Thursday, March 12, 2015

Good Neighbors: 2. Tuesday

They say you’re blessed when forgiven,
but I gotta say it:
Though I done my time,
            it seems like none forgave me.

I see other people who think they are better,
that they are outside of the rules
that hold me,
but they aren’t that upstanding;
it’s a bad joke.

When I was a young fool,
I struggled and I raged and I stole;
like I said: I’m not proud of what I done,
but I done the time for my crime.

What I seen in there,
it changed me:
it made me old,
it made me quiet;
Like an invisible hand on my shoulder,
it scared all the piss and bile right out of me.

You hear that?

I come out and I’m not afraid to tell what I done,
I am a different person, now,
and I want to be recognized,
to be known as new.

Do you hear that?

In the eyes of the law,
I know I am good, now—
they called it even and sprung me
—but no person will hire me.

That Power that changed me,
show Yourself, and give me hope;
that hope is where I hide my heart.
—protect me,
keep me out of trouble;
I don’t want to go back
to that other place, no more.

Hear me!
Hear me and preserve me!
Tell me, teach me, guide me
to a goal, a job, home;
help me to be useful,
and heal my soul
with true forgiveness!

© 2015 by Elisabeth T. Eliassen

This poem is part of a cycle based on the so-called seven Penitential Psalms. The subtitle of the cycle is “Psalms from the Streets”. This entry is based on Psalm 32, and could be subtitled, “The Ex-Convict.”

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