Peter Collins

Two poems from prison

“System Collapse” (Insurgents Greed)

No bullet, no sword, nor anything formed,
nothing short of a category 4 storm,
Could ever kill an Indian that’s immortal,
If apocalypse hit today, I’ll be alive tomorrow,
I’ll out-live Love, I’ll out-live sorrow,
Might die before God, but never the devil. 

 

Untitled

If I had an ally                   in every alley
And an enemy                   on every street
I’d face my fears              in the valley
And laugh at defeat       on the peaks.

 

Author’s note on “Untitled”:
You can read this poem in more than one way. It’s like a Rubik’s cube. I was in a really dark place when I wrote this poem. I spent six months in solitary confinement up in Stony Mountain Max for smashing a toaster right by a correctional officer’s head. During my time in the hole, serving a 22-hour-a-day lock-up, I went insane. I smashed my television, I lit my cell on fire, I broke off my fire sprinkler, I assaulted another correctional officer. And I inflicted multiple lacerations upon my forearms and upper right arm that resulted in over 100 stitches. But this beautiful poem came forth from out of all the darkness that I was hiding in.

Levi Waldbillig is a poet who grew up in Melfort, Saskatchewan in the foster care system. He’s incarcerated in the Regina Provincial Correctional Centre. He is reconnecting to his Indigenous culture, and hopes to become a writer or a teacher.

Tags:   abolition indigenous mental health prisons

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