COVID Prison Testimonies: Parish Brown

February 19, 2021
by Parish Brown
Pennsylvania Dept. of Corrections

I wrote this poem in the beginning of this COVID pandemic. My first thought was, will I see my mother again? My second thought was, I should be safe because the only way I could get it is through the staff and the DOC is going to take extra care of their staff, right? But I was wrong. The COVID entered the prison as fast as the convicts that is housed in it. Before I even felt the symptoms of COVID it attacked my mental health. Everything I did became excessive. I washed my hands so much that my skin started to pull off around my fingernails. Cleaning my cell went from two times a day to five times a day. With only an hour for rec, I took a half hour shower. I did all of that and still caught COVID. I couldn’t eat for the first five days. I found out after I went to the hospital that I had pneumonia. I thought that I wasn’t going to make it because mentally I wasn’t prepared to fight it. I pulled through because I didn’t want my family to remember me for this. I have a higher purpose and through my poetry you’ll hear my voice. I still have doubts, but I won’t let them get in the way of what I need to say. For those of you who are on the inside like me, don’t give up fighting because you have a voice that someone needs to hear. My book is called, “Thoughts from a Prison Cell.” Coming soon. Thank you for your time.

C-19

Everyday awake I fear the next,
Is this my last breath or is it just a test?
6 feet isn’t mature enough for me to feel secure,
I’m lost in my own mind just knowing what the last
Person may have endured.

Even after these chains and bars I’m still incarcerated,
Even after I fix my flaws you can’t anticipate it.
Feel my frustration as I run out of patience,
Smell my fear as if C-19 has a fragrance.
Even with a light cough or a rough sneeze,
I’d be lying if I said I’m not afraid to breathe.

Expressions of uncertainty covered by the mask,
But as I walk by you already know not to ask,
Too much time has gone by without a laugh,
For this ripple effect attacks my better half.

This to shell past is my only hope,
While I figure out a way to cope.

Each mood brings subconscious mood swings,
With anger you tend to lose things.

Outbreaks increase, heartaches repeats itself,
Like a drum that beats itself.

Is this the new normal, fear and rage?
Is this my next chapter or is it my last page?

By Above Real

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