The Word Man of Alcatraz

I’m in the poets’ prison
working on the quatrain gang.
They didn’t want to listen
to the “foolish rhymes” I sang.

They’re trying to reform me
with their sonnets and free verse.
I find the stories corny
and the metaphors are terse.

I tried to wee a haiku,
on the floor of the latrine.
You know the screws don’t like you
when they make you lick it clean.

My cell mate is a lifer
for acrostic crimes and more.
He wrote the warden’s wife a
verse that spelt “YOU SMELLY WHORE”.

Our tunnel was abandoned
when we got the metre wrong.
It came up somewhere random
cos the feet were far too long.

They say I’ll get off early
if I write like Yeats instead.
Till then they test me yearly
and my rhymes make them go red.


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