Thomas W Case

County Jail, A Writer\'s Retreat

I sit here in
county jail sporting the
orange jumpsuit and I
write more poems and  
memoirs in a week than
I’ve written in a year.
It feels orgasmic when
I’m pounding out the
word and the line.

When you’re homeless and
the temperature is minus ten,
jail isn’t a punishment,
it’s a reward.
I got busted for public intox two days in
a row, and again three
weeks ago.
The state remembered—they
recommended 30 days,
the judge gave me two weeks.

Every time I go to jail
I’m very drunk,
and by morning I’m
coming down hard.
I remind the guards of
my predicament—the danger of
withdrawal seizures.
They say, “We are aware of
your condition, Mr. Case.”
And within a couple of
I’m on Librium,
making detox bearable.

Within a couple of days the
drunken haze dissipated
and the need to create returned.
I got their tiny safe
pen (impossible to stab someone with),
and I went to work.
I looked out my little
window in my cell and I
saw a male bald eagle gliding
lazily over downtown.
I felt as free as he was.