahead of me,
and I crash right into them.
It’s not that I want to weight levity
or lug the lugubrious into us,
but I do want to talk--
I said I’m trying to talk--I said,
I am trying to talk to you about prison.
Diane Kendig has authored three chapbooks, most
recently Greatest Hits, 1978-2000 (Pudding House).
Her poetry and prose have appeared in over a hundred
journals, currently in the online journals Babel
Fruit, Poemeleon, and Umbrella, as well as anthologies
such as Letters to the World and Those Winter Sundays:
Female Academics and their Working-Class Parents.
Writing here in Thanalonline reflects her interest
in poetry workshops for the public, one of which
she facilitated for over 18 years in a medium security
prison, along with workshops in public schools and
a national park. A translator, she was a Fulbright
lecturer in translation for a year in Nicaragua,
where she has returned to conduct workshops in prison
and neighborhood centers. She currently lives in
Lynn, Massachusetts with her partner of 22 years,
Paul Beauvais. Her website is http://dianekendig.com/