Wednesday, August 1, 2018

Poem - Mecca Patterson-Guridy

The writing below is a fictional account inspired by the story of Claude Dawson, an inmate at Eastern State Penitentiary in the early 1900s.

Having a bag pulled over my head.
Feeling like I'm the worst person in the world for just a little thing.  I'm seen as a criminal even though I would never hurt a soul.
They don't know how it feels not being able to see your family.  Not seeing them grow up. 
Not being able to go outside and feel the air.  To feel free and alive that's what I want to do but unfortunately I'm here trapped and shackled like an animal never to see daylight again.
So I wait, and think, and then I stop to think again.
"I will just dig a hole to see my wife and kids again..."


  1. Charles E. PetersonAugust 1, 2018 at 10:47 AM

    Such a vivid depiction of life at Eastern State, 118 years ago! You end with a ray of hope -- does he make it out? I hope so!

  2. Mecca,

    Your piece is very effective at giving this person a voice. You make me care about him, and hope he succeeds in the near impossible task of tunneling out.

  3. Hi Mecca;
    I can relate to your piece especially after visiting Eastern State. I think that you were very effective in your description of the separation that a person in prison would experience I think that your piece left me with a desire to want to read more. Does your character make a sucessful escape?

  4. I am reading something different here. Yes, he wants to get out but they are putting a bag over his head. To me, he is going to the gallows. How about more of his story. You are a storyteller and have peaked my interest. Why is he in jail?

  5. Love the twist at the end! The last line creates such an impact because it is the only line of dialog in a piece full of silence. You can feel a sense of hope breaking through with that line, almost like a breath of fresh air, or a sense of clarity and determination.

  6. Mrs. E, I wonder if I'm remembering correctly, but I think that in the early days of Eastern State Penitentiary, they put a bag over prisoners heads as they were led into their cells. I think the idea was to preserve their anonymity so the prisoners wouldn't be judged by their crimes after serving their time. Does anyone else know if that's the right reading of the poem?

  7. You write with a tone that represents warmth, and your use of language vividly illustrates an individual's experience. Your language captures the hope for liberty in a way that is authentically communicated from the individual's narrative. Beautifully written!

  8. Your writing made me want to know more about Claude Dawson. Was the bag over the head a form of punishment? Was he sentenced to jail for a minor offense? Is he planning an escape? Your writing has piqued my curiosity. I want to know more about this man who clearly misses his family.