It starts when entering prison with “The Walk.”
Through clanging gates that freeze your blood with fear;
Eyes searching for the threat that sets you on guard.
Throat constricts, mouth dries, senses increase your guard.
You start realizing your folly as you walk;
Each step echoes your doom with quickening fear.
The air thickens with the rank scent of fear.
Shackles rattle as you follow the guard—
Ruin awaits at the end of the walk.
You smother your fear before the guard opens
the door, ushering you into a life where you
daren’t show fear if you want to survive in the
world at the end of the walk.
—from Rattle #76, Summer 2022
Tribute to Prisoner Express
Shaun Duane Blake: “I write poetry to express my thoughts and feelings. I’ve been writing off and on for about 30 years. But when I was put in maximum security lock-up for six years, I wrote almost every day. Poetry releases pent-up anxieties and expresses feelings of love and other kinds of feelings that can be difficult to deal with. Poetry is a lifesaver.”