The prisoner and his visitor (a poem)

I’m reading about a man in prison,

and he tells a story of a woman in

a skirt and no underwear visiting 

another inmate: ‘He was a very young 

man with a very long sentence.’ I

picture this, imagine the young man

hungry for flesh, for the scent of his

woman, the feel of her. I picture his

frustration in his cell, in the cafeteria,

in the halls. I imagine the excitement

and the even bigger frustration of

having to sit across the table from her

during visiting hours. Then I imagine

wearing a short skirt and no panties,

wanting to give him something, 

anything, dying for his body, too, but 

being forced against the wall of 

powerlessness of his incarceration 

and all the rules that go with it. I 

picture this, but the empathy I feel is

not because I am one of them but 

because I am both: I am the 

imprisoned one, shuffling around the

same rooms day after day with no

possibility of curbing this ravenous 

craving, and I am the one in the skirt,

longing to be loved with legs open 

but knowing he won’t touch me. I am

the prisoner and his visitor, and in the 

end, I know that the only warmth I will 

feel will be from my own hand; the 

only person touching me will be 

myself.

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7 thoughts on “The prisoner and his visitor (a poem)

  1. Hey Alyse!

    I was brought to this blog because of your article on Hello Giggles! I can’t say that I’ve ever been a single foster parent, so I’m asking this out of genuine curiosity. Does this “ravenous craving” and “longing to be loved with legs open” ever affect your ability to be a good foster parent? Speaking for myself, I don’t think I would be able to fully focus on my responsibilities if I was constantly aroused. Is this a part of the reason that you decided not to continue fostering?

    • Hi Harry,
      Thanks for checking out my blog! And thanks for asking those questions. I’m going to separate my answers just for clarity: thankfully, I am not constantly aroused. That would definitely be distracting, but when I’m working with the kids, my mind is focused on my work. The craving I write about is much more than just a sexual craving. The isolation I feel extends to the mental and emotional realms, so even though it’s easiest to describe what I’m feeling in a very physical way, I mean it at a much deeper level, too. In a sense, my loneliness and the emotional effects of that probably do impact my ability to be a good foster parent, and that is a huge reason I have decided not to continue doing it. But the sexual aspect of that is actually just a really minor– albeit tangible and easily conveyed– factor. Does that make sense? And does it answer your questions?

  2. Thank you! That makes much more sense. I guess the only follow up question that I have is: In what way do you see yourself as the visiting woman? I can more easily see the parallels between your life and that of the prisoner, but I’m curious as to how you see yourself in the other position.

  3. That’s another good question. That part was a bit more literal and more personal, so it makes sense that people might not get it. It has to do with a former relationship of mine. So, really, the poem is neither fully literal nor fully figurative– it’s a mix of both.

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