Art Music Poetry 10

Opus #6, Stockbridge MA, 1977

Opus #6, Stockbridge MA, 1977

Fish Window Number Four

Old Harry the heron walked right up
And put his beak on the Plexiglas and looked in.
We’ve got special Plexiglas here,
It’d take a bull to break through this stuff.
Harry’s been poking his neck around Lake Lorraine
A couple of weeks now. He seems depressed.
They wouldn’t want us to get out, or hurt somebody
To hurt “ourselves.” That’s what the codes are for
Harry looks like he lost a friend. Wish I could tell him
everything will be all right come summer.
These codes are “A,” “E,” and “S”: Assault, Escape
Or Suicidal. If you get a code you’re in but good.
Harry’s working his way toward “S” code now
Stumblin’ around like that. He better not let ‘em see him.
Down here’s the ICU, intensive therapy, no privacy.
We’re in a circle: beds in little slices of a pie.
Once in a while Harry will come by or the tree frogs’ll
Yelp all night making the natural nuts go off.
The nurses can sit doing their books and see
All of us at the same time. You don’t dare beat it.
If they knew Harry felt the way he does, they’d lock him in,
Restrict him from minnows and make him express his loss.
Just the other day, I got me a big “B” code.
Now I can use the bathroom alone. You know what that means.
Harry better stay away from the lake. It’s so tempting though.
He’s got to grow up and tough it out a few months, then summer.
Big John lets you shower as long as you want, so I wait for
The 4 to 12 shift before I go in. Big John Laughs.
From my slice you can see Harry out on Lake Lorraine.
I stole some foil to try to catch his eye, but I missed him.
Lake Lorraine is a horseshoe pond made when they dug up some land
To use as fill when they built C-2 and C-3. If you’re a good boy
You get to move up to C-2 where, once-a-week you leave the
Grounds to go shopping. They wouldn’t want you to lose your
Knack for shopping. Guess they figure $70,00 a year means
You’ve got to re-learn how to shop. Shows you how much
Freud knows. But for the natural nuts it’s a big deal.
Leaving the grounds means giving up security they tell me.
I don’t believe them. I piss and moan, when asked, about
How long you can lock someone up behind fish windows,
Legally, without that person having done so much as spit.
They say I’ve got to stay until I’m well. Well, anyway, I’m stuck
Behind fish windows for life. I’m stuck, but look, here’s Harry,
Strolling along, wagging his neck, tapping fish window number four.


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