American Gulag

A re-post from February 2015


A concrete room seven by twelve

measured by feet

placed one in front of the other

in the straight line I have walked for decades.


Concrete furniture permanently arranged

table, chair, bed

I have no right

to move furniture anymore.


Red metal door with opaque window

just a slot to pass the food

I will always eat alone.

I have no right to conversation or company.


Cameras watch me dark and light

even on the low water toilet

lest I try to escape to the next world.

Low water lest I drown myself.


I used to play with myself

while they watched

but not anymore.

It’s no fun when you can no longer imagine.


My room is sound proof

No window to the outside

There is no outside.

Twenty three hours a day with nothing to do

save penance.


I hear no one

I see no one

Nothing to fill the void.

but the sound of my breathing and heartbeat.


I am exercised one hour a day

at the bottom of a concrete pool

under a tiny piece of sky

surrounded by concrete walls.

No birds fly over this place.


I don’t know where I am

I am kept in a room at this hotel.

I’ve never seen the other guests

though I am kept alive by someone.


If I don’t eat

the tube goes up my nose to keep me healthy;

prolong my living.

Why do they want me to live?


I can no long remember my mother’s face

or the love of a woman or green grass

I can no longer remember the color green

There is no existence save the electronic zoo.

And there is no green.


Stalin would have been more merciful


He might have simply worked me to death

under a forest canopy in Siberia

I might have died in Spring

in the arms of others

still with the memory of my mother’s face

the love of a woman

the color green.


Shoot me.



About toritto

I was born during year four of the reign of Emperor Tiberius Claudius on the outskirts of the empire in Brooklyn. I married my high school sweetheart, the girl I took to the prom and we were together for forty years until her passing in 2004. We had four kids together and buried two together. I had a successful career in Corporate America (never got rich but made a living) and traveled the world. I am currently retired in the Tampa Bay metro area and live alone. One of my daughters is close by and one within a morning’s drive. They call their pops everyday. I try to write poetry (not very well), and about family. Occasionally I will try a historical piece relating to politics. :-)
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3 Responses to American Gulag

  1. GP Cox says:

    Stalin would not have been more merciful and you didn’t tell the reader what you did to get in there – or did I miss something?


  2. beetleypete says:

    I missed this the first time, so thanks for the re-post, Frank.
    Powerful stuff, and informative too. I did think it was just licence plates…
    Best wishes, Pete.


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