Me, William Wantling and a Police Cell by Joseph Ridgwell

When the cell door slammed shut
I was remarkably sober
I’d been through the same situation many times
A night in the cells was unpleasant, but not unendurable
It hadn’t happened in a while though
My girl called the cops after I’d threatened to break her legs
And half-strength strangled her in the bathtub
Mind you she’d tried to rip my balls off
So in the circumstances
I figured it was a reasonable reaction
Once inside the station
It was the same old scene
Fingerprints, mug shot, DNA swab
I followed instructions in muted fashion
Having a bit of trouble with the thumb print,
Turning the wrong way and shit
My belongings were placed into a sealed bag
Belt and shoelaces included
But somehow the cops missed a copy of William Wantling’s
The Fix
Stuck under my arm
And when the heavy door cell slammed shut
It was still stuck under my arm
I glanced around the barren box and reflected on things
It was 3.30AM, the cell was cold, and I was aching all over
But at least I had Wantling
A minor victory in a night gone wrong
I stretched out on the hard bed, flicked open the book, and read a poem at random

……Dreams are cages within which we observe the cages without…………

In the cell next door
Some freak banging his head against the wall
And a disembodied voice
Screaming the incarcerated scream
It was a little unsettling, and distracted from the Wantling
Eventually I put the book down
Fished through my pockets
Found a five pence piece
Carved the name Annie
On that cell door
And waited for the unforgiving dawn

1 comment:

Opium Poetry said...

i know the story. at least you had a book.

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Black-Listed Magazine is an online literary magazine. We publish on a rolling basis: weekly, daily, sometimes hourly. Send submissions here: blacklistedmagazine@hotmail.com