PRISON MOON

Four a.m. work duty,
and I begin my solitary trudge
from outer compound to main building.

A shivering guard chilled in his lonely supremacy,
strip searches me until content that my nude threats
are inconsequential and whispers the secret code that
allows me admittance into the open quarter-mile walkway.

I chuff my way into another day as ice glints on the
razor wire and the rifles note my numbed passage,
silent but for my huffs and scuffles on the cracked,
slippery sidewalk. As new moon, veiled in wispy fog
and be ringed in glory, hangs over the prison, its gaudy
glow taunting the halogen spotlights.

The moon's creamy pull upsets some liquid equilibrium
within me and like tides, wolves, and all manner of
madmen, I surrender.

Surely somewhere an unbound sleeper stirs, disturbed
by the certainty that under the bony luminescence of a
grinning moon penitence has died a giddy death as the
lunar deliriums grip me and I howl - once, then again.

I shake myself sane and as the echoes hand in the
frigid air I explain to the wild-eyed guard that
convicts, like all animals under the leash, must bay
at the beauty beyond them.

By; Jorge Antonio Renaud

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Athens Review Online

Prison inmate takes top prize at TVCC contest By Brian Spurling

Judges in the annual Trinity Valley Community College Paddock Poetry Contest read more than 200 poems of love won and lost, death and childhood memories, but it was a walk in a prison compound that captured their attention.

Jorge Antonio Renaud of Tennessee Colony won the first place award with "Prison Moon." A second poem "This Time, This Time" also garnered special recognition.

Renaud was unable to accept his award when winners were announced Wednesday night. He is still living the life that inspired his poetry as an inmate of the Coffield Unit in Anderson County. But his words touched the judges, and as read by guest poet Michael Guinn, touched the audience.

"I'm so glad he had the courage to go ahead and send in his poems," contest coordinator Charlotte Renk said. "The judges were unanimous about this. This is just a very professional effort, very publishable."

The contest was open to all current and past TVCC students and residents within a 100-mile radius of the college. The judges awarded 10 prizes for the top poems - first, second and third, and seven honorable mentions - each earning the poets cash awards.

Kayla Vincent of Eustace won second place with "I Want to Draw you in Pencil," and Alice Hale of Athens won third place with "My Photograph Album." Judges also gave special recognition to Hale's "Empty Nest."

Honorable mention award winners were Courtney Hoelting of Malakoff, Brittney Brown, Brandon Gibbons of Rosser, Jennifer Hill, Jennifer Jesse of Palestine, Kay Porter of Scurry and Janis Rooks.

"We had a lot of excellent poetry entered in the contest," Renk said. "I'm so pleased that so many wanted to share what was in their hearts with us."

The winners were announced during TVCC's Literary Festival and Poetry Contest. In addition to the announcement and reading of the winning poems, the event featured local artists and TVCC alumni Patrice Walker, author of "When Water was Free", and singer/songwriter Don Andrews, as well as competitive "slam" poet Michael Guinn of Fort Worth.

The following is the winning poem:
Prison Moon

TPPW Exhibit




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