Volume 5 Fall '09
The Literary Journal from Burning Bush Publications

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On Going to Prison
Erna Hennessy

I have been in prison before
    as a curious tourist at Alcatraz,
    daring solitary confinement
    for thirty seconds.

Today I am going to visit Walter
    in solitary confinement
    From age seventeen to forty-four.
Walter is an artist
Using a yellow envelope fastener
    He scrapes color from the pictures
    In his National Geographic magazine
    Making little piles of red, blue, black
    Layering each pile with a thin coat
    Of breakfast butter.
Rolling a piece of paper tightly
    Fraying the tip, he makes his brush
For accents he may have a Bic Pen filler
    The stiffest tool he is allowed
He paints a rose, a morning glory, a sunrise
His excellent glue is made
    From jellybeans
    Kept under a light bulb
    For a week
At seventeen he must have committed a terrible crime.
Society committed an even worse crime.
He spent his childhood in foster homes.
Six.
He ran away from every one
    And he had nothing to do.
Can he now have at last found
    A permanent home?
And a profession?




Erna Hennessy was awarded an Honorable Mention in the Burning Bush Poetry Prize 2009 for "Going to Prison"

After doing everything she was supposed to do: Being a good kid and not embarassing her parents, graduating, going to college, teaching, joining The WAVES, marrying Bernard Hennessy, having three wonderful children, more college at Columbia, helping her husband die as gracefuly as possible from cancer, Erna Hennessy fell in love with poetry. Picking her brain for a better word has become her final frontier. She has learned another way to hear.







How You Can Be Published
There are several ways. You can also send in poetry or short prose of your own to be considered for IN OUR OWN WORDS. We also recommend looking at the Classifieds in Poets and Writers Magazine, visiting our Calls for Submission Page, or entering a contest, similar to our annual "Burning Bush Poetry Prize". Only entries that include a SASE (self addressed stamped envelope) will be returned, so be sure to include this with your work. See our editorial philosphy.

IN OUR OWN WORDS ©2009 Burning Bush Publications.
All rights reserved.
Published in the United States of America.
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