if melvin ware...

by Paul Adkins


If Melvin Ware, Murdered Inmate, Had Granted an Interview to Reporters with The Buffalo News After the Attica Prison Rebellion, September 13th, 1971, He Might Have Said the Following:


Bet you didn’t know that for four days

we founded, governed, funded, and defended the smallest sovereign country on Earth.


Smaller than San Marino, The Vatican.

Bet you didn’t know I knew that.

Did you? I went to school.


White t-shirts standard issue to our army.

White towels wrapped around our heads

we thought would protect against the coming gas, the blows.


Praise The Lord and pass the pickaxes, handmade knives

we whetted on the machine shop’s grinding wheel.


Pass the storm-soaked Wonder Bread. Let pass

the bound hostages, up the catwalk stairs to balance and teeter

on the sunlight’s narrow scabbard.



Paul Adkins


                                                     contributor 2016 second edition


Los Angeles native. Poet, activist and author of Want Some Get Some and Bad Girls Burn SlowKensington, Pam Ward is currently promoting her play "I Didn't Survive Slavery For This" and writing her fourth novel, I'll Get You My Pretty, a historical memoir about her aunt, a suspect in The Black Dahlia murder.