Home > Imprisonment > in a no-win zone

in a no-win zone

July 8, 2011

by Evie Shockley

we remain ever in six-x-six rooms, on ice, unseen :
we consume no sun or moon views : we sew our
concise seam, same as ever : we receive no new air,
never roam, never run across a wren, a sure omen :
we once were warriors : now our sorrows rain on
us : our rosier news is no nooses : we mourn ruinous
memories, mine rue, see no surcease : woe is we :
some insane sin or crass crime means we weave our
remorse in an iron maze, women, men in an ominous
zoo : we seem mean so we can survive, a zero sum, no
score, or worse, we owe : nervous, we are unsure our
voices can save us : we scream, more room now : we
vow, no more war : our vices over, we are sore users :
wave au revoir : soon we resume our ravenous music

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Evie Shockley has two books of poetry: the new black (Wesleyan, 2011) and a half-red sea (Carolina Wren Press, 2006). Her poems and literary criticism have appeared in numerous journals and anthologies. She co-edits jubilat and teaches African American literature and creative writing at Rutgers University-New Brunswick.

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  1. Michael Nickels-Wisdom
    July 8, 2011 at 2:13 pm

    Good work. Enjoyed reading this.

  2. July 8, 2011 at 6:47 pm

    Remarkable irony. Interesting use of the colon for disparate images. Good work.

  3. July 9, 2011 at 2:25 pm

    Evie, this poem is just stunning and I know it’s a difficult form–dancing in a box, as I believe a famous poet said. I enjoyed every moment of reading it, hearing, and reading it aloud myself. I think I’m going to try my hand at the form. Thanks for such lovely writing!

  4. Evie
    July 10, 2011 at 9:03 pm

    Thanks so much for the positive feedback, all!


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