A Whistle
A Security buzzer
The rush of boots, pounding concrete
Anticipation, wonderment and bewilderment
         linger in minds

A lifeless body
Dangling from a makeshift noose

The jokes
The laughs

From other prisoners finding escape
         in another man’s misery
         and mental breakdown

The laughs of immaturity and masculinity
To hide the faces of tragedy, 5 cells away
And the closeness of the grim reaper
           lurking in our everyday existence

A laugh a day, keeps the thought of death
But some self-medicate
Some self-motivate
Some self-suffocate

Crandelle Ojore McKinnon has been incarcerated on death row San Quentin since 1999. Ojore is a published poet whose pen is raw and unrelenting in expression and emotion. His poetry speaks the real life experience of love, struggles, and hardships of prison, poverty and street life growing up black in America.

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