Three groups of four wooden benches (plus two in the front)
    worn smooth by the buttocks of thousands of prisoners
    carved with gang hieroglyphics
    and bolted to the concrete floor
    facing the pacifying TV images of
      The Price is Right® (free money!)
      Divorce Court® (damn bitches!)
      Jerry Springer® (tits and fights!)
      COPS® (recognize a homey?) and
      America’s Most Wanted®
(cheer on the bad guy role model heroes).
  NBC Evening News® opens with a trumpeting fanfare.
    (The voice of authority speaks.)
  I pick a random seat up close so I can hear over the cacophony of the dayroom.
  All around me seats saved
    with a folded mangy wool blanket
    with a name-marked two-of-hearts (occasionally confiscated)
    with a tiny scrap of paper taped underneath
      — a permanent seat
      — like a patron’s gold-plate-engraved theater seat, or an endowed chair
      — without the gold, and endowed by intimidation.
  A patron approaches.  
  “Hey, Dog, I always sit there,” pointing to my seat.
  “If you always sit here, why aren’t you here right now?” I think to myself as I get up
and move to another hopefully unendowed spot. Woof.
  Three next to me discuss the fucked up motherfuckers who are fuckin up the world.
  One behind me offers a running commentary about them motherfuckin assholes.
  A short toss away dominoes are slammed on a metal table amid shouting voices:
    “You’re goin down you fat fuck!”
  Elsewhere Top Ramen® soups are repeatedly thrown to the ground
    sounding like slaps to a face
    in violent preparation for devouring.
  Cacophony indeed.  
  Can’t hear the TV.
  I relinquish my unendowed seat.
©2010 Jonathan Andreas. All rights reserved. Written February 2010.