that man right there

pouring concrete
for a kentucky fried chicken
on southeast 14th
did eighteen years
maximum security in
pelican bay for
running meth with the
hells angels and stabbing
a cop.

he's at work release for
one year then
ten years on
federal parole.

i've personally
seen him do sixteen
one-armed pull-ups and
if he said 'boo' the
piss in your bladder
would freeze.

three in the morning
i was sitting next to him
in the chow hall
while he bawled.

it was the fifth anniversary
of his
mother's death
which he wasn't allowed to
while in federal prison.

sometimes the
heartache's enough to
choke out any light,
he said before
composing himself.

one more and i'll
get out of your hair
he asked
pulling a marlboro
from behind his ear.

they aren't supposed to smoke
after eleven at night
but i gave him
the go ahead.

us short guys gotta
stick together,
he smiled
after lighting up and
showed me how to
take out a knee
with my shoulder in a
split second
just in case
one of these fuck-nut cons
ever decided to get
froggy with me.

Justin Hyde has had stuff published in Thieves
Jargon, Zygote in my coffee, Cerebral Catalyst
and other on-line and print publications.

His blog is at http://fdostoev.blogspot.com

2008 Underground Voices