On Death Row in Texas
The beast within prowls in my cage.
Hard bars do break,
Echo in my wake,
The screams of tearing steel.
I’ve tried to lay
To rest
This angry, vengeful spirit,
Each time, flashes of light
Lance in, scarring my flesh,
High childish chatter-and laughter-
The echoing clatter of
Fools who just don’t know
Or care, I was…once?...
Human, now only mad!
The sandman comes, and leaves
The world in half-formed images
Of dust, scattered shadows, restless
Dreams billow the footfall
Like the dust of bones
The ghost of civilization, past.
My new mad fancy
To lay the world to rest…
(to slay the world, and rest)
To Rest.
The monster, within, growls at the cage,
The shadows break and flee
For darkness, light peers in,
Pierces me, I growl,
nothing half as savage as my war cry, “Damn Them All!! I’m only human!!!”
Human..human..who’s man? Human.
The rage lifts
And leave
Just a man
In the darkness
Trying to sleep
Dying for sleep
“Let me rest!”

Richard Cartwright
September 3, 2003