Saturday, March 01, 2003

Elizabeth Kelso

Madness, Madness

Didn't you know eccentric women
Repeat the pattern of madness?

Didn't they tell you that we comb our hair
Then stare into darkness?

I'll tell you then. I'm the eccentric woman of
Who talks to the rain that falls
And ask my plants why they don't grow
Into strong little boys and girls

I'll tell you then, I'm the quaint woman of yesteryear
Quintessentially mad to the masses
But to the legion that guards my brain
I'm not insane

Didn't you know eccentric women
Repeat the pattern of madness?

Shamed by our Condition

My wrists were small
but the cuffs were smaller
as they bit at my skin
Shoved into the car head first
my body contorted to fit
in a space not fit for small children or wildlife

CLANK went the door of the holding cell
Piss scented air engulfed me as I sat
alone and cold on the hard metal bench
(chipping paint and artful profanity)

Cries of women
echoed through the corridor
and out the window
falling on merciless ears
I would not cry
for anger caressed my lips
He took away everything I had
He took away my freedom

He was used to the cage
but prison is no place for a woman

We were round up
an assortment of motley women
chained together by circumstance

I was not a criminal
just a woman and a mother
who would not submit to the will
of another

We were led out like dogs pulling a sled
Heads down and shamed by our condition

My cellmate was a crack addict
though she preferred the term "diabetic"
Her long, crack-eaten body draped over the entire
I studied her features
There was no doubt she took her insulin through a

Elizabeth Kelso is a native New Yorker who has been writing poetry for 17 years. She won 2nd prize in the 2000 "No Experience Required: A Literary Magazine Contest for her poem "She Fed Me Kimchi". Her work can be seen at

Coral Hull Spike Rotundo Sandy Jeffs Michael Furs Mike Katzberg Elizabeth Kelso Lori Williams Danny P. Barbare

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