Attica Prison Rebellion, September 13th, 1971: Emanuel Johnson, Murdered Inmate, Sings His Favorite Christmas Carol, Coupled with a Side Observation
O come, O come, Emanuel,
and ransom the captives.
Well, it wasn’t up to me. Nothing
was up to me. I dropped my knife
and ran down that catwalk, and wouldn’t have stopped
from hell to heaven’s backyard,
except a blast of buckshot twisted
my football helmet backwards,
muffled my screams like the inside of The Tombs,
two yards of earth now between me and grass,
may as well be three million trillion billion.
O come, O come,
get your carcass off that cross, O Lord, and come.
Attica Prison Rebellion, September 13th, 1971: Samuel Joseph Melville, Murdered Inmate, Examines the Dynamics of Power in Attica State Prison and Anywhere Else, For That Matter
This is what surrender brings.
It was no mistake
my raised arms formed a crosshair. “We did the best
Couldn’t those be
anybody’s last words?
Pigs said they spied a bomb,
a jar of gasoline, a wick crammed down
its wide throat. Any excuse to shoot. We did
our best, then raised our hands.
They held the guns.
Not another word. We cried.
Paul David Adkins lives in NY. In 2017, Lit Riot Press published his collection Flying Over Baghdad with Sylvia Plath. Journal publications include Pleiades, River Styx, Rattle, Diode, Baltimore Review, Crab Creek, and Whiskey Island. He has received five Pushcart nominations and two finalist nominations from the Central NY Book Awards.