Tuesday, November 20, 2012

me & mary poppins on cell block six

sticker on the side of my car

CNN is roasting Petraeus,
now Allen ---even
       the FBI agent
for their various 'affairs'

when someone drops, '1 in 99
Americans are in jail', the highest
percentage of any nation (we
should have a celebration) & i've been

it's not fun, depending on who
rides the bunk above you, but
three squares & there's television

one inmate taught me Tonk, might
have let me win on occasion, just to keep
it interesting & what's our interest
in other's private parts, especially
our leaders (national security, maybe?)
but what security is there in 1 in 99?

Our trustee used to whistle---walking a-
round in his dungarees, pushing the mop
bucket as i watched

on an old black n' white monitor, a precursor
to realityTV, the angst of how many
drops would slosh in the hallway
and who next would take up residence---

he favored old show tunes
& every once in a while

Mary Poppins.

OpenLinkNight @ dVerse Poets - write a poem, come join the party - we open the doors at 3 PM EST. I will be your host this evening, so I hope to see you. 

Before rumors get too crazy, it was part of my rotation at the Sheriff's department to work jail duty. Smiles.

91 comments:

Friko said...

Aw, shucks, Brian, I was hoping that was the song of an inmate, one of the soon to be ‘1in99’.

In spite of being ‘only’ on duty, you captured the atmosphere (sadly, I couldn’t be more specific, I’ve only ever been in a jail on a visitor’s pass and never got further than the plastic table and chair combo in the ‘visiting room’.

Not nice.

If I may be allowed to say this: I can’t, for the life of me, see what somebody’s private sex life has to do with the general public. (yes, yes, I know, national security, etc. etc.)

the walking man said...

I want to have a special counsel hearing to get to the truth, were you in for time or in for crime? Soledad will be in touch later today.

I have come to despise this "We need to know every time someone drops a load where they shouldn't have" world. But then the government basically took our right to privacy away so I don't feel real bad when a member of that government's personal life becomes embarrassingly public.

We are after all living in the digital J Edgar Hoover age.

Mary said...

One out of ninety-nine is quite a percentage. Yikes.

I feel bad about Petraus really.(very bad for his wife) But I bet there are a lot of other generals/ higher ups who are quaking in their boots. I can't believe his indiscretions are uncommon in the military (I wish I believed they were) and even as high up as a former commander in chief in recent history (Clinton who was not asked to step down) or among those who are so willing to crucify him. If there is proof there is some kind of security leak it is one thing; but....this does not seem to be the case.

DJan said...

It makes for good poetry, even if most of these guys just don't know how to keep it in their pants...

Daniel said...

Thanks for squashing those rumors before they got too far! (smiles)

Optimistic Existentialist said...

Yet another great poem! May I become your newest follower?

JANU said...

Over a period of time reality TV sucks...yes, people are more interested in others' life than concentration on theirs. Nice description.

kaykuala said...

Brian,
One in 99, what a bargain! But it would better to be playing Sheriff As in most things, hands-on is the best experience can give. One comes off it being very aware of the 'other side'. As for the Gen. it was just unlucky that other's emails 'got astray'

Hank

Hank

Grace said...

I am lost in the details of national security ~ Smiles~ I have not experienced jail duty but it would be interesting to see what people watched in that black and white monitor ~

Happy OLN ~

manicddaily said...

Ha. A spoonful of sugar doesn't quite lump it here.

Agh.

I once worked (briefly) doing legal work in prison - very briefly, sobering on various levels. In my case, it had to do with parole.

The poem so right - crazy comparisons. I think the drug offenses and punishments have gotten out of hand--causing real damage. k.

Pat Hatt said...

For ones fail
You had to watch the jail
Sing a little tune
Like John Wayne out on the sand dune? haha
Pfft to reality tv
I wish such a plague or precursor never was seen in any reality
And pretty sad when they go on about someones sex life
Over actual events that cause strife
Moron news anchors is all the are
Near and far

Natasha Head said...

I have a running debate with hubby on this...such a reflection of character should be revealed when a member holds a position in a public office...that's his side...but he also exists in a very black and white world...I have absolutely no interest in knowing what's up (no pun) behind closed doors...and even someone in the public eye has gotta have the option of a closed door...as for lock up...does the drunk tank count? ;) We're all on screens, Poet...behind bars or not. ;)

Gloria said...

what nicw you talked about rumors before go fast:) anyway nothing surprise me...
have a nice day!!

Alice Audrey said...

My ds loves the Monster logo. He sticks it everywhere.

It works well with the jail theme. The waving hang down parts are kind of bar like. Though actually, you kind of make jail sound homy.

Myrna R. said...

Glad you're not in jail. What a depressing environment it is. Nice of you to volunteer.

Valerie said...

Fortunately my time in gaol was restricted to the visiting rooms so I can only rely on others as to real conditions ... smiles.

Anna Montgomery said...

I totally want to start that rumor, but I too have spent a lot of time in detention centers (mentoring of course). Something must change and the privatization is only encouraging us to incarcerate more people. A terribly high cost will be paid for all involved. I will get off my soap box and go because I have about another million things to say...

mrs mediocrity said...

First, I am in love with the title...

I don't understand our fascination with this sort of thing... Yes, he was stupid and not a good husband, but for me, it ends there.

A great commentary on the world we live in, the imagery you used fits perfectly.

She Writes said...

HAH! You so had me! I was like WHAAAT? Brian has never mentioned this. Is this what got him into the ministry :)? But I don't think rotations are enough to convert you. Mary Poppins? Oh, well a spoon full of sugar can help the bitter years go down.

Petraus. Um why is the world shocked when powerful men have women outside their marriage? This is a long standing (gross) tradition of men in power (and maybe women too).

Grandmother said...

I get really angry over this one, Brian. The USA has the highest documented incarceration rate in the world. Russia is second and Rwanda third. (check it out in Wikipedia). How your 1 in 99 breaks down for men is: 1 in 11 African- American men, 1 in 27 Latino men, 1 in 45 Caucasian men. This is largely due to mandatory sentences related to (non-violent) drug use. So while violent crime decreased by 25 % , our prison population quadrupled. We spend more for prisons that we do for schools. You tell me if this makes sense. It's a screwy, wasteful situation that's damn wrong and needs to be changed.

Daydreamertoo said...

Dang, thought you were the prisoner...glad you had a 'get out of jail free' card. lol
I'm not sure they should be public property but, they ought to know in this day and age someone is always looking for the 'story' the big sell to make some quick and easy cash. Those who hold the safety of their nations security in their hands ought to be free from these things but, it's called 'being human' I feel so sorry for his wife, the wives and family of all concerned.
In the end, maybe all power, corrupts.


Mama Zen said...

Isn't that unbelievable? 1 of 99!

Laurie Kolp said...

At one time I was offered a teaching position for the inmates... I'm just not cut out for that... but I do believe they need us as much as we need each other.

Tara Miller said...

Wow, what a view into the world behind bars! And - I like your title my love. funny!

What he did was wrong but should now be handled behind closed doors between he and his wife. If it truly is a matter of national security then I might understand.

Brandee Shafer said...

The guards scared me more than the inmates, but what do I know? I've got something brewing re the Petraeus scandal, but I'm a little constipated w/ it. I guess I would like to know how you get so many words to flow through you?

Lisa Golden said...

What a killer title. Seriously. You almost had me, too. I'm glad it was work and not the workhouse.

Ella said...

Brian...I figured as much! You painted a vivid reality of the 1-99.
The whole Petraus thing is such a mess... Hubby said being military he is under a different standard in his own eyes! Guess he went temporarily blind?
Humans we all are under a damn microscope...but public officials know that! Wonder why they think they are immune?! It is sad and personally I don't care about his private life, only his relationship with our country! Sorry for his wife n' family, though....

happygirl said...

I still think going to jail would be a nice break. Three squares and a tv. There are probably books, too. I think there is much more to the Petraus story than we will here for quite a while. (there are still 14 mysterious murders relating to Clinton from his administration) Happy Thanksliving, my friend. You're going to have to share your prison story some day. :)

Arron Shilling said...


a spoonful of sugar doesnt make that stat any easier to swallow!

a bitter taste but a S W eee T
write Brian . . .

i catch the full sense of it
and the way you deliver it

is ace.

cheers bro

Claudia said...

you capture the weird craziness of the world we live in... so eager to dissect other people's lives for whatever reason.. and with whatever excuse..i much like that you have mary poppins in the mix as it adds to the surreality..

ReBelle said...

I read an article recently which scared me. Those 1s could easily be you or I. The ridiculous infractions people are being thrown in jail for is unbelievable.

ayala said...

Rumors have a crazy way, don't they? :) meanwhile a good capture of what's going on. Honestly..I don't think it's our business who Petraeus is sleeping with....did everyone forget all of his sacrifice for this country. I think it's between him and his wife...great write :)

hedgewitch said...

We created the media, and now it creates food for us out of every little thing it can obsess over. I could care less who screws who--as twm says, they know everything about everybody, so too bad when it backfires on them. 1 in 99 is insane--but it feeds the now rapidly privatizing prison market--and gets the peasant class out from under the rich guys' feet. Good one, bri.

RD said...

pitty pat?...tonk?...bourré?...it's all just a game until your number is called

428145 d.o.c.

they play for keeps
and everyone is a loser

Peace B

Susan Daniels said...

Well done, Brian. I can hear "A Spoonful of Sugar" right now ;)

jackie dick said...

Glad you clarified w. your bucket brigade turn in the Sheriff's office, Bri...Whew!

Buddah Moskowitz said...

Don't give me that "doing community service" yang - you were in the joint because you killed a man just to watch him die.

Great perspective and great poem. - Mosk

Lady Nyo said...

1 in 99???? What is going on here???

I can't believe that people are so interested in the sex lives of other people....that they don't know or care about. Jesu~

A touching poem, Brian, though I had to read it a few times to get my (pointed) head around it. You are so brilliantly topical in your work. I admire that mightily.

Lady Nyo

Glenn Buttkus said...

Def a terrific fake-out with this piece; too much validity in observations, was sure you had hidden jailhouse tats to go with your cool coif. You hook us hard, and shake us like punk trout; thanks.

Steve E said...

Well, I'm certain you got it right, and in an awesome manner, Mr BM

My jail experience: 35 years ao I chaired an AA meeting in the country jail. One guy kept running around shouting, "I been certified--I been certified!"

An inmate had to explain to me, he was diagnosed by a bona-fida docktor as INSANE.

It was my first and last time volunteering that duty.

LIKED your story, Glad you explained...however, whatever!!!
PEACE!

Susan said...

The public pillory seems to be a last-ditch effort to reassert a morality before abandoning it completely. I can see a visit from you being poppin-ish among people writing letters for better care everywhere. Nice portrait, again, of the old jailer.

If you get a letter that says I'm in the Philippines and need $$ please IGNORE it. A skunk stole my address book for pierette_50 (not the gmail one). Groan.

Happy Happy Thanksgiving. Counting the blessings here.

Carrie Burtt said...

You had me at Mary Poppins.....love this Brian!!

farawayinthesunshine said...

Always such a treat to see the world your words paint. I am afraid to ask "Why Mary Poppins?"

Evelyn Adams said...

your poems are so unique, your style is sort of prickly and burning...

Audrey Howitt aka Divalounger said...

No spoonful of sugar here!!

Ginny Brannan said...

Love your stories Brian, glad you clarified what you were doing there!!

Never been to jail except to tour our local one with the scouts. Oh, and once to get my son, a minor then, picked up because he was on someone's property that had an open keg. Almost got thrown in jail that day myself while arguing with the cop about performing a breathalizer to prove that my son wasn't drinking. He said it didn't matter, all it took was him being on the property under the "open container" laws. No permanent record, thank goodness! And no more adventures like that! Oh, what our kids put us through!

Tracie Skarbo said...

I have to agree...the title rocks it!

farmlady said...

I've only worked in Juvenile Hall, where the odds are around 90 out of 99 that these boys WILL see jail time in the future. It's an eye opener isn't it?
I was the only "Mary Poppins" these boys had ever seen. They don't give a damn about Petraeus, faithfulness, morality or CNN.
Jail is just another one night stand, down the road... with hot meals.







































Christopher Reilley said...

Nice dichotomy between the life of privilege that 4-star generals abuse and the simple humanity found behind bars. Great write! ;-)

vivinfrance said...

Crime is hell for everyone - victims, criminals, their families. What has the world come to? The Mary Poppins song is a touch oxymoron-ish in the circumstances.

anotherwanderingsoul said...

what a fantastic title!!!
1 in 99... geeze. despite thinking mankind is bad per se (just kidding, no i don't), that seriously makes me wonder... might there be something wrong with the system?!

jasmine said...

I really like this section:

"a precursor
to realityTV, the angst of how many
drops would slosh in the hallway
and who next would take up residence"

And "every once in a while, Mary Poppins" at the end. I love her. :)

colleen said...

Nice contrasts and placement of Mary Poppins. I wish we'd all get as riled up about war as we do about someone else's private life.

Luke Prater said...

Great write - pithy with fact and poetic parlance -- um.. is it true that 1 in 99 Americans are in jail - the highest % of any nation?? What about S Africa, or Brazil, or Mexico, Colombia, etc etc? Is it that you have a much more extensive judicial and jailing system and far more jails? Cos you know gun crime in the US is higher than anywhere (in the West) also. My god.

Jenny Herner said...

I love the security monitor as precursor to reality TV! Such a sad statistic. At least Corso found poetry in prison. We have that.

henry clemmons said...

And I was thinking you had served some time :)
Excellent discription. I have a poet friend who works in a florida jail I didn't meet through a Sheriff's assignment :/ But to get a comrade out and get a taste of legal system in US. Very nice write. Even ones running the assylum can feel a prisoner of it at times.

flaubert said...

Brian, 1 in 99, seems crazy doesn't it? That title got me, I nearly spit my coffee on the keyboard. You describe your experience with much reality, I was thinking you had been in jail some point in your life. I see though not as an inmate. As for the invasion of emails, well, that is another story, isn't it? Excellent write as always.

Pamela

Timoteo said...

I hope Paula Broadwell was worth it to him...she looks like she would be!

RMP said...

Mary Poppins on cell block six? There must be more to that spoonful of sugar than meets the eye.

1 in 99...is that a one time or does that represent the ratio in regard to those who have been or are in jail. Either way, it's a bit sad.

Teresa said...

I am so tired of hearing about all the sexcapades of our leaders. Really. This really is scary when you think about that 1 in 99.

Mr. Charleston said...

I love it when one of those big wigs gets his dick in a vise. Not that I give a flip about the details, it's just comforting to know that they put their pants on one leg at a time.

Kelvin S.M. said...

..a scenario that is no longer new in today's cycle... yet still a bit disappointing...

..dropping by(again) at dVerse to mingle around... and just sayin', feels good to read you again Brian...

(:

afterhisimage said...

1 in 99, so practically perfect in every way..the inclusion of that troublemaker nanny at the end was lovely.

Serena said...

My bad, I'm not a news watcher, but I find that I always hear about what's important enough to hear about, so I don't know who Petraus is...I'm not shocked over the statistic but I'm not happy about it. Love the title and once again have enjoyed your work.

Teri said...

Hey Brian...I hope that you have a really great Turkey day with your family. Life is so precarious, isn't it? And, like you said: whose business is it anyway what we do in the privacy of our own homes? I have a friend who works for the DA as a public defender and she told me who would never recommend to anyone to become a lawyer. I asked why. Her response was: All I do all day is fight. I never thought of it that way. Fighting for justice, fighting for someone's rights, etc. We need to STOP fighting so much with each other and start to learn how to love more. Don't you agree? My best to you dear friend!

Modern Day Disciple said...

It's amazing you manage to keep your "smiles" despite a keen eye on reality! ;)

Betsy Brock said...

precursor to reality tv...lol....

ninotaziz said...

Dear Brian,
Have a wonderful Thanksgiving. I was deep into post election news and saw the slow dragging of details of the General on NBC. Then I totally shut it out after the Benghazi hearing. I pity the family, and that of the family friends - but then that is life in public office.

1 in 99 seems scary. Life in jail seems scary.

I just thank God for His blessings.

Wander said...

Lol...I was wondering if you were going to switch up the perspective... black and white monitor... yup, you did :-)

Bernie said...

Great writing, personally I think mature adults should distinguished sex from wars. I know its the position (no pun intended) but unless they breached security leave them alone, those families have enough healing to do without the country attacking them. Happy Thanksgiving my friend, xo

my heart's love songs said...

awwww....great way to fool us, Bri! {smile}

Fred Rutherford said...

strong write Brian. You really captured the feel inside. Love the precursor to reality, very creative. Strong piece.

Lady In Read said...

Brian, yet another thought provoking, wonderful poem from you. It has been sometime since I dropped by and now I am catching up on old posts on your blog.

sreeja harikrishnan said...

quite interesting and new things for me...you pick moments from life and polishes it so well....loved the lines...:-)

adan said...

jail duty and one of 99, hmm ;-) reality tv indeed ;-)

love the mary poppins irony and shudder at the top bunk bed mate visual!

interesting perspective and piece brian, thanks ;-)

Sabio Lantz said...

Interesting image of your Sheriff duty. Having worked in high security prisons and detention centers, I to want to see those numbers fall. I hope they decriminalize drugs and stop parole for murders. That is my rant.

Dave King said...

This is a real cracker. Some stst' you've come up with there: 1 in 99! I somehow thought that we would get the accolade for highest %. We're all for locking up and throwing away the key -- unless they're dangerous, of course! Ah well, this is one I'm glad to let you have.

hyperCRYPTICal said...

The media has odd ideas of what is 'real' news...

Our (respective) nations morality and ethics may be falling apart but what the hell if someone is having an affair...

(Love your poem!)

Anna :o]

SueAnn Lommler said...

It is interesting that in a day of low morals...we are all up into others' sexual prowess!! I mean, seriously????
Yes I can hear Mary Poppins as well and breaking glass!!
Hugs
SueAnn

Marbles in My Pocket said...

Okay... why is the whistling from the Andy Griffith Show suddenly stuck in my head??
I really like this one, Brian. You nailed it, my man!

Tatius T. Darksong said...

Sounds like the trustee felt a little to much at home. Good write

Nico said...

This is an incredibly good piece, crystal clear observations. I enjoyed reading it very much!

Laura said...

1 in 99 that is horribly sad and just imagine how many could be doing something good in the world, would be if life didn't turn a particular corner that it did... and one wonders too how many are in that really out to be out and never should have been in to begin with... horribly sad.

FrankandMary said...

there's television. I don't have one so there's improvement. I'm a Mary, but quite not the Poppins variety.

The title did pull me in.~Mary

Jenny Woolf said...

"What security is there 1 in 99" - I don't think that makes for a more secure society, because of course most of those who offend won't be in jail at any given time. They're out there on the streets. That's the real "Yikes". And I agree with Grandmother's comment.

Therin Knite said...

Tough subject; this country has some major issues. Great piece. =)

C Rose said...

Interesting encounter, you place its resonance to the larger emergent social issues with charming precision. enjoyed, and thank you for visiting my words.

Syd said...

Never been in that kind of jail. But I have felt confined at times....

lucychili said...

the ndaa sounds like it makes it possible that anyone could be jailed indefinitely?

A Cuban In London said...

It never occurred to me that there was more to it than your jail duty, sir! :-)

Great piece. It's full of great insights (especiallyf or those of us who live across the pond).

Greetings from London.

thejuliebook said...

Hi Brian. Finally wired again. Thanks for the visit and another fun piece to read. I had to smile at the image of you on duty and the whistling trustee. Funny about Mary Poppins--I'm in Hervey Bay now, and the next town over is the birthplace of the author. Apparently they milk it for all the tourist money they can. Now I may have to check it out. :)