Kevin Brown

Kevin Brown has published two short story collections, Death Roll and Ink On Wood, and has had Fiction, Non-fiction and Poetry published in over 200 Literary Journals, Magazines and Anthologies.  He won numerous writing competitions and was nominated for multiple prizes and awards, including three Pushcart Prizes.

Prison

is more than this,
than a slammed gate that locks you in,

	than walls and mesh-wire
windows, watered down milk served with watered down

	meals, than same colored
uniforms on different colored inmates, than bodies herded

	in stencilized existence, cuffed
chaos and caged rage, knowing when to stand

	and stand down, than
routine branded into mind and muscle, and always

	thinking in number scales—
6’x8’, 3 meals a day, 60 minutes yard

	time every 24 hours,
names spelled with 8 digits stamped across backs,

	4¢/hr, $31.51 in savings,
4 years, 48 months, 298 weeks, 1,460 days.

	It’s more than fear,
loneliness, anger and regret, embarrassment and boredom, disbelief

	and acceptance, than receiving
care packages of photos, cards and letters, Dora

	pictures colored outside the
lines and the best O’Keefe coffee ever drank,

	than kid names over
hearts inked with soot and shampoo, than watching

	your son grow up
and away, seeing your little girl for the

	first time each time,
every Sunday from 1-3, missing dance recitals, graduations,

	wedding anniversaries that will
one day be just another date scratched off

	on a wall, than
sleepless nights when you realize this is your

	life, and nights of
deep sleep when you realize this is your

	life, it’s more than
checkers, poker, reading paperbacks and writing letters to

	anyone anywhere else, mopping
for minimal wage, drinking liquor fermented in toilets

	made from fruit skins
Christmas Eve, toasting friends bound by address through

	sentence, than fights won,
fights lost, solitary confinement, gangs, the barter system,

	sex or no sex,
religion or no religion, heads raised, heads dropped,

	heads watching the shackled 
hands of the clock chip 34,944 hours away,

	to where the gate
slams and locks you out, where outstretched arms

	touch nothing touching back.
Prison was that and more, but not much.

							for #34576051

**first published in Gargoyle, 2015**

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