The Crowd

by Christian J. Weaver

The corpses of my former selves
Are yawning in the waves.
They bob and float like slimy logs;
Their fish-expressions gaze
With mute surprise at all the rest:
It’s crowded nowadays!




Christian J. Weaver, who is currently incarcerated, has been writing rhymed poetry since the early 1990’s. From 2006-2011, his opinion column, “The Pen and the Sword”, appeared in The Only Voice, an award-winning prison newspaper. His work has been published in Parnassus, Wild Violet, Struggle, and POEM, and in 2009 he was published in an anthology called Too cruel, Not Unusual Enough by the Other Death Penalty Project. One of his recent poems, “Torn”, is slated to appear in The Storyteller this year, and he recently had an epigram accepted by The Society of Classical Poets.

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11 Responses

  1. Joe Tessitore

    A powerful and insightful image to wake one up on a Sunday morning, or any morning, for that matter.
    Well-done, Mr. Weaver.

  2. Susan Jarvis Bryant

    This poem packs a potent punch in its brevity. The vivid, haunting imagery and pinch of wry humor in the closing line make for an affecting and entertaining piece that will stay with me long after leaving this page. Just one question. Should “yawning” be “yawing”? Either way, the image is excellent. Thank you, Mr. Weaver.

  3. James A. Tweedie

    “Fish expressions” and “mute surprise” are very effective images. For some reason I picture myself shedding my past like snakeskin. “The old has passed away; behold, the new has come.”

    Come to think of it, I also find it encouraging to think that my dead past no longer speaks. A powerful image, indeed.

    Welcome to the SCP, Christian.

  4. Frank De Canio

    Great stuff, Christian! It packs a powerful punch indeed. The closure is evocative in its brevity, and the rhyme scheme mimics its feeling of constraint. It’s a poem also in this time of

  5. Bruce E. Wren

    Striking little poem with great use of the double metaphor of “former lives,” or the memories of these, for “slimy logs” with “fish-expressions.” I would love to see more of the works of this author.

  6. Rod Walford

    Well done Christian – this is the semantic iron fist in a velvet glove.
    I look forward to reading more of your work.

  7. C.B. Anderson


    What the hell were you found guilty of? I didn’t know that anything was illegal in Tennessee. Seriously, though, the compression manifested in this poem, despite the tenuous nature of some of the material connections from one raw image to the next, should end any literate person’s infatuation with red wheelbarrows or white chickens.

    • Joe Tessitore


      Your question reminds me of an encounter Mrs. T and I had with a Department of Corrections official two, maybe three ago.

      NYC had just opened its Potters Field to the public and we signed up for the tour. It’s located on an otherwise inaccessible little island just north of the city and we were curious to take a look.

      It turns out that the DEC runs the Cemetery, and the police captain who gave our tour told us that non-violent prison inmates from the NYC prison system do the burials.

      I asked him what kinds of crimes they committed and he told me “turnstile-jumping, things like that.”.

      Stunned, I turned to Mrs. T and asked “They put people in jail for that?”.

      How very quickly times change!

  8. Jeremy

    Well, rend the young fool’s flesh from these old-mans bones. You still have it my friend.


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