BEHAVIOR MODIFICATION

E-Mail   by Joseph Burgeson   Bio/Address

I live here in the grim winter of this long season,
foraging for hope that lies hidden
like last year's grass
under the snows of my confinement,
my mind warming itself
by the fire of newspaper hate.
A prisoner on a distant planet,
I circle this cage of monotonous night,
raging silently as I chase the tail of my dreams,
elusive sleep always one step ahead of me,
taunting, denying me respite.
A thousand tomorrows
are drawn out before me in a long,
haunting wail of perpetual sameness.
The years pass and fall around my feet
like unmarked calendars,
an accumulation of non-events
that I mourn as I sift for their meaning.
Condemned for what I did,
the lashes well laid on
have striped my thinking with vengeful disfigurement.
I'm a mad weed in an unnatural garden.

By Joseph Burgeson
     1153 East St. South
     Suffield, CT 06080

Joe's Commentary on the above Poem

Behavior Modification is about the bleakness of prison life, and the difficulty of finding hope to sustain. But we find it, all of us, each in his own way, for we must live. Humans are affected and changed by experience, and since prison is an intensely negative experience that is lived 24 hours a day for years, the results of this human experience are not hard to perceive. The idea that taking a thousand or more criminals and locking them up together for years will modify their behavior for successful living in society is a ridiculous proposition. Prison is an old idea that has always been sour with the stink of failure. The behavior modification that society expects from sending a person to prison for years is quite different from what actually occurs, and so the title of the poem. We have been uprooted as unwanted weeds from the garden of normal society and transplanted in this unnatural garden, where in negative soil and an unhealthy climate, we grow in strange, unnatural ways

More Poems by Burgeson this issue:

A LETTER

TIME OUT

NO PASSAGE

REGENERATION

MACHINATIONS

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