JOHN GREY : The Prisoner in Cell Block Thirty-five
ANNE M. HUDSON : Relearning How to Talk
RICHARD FEIN : Old-Fashioned Dance Band
POETRYREPAIRS v12.11:129
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All the fine arts are species of poetry--Samuel Taylor Coleridge



[Cell block is an interesting and novel take on the issue of long term illness. Its vivid images carry through the poem. JH)

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The Prisoner in Cell Block Thirty-five Relearning How to Talk Old-Fashioned Dance Band  
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JOHN GREY
The Prisoner in Cell Block Thirty-five
And here you are, imprisoned in your body, those limbs, the weakest bars on record and still there is no squeezing them open, no breaking down the door of flesh, so you can be back with us. That disease has more names, more theories, than a history of the universe, and such a warden, patrolling your breath, slapping its truncheon against your heart to see who can rack up the most beats. You lie there in your Sing Sing bed, head on Alcatraz pillow, even the long brown hair that's cradled by your brow is Leavenworth. The doctors say you're a lifer.
POETRYREPAIRS 12.11:129
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I have many things to write unto you but   I will not write with pen and ink
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The Prisoner in Cell Block Thirty-five Relearning How to Talk Old-Fashioned Dance Band  
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ANNE M. HUDSON
Relearning How to Talk
Concentrate now on each syllable, in particular the ancient syllables that invoke the dawn; the ritual speech that spooled off your tongue almost indolently, like a ribbon flapping luxuriantly in the breeze now sticks in your throat; your tongue is tied. That familiar talk will no longer do, much of it memorized half a lifetime ago. Voices from the back of the head, deep in the chest, formerly ignored or suppressed now clamor to be heard. New ways of talking must be invented, fresh replies. I relearn how to talk to myself.
POETRYREPAIRS 12.11: 129
Poetry endangers the established order  of the soul - Plato





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The Prisoner in Cell Block Thirty-five Relearning How to Talk Old-Fashioned Dance Band  
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RICHARD FEIN
Old-Fashioned Dance Band
Why doesn't the band just dance to its own music? Doesn't the rhythm yank the drummer from his drums? Doesn't the stomping fiddler want to tapdance? Doesn't the flutist want to swing a partner? The dancers must stop if the players dance. But the players can dance to the music in their heads. It's their vocation. Their brains are their instruments, the instruments themselves merely accessories. But for the dancers, this Friday-night dance is an avocation, a time to step lively after a work-a-day trudge, and fly to the music of fiddler, flute, and drum. Do the players play only for cash, each night reigning in their feet, reducing improvision to routine, and making music a weekend drudgery? No, it's more than the cash, for this trio can also dance in their heads to the music they actually play. And in their heads their feet can fly, while their craft disciplines their hands. What else keeps the music going? Perhaps it's what happens when the playing stops, when the hyped-up audience screams encore, and the drummer again picks up his sticks, and the fiddler his bow, and the flutist brings the reed to his lips, as once more with skillful fingers they play their ultimate instrument- those clerks, accountants, and office managers dancing with feet blurred in ecstacy.
POETRYREPAIRS 12.11: 129
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JOHN GREY : The Prisoner in Cell Block Thirty-five
ANNE M. HUDSON : Relearning How to Talk
RICHARD FEIN : Old-Fashioned Dance Band
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