“I, Junkie”—a Correction and the Poem

In 2007 we published Bound Struggles #6, our occasional anthology of writing by prisoners, including two poems submitted by Elizabeth Cardona titled “Junkie” and “Prisoner”. Recently we learned of a poem by Jeffrey Bardo, “I, Junkie”, that appeared in the 2005 Journal of the Prison Arts Program, published by Community Partners in Action, a Connecticut organization. (See below for the cover of this edition and the page on which his poem appeared.) In comparing “Junkie” and “Prisoner” with Mr. Bardo’s poem, it is clear that his work was plagiarized.


We are glad to give Mr. Bardo the credit he deserves and to publish his poem.

~ ~ ~

I, junkie

  1. I, junkie
    Hopeless, Godless Hollow eyed and Gaunt
    Under cold violent moons, suns that always seemed too bright
    I was rabid.
    Foaming at the nose, chasing dragons, in search of the land of nod
    and the place where the angels sleep.
    Running, racing against myself
    and time and everything else.
    Telling, lying to myself that today I’m fixed but tomorrow I’ll quit —
    everyday until weeks turn to months to years
    yet tomorrow never comes…
  2. I, suspect
    But the police do. And sirens and the sound of keys. And the
    click click click of cuffs. Tomorrow has arrived with pain
    and so much more pain.
    And God. And Hope. So bittersweet.
    The cell is as cold as I am scared.
    In hindsight, God has me. The junkie’s dripping nose and
    runs are with me and I want to die.
    Close my eyes and never open them again.
    Just black.
    The cops are proud “well guys we sure made the streets safe
    from another drugdealing shoplifter.”
    The nights at the P.D. are hungry and
    all echoes.
    There is despondency yet God has my hand
    as he guides me to my larvae
    to mutate in my cocoon.
  3. I, prisoner
    My awakening to the prison.
    This place, a purgatory between never never land
    and the real world.
    Down in the gutter among
    the freaks, hustlers, faggot, dealers, murderers, thieves,
    Only those who were caught,
    I found myself. found truth, kindness, compassion.
    In with the Muslims, Nazis
    is where I began to listen to life’s poetry
    Calling, calling, calling.
    in the walls I was never alone
    yet lonely always.
    I became a man again. A son again. A father.
  4. I, father, I son
    The cocoon is opening. I am struggling
    to free myself. To mesomorph. The shedding
    of skin is painful. These new scales feel
    so foreign. Yet that’s good.
    I see my family,
    over the border of an endless table.
    My father and son are there
    and I am Icarus and Daedalus at once as they are.
    Even though my wings melted so close
    to the sun, I will one day soon give my
    boy his own. Am right now readying them,
    In my father’s soul is the epiphany
    that the gift is not the waxed feathers
    but in letting the child fail in his flight.
    My mother cries and I hold her hand
    as I dream silently of the day
    I rejoin the butterflies.
    After, as they drive, I go back to the cocoon
    to shed more skin.
  5. I, poet
    Fluttering, my wings feel incredible.
    Gorgeous they are. I say this not
    out of conceit, but wonder.
    I have exited the keep of the cocoon.
    From darkness to the brilliance of the garden.
    I am now alive.
    I junkie, I suspect, I prisoner,
    I father, I son, I man am now here.
    Everything before, the anguish, despair, the memories
    are all a requiem of my former life.
    From within the soot and ashes of
    this mass I am resurrected as a
    muse, jongleur, bard, Apollo.
    if ever I publish a word has no relevance.
    I now can see the songs in all things.
    The hymn of the sky
    The verses of light
    The ballads in the hands of all.
    I hear and sing the song of myself.
    I fell therefore… I love therefore…
    I hope therefore… I believe therefore…
    I am.
      – Jeffrey Bardo

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