There is something morbid

About the bright orange jumpers

Worn by inmates

Like fluorescent blood

Smeared over the remains

Of a crime scene

Sins annulled

By concealment

If only color could


The darkness within


When I was a child

I went to the first

Of many funerals

My uncle came wearing

His shocking veneer

Like a Chinese paper lantern

He came with armed guards

And shades of violence

Reflected in heavy chains


If only he’d had a mask

So I wouldn’t have seen

His bladed grin

Or his face laid out

In merciless lines

He’d raped a 16 year old girl


By the act of defilement

He stood proud


My father pushed me

In his direction

I tripped forward

In compulsory greeting

The officers’ hands

On the hilts

Of concealed weapons

As he wrapped

The chains around

My reticent frame


I became cadaverous in his arms

Ponderous and mute

Not even a whispered breath

I don’t remember his words

For the pulse

Of my rampant heart

Only the choked sobs of relief

When, under threat,

He released


true story


36 thoughts on “Tainted Orange

  1. I am so saddened that some young boy/girl had to go through that…and the cruel father was the worst, blood is truly thicker than water…..A chilling, strong portrayal and deep questions asked….moving even if depressing. 🙂

  2. I wore that tainted orange once but still find this poem very interesting. Seems you’ve shed light upon a few moments in time most would rather forget.

    1. My uncle was a sociopath and he was there for raping a minor, which he did not see as a crime. Actually he felt it was her fault and the he was the one suffering injustice, so in my story I guess I am talking about the more deranged class of criminals. I am not sure what your crime was and perhaps its an experience that you were able to learn from but I don’t think he could learn anything since he saw his actions as normal behavior. Thank you for reading

  3. Your poem says everything you just replied. Remarkable writing. I’ve heard it said greatest is benefiting from experiences that usually drive others mad.

  4. I meant to say greatness nevertheless, your poem is great because it not only moves people on one side of the fence but it also moves people on the other side of the fence.
    You commented on my blog but my reply thing doesn’t work so I want to thank you for your very insightful comments.

  5. Geez, I was posting lighthearted, fun stuff last week and you’re struggling with these memories. What a time for us to meet each other…

    Still, you’ve left me with a haunting vision, and I thank you for that. It’s not all fun and games, but sometimes, the fun makes everything else easier to deal with. I hope.

  6. Guess you’ll have to dig out all the compassion in your heart and all the empathy and then forgive. Even writing it out like you have done here..intensely and personally, may not quite pull out the fear and hate . Wish him well, wish that he sees where he went wrong. That’s the only way he will stop suffering and that’s the only way you will stop remembering.

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