“Behind the Wall” by Cory Lambing

Cory Lambing


Some men live for others
and make their presence known.
Some men live in isolation
and choose to live alone.
Some men live for justice
and walk inside the law.
But of these men, the group I’m in
is the men behind the wall.
We’ve given up our freedom.
We’ve sacrificed our rights.
By day we walk in darkness,
while sorrow fills our nights.
We’ve learned to hide our teardrops,
but still these teardrops fall.
We walk alone, lost in our past,
the men behind the wall.
Some have lost our family.
Most have lost our friends.
Today will bring a heartbreak
that only time can mend.
When letters are not answered,
and no one takes our calls.
We count the cost, when all is lost,
the men behind the wall.
Our past forever hidden.
Our futures far away.
Our story has been written,
with nothing left to say.
No one to stand behind us,
and catch us when we fall.
The debts we make are never paid
for us behind the wall.
If there’s one left who’s righteous,
then let him cast the stone.
And if you know perfecting,
then let it die alone.
The one man who was perfect
was judged in Pilate’s Hall.
He knows our sins, and loves us yet—
these men behind the wall.

from Rattle #76, Summer 2022
Tribute to Prisoner Express


Cory Lambing: “I grew up outside of Pittsburgh and have been writing poetry since I was eight years old. I enjoy art, satire, and studying legal ethics. In 2015 I was incarcerated for 10 years for robbery of a bank as an artistic political statement against the value people place on debt notes. I am doing better now. I still write daily and like platypuses. I am pursuing a law degree to fight injustice and end mass incarceration.”

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