Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Running Back Roads

He ran back roads, untraveled
highways, deserted streets, usually but
not always in the dying sun of an ebbing
afternoon. He ran to grind out, to cleanse
the smell of prison that still clung, the
metallic taste of fear, despair, anger, rage,
the gray dullness and sameness that almost
but never quite suffocated.

He ran with hope, the pounding of his
running shoes indicating, signaling
movement forward, a progression
toward escape, a desire that his sweat
would excrete the poison within, the
poison poured into him, even if he
didn’t know its intensity or direction,
only that it was.

He ran until he felt the blood replace the
sweat, red drops spotting his white
wicking nylon shirt. He ran until he
knew that the taste, the smell, was
still upon him, the poison still within.
He did not anticipate that being free
would turn prison years into
a living thing.

      --From The White Cliff Poems

Photograph: "Wyoming Wind" by Nancy Rosback. Used with permission.
To read more poems for One Shot Wednesday, visit One Shot Poetry.


SuziCate said...

I think "wow" covers it all. Love the way you tied it up "He did not anticipate that being free
would turn prison years into
a living thing."

One Stop - The Place For Poets & Writers said...

I've never been in prison but several friends who have - have conveyed the emptiness, the survival mentality. This poem conveys the sense that there is always something that remains that must be purged.

Glynn thanks for sharing this poem that evokes deep thought with One Shot

Moon gratitude for being you

Maureen said...

Glynn, did I miss that you have a collection titled "The White Cliff Poems"?

dustus said...

Firstly, interested in "The White Cliff Poems" ...If not too much trouble, please tweet the info or a link—wish to learn more.

The poem was outstanding down to the very taste of fear. Amazing detail, kind of like aluminum foil. IMHO, impressive poetry. Thanks, Glynn. Happy One Shot!

TALON said...

Running from his painful past....so wonderfully expressed.

Sandra Heska King said...

What Maureen said.

L.E. Fiore said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
L.E. Fiore said...

Oooh! I like it! Particularly the whole concept of sweating to expunge the poison...

M.L. Gallagher said...

Oh my. This is one powerful poem Glynn -- and yes, this is the second time I've read mention of the White Ciff Poems...?

Rebecca Ramsey said...

I love this. Intense, powerful, full of emotion. Wow.

Brian Miller said...

glynn, nicely done...i have worked inside a prison...only briefly but enough to knwo a few of the guys...to them, some, it does become a living thing...some never out race it...some though it makes into men...some...nice one shot!

katdish said...


That was an amazing poem.

jasons said...

Very good. Thanks Glynn.

Eric Alder said...

Interesting perspective on this - a positive quality not usually shown regarding ex-cons, very humanizing.

As Confucius wrote, "Only the wisest and stupidest of men never change."

Jeff Jordan said...

Love the intensity in this poem...and your sensitive heart.

Ben Langhinrchs said...

Traumatic episodes can visit for years after the original trauma is over, and you have evoked that sense with prison as a living weight on your back, a claw at your skin.

Claudia said...

such tremendous power in this poem! i held my breath and could almost see him run away from that prison, that still clings to him…he ran with hope…that's what touched me most

Beachanny said...

An original and surprising poem. This explores with such power an interior territory, craigy, forbidding, and desolate. Thank you for opening that new land to me. Excellent poem.

Suz said...

very nice indeed

PattiKen said...

Outstanding. You've captured all the horror that prison must be, and the permanence of the scars left behind. Thank you for sharing this with us.

Pete Marshall said...

hi glyn..wow you are sharing and writing some great great stuff..i picked up on both doallas and dustus re the white cliff collection..tell us more!

as for the poem, i could sense the running, the escaping..and thankfully i hope never to experience such a harrowing feeling..cheer pete