Academic journal article Michigan Quarterly Review

David the Psalmist (and Sometime King) Composes Lines from a Jail Cell in Chicago

Academic journal article Michigan Quarterly Review

David the Psalmist (and Sometime King) Composes Lines from a Jail Cell in Chicago

Article excerpt

Quam dilecta!

O how far from amiable thy dwellings; Lordgod of this jail, of smalltime thieves and detainees.

For one day in this place is like a year; And time is a tailor, stitching open every eyelid, stealing our dreams while we sleep.

Yea, lordgod of roaches and rats, the bolted toilet we share floats above my head even as I sleep; My mattress rolled out upon thy floor.

Behold the veil of smoke in the common room where we sit for hours each day; And blest be the mysteries of the ghostbox, the unceasing TV.

Blessed be the cooks who fix breakfast at 3 am, over-salting our food; May their bellies be cursed with hunger incessant.

Blessed be the inmates who serve breakfast at 4, cold and congealed; Their thin sleep and ours, each night, brittled the more.

Blessed be the guards of thy dwelling; For they are the well-spring of contraband and pain; our keepers of everlasting night.

They will go on and on doing thy works, smashing the lowly with mighty boots; And unto the powerful they'll bow and exit ass first. …

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