All rights reserved-Chris Hancock


A hot, humid air sat of Williamsburg,
My daughter and I looked for the sheep
Hoping to break the rules
And get a touch of their nappy wool.

The texture, the oils,
It feels so nice,
But given the heat,
The sheep had taken a cool cover somewhere.

Our walk led us to the Gaol
Where no one stood guard,
So we figured it must be free
Looking to see prison condition ala 1700s.

I stepped into the cell,
The air even more still than outside,
The grain of the wood rough to the touch,
Unpleasant in its trendy architectural way.

A chain with cuffs was bolted into the wall,
A ring was similarly clad to the floor,
All to prevent debtors and criminals from escaping.
High tech cruelty for the time.

Standing in the box,
I felt the same oppressive weight
Of being in the freight cars within
The Holocaust Museum. Oppression feels the same everywhere.

In the courtyard, a family walked in,
I was struck by their vanilla
Wondering if they the felt the same as me,
A guy hating the injustice people put on each other.

Whether it’s criminals doing their thing
Or the authority that prosecutes them,
I left questioning why men and women
Persecute each other.

Is it insecurity,
Is it a failed gene,
Is an inability of evolution to keep up with social responsibility,
Or just good losing to evil all around?

We walked back into the June heat
A few minutes ahead of an afternoon thunderstorm,
And as we broke some law about beer consumption,
My mind jumped to the kids locked up in detention centers.

Glorified prisons,
Chain link on concrete in vacant Wal-Marts and such,
The heavy feelings returned to me
As the rain fell around us.

“Culture is the intersection of people and life itself. It’s how we deal with…”
Wendell Pierce

What seems to be right

Has little or no reason

Without common goals

Ole William Smith, Captain, Georgia Battalion,

Had a way with his words

Maybe, too, with his command

Because a couple of his charges

Took an opportunity to run

Which seems to be a common exercise

In 18th century Virginia

Patrick Duffy, an Irishman

With sleeves half worn

And a full face lost his spirit to fight

And deserted his post

As did Emanual Kelly, a country born wheelwright,

Who was very fond of liquor and while wearing the threads of despair

Hit the deserter’s runway

Together, their worth, posted at twenty dollars

Just like the well-spoken, albeit forked tongued, Will,

Who according to his owner’s poisoned advert

After a full life with this honorable family

And his lack of gratitude to his keepers

And his audacious thought that a man should be free

Took for the James River

Quite possibly with passes professing him a free man

Soldiers and slaves

Lives so tough

That getting away becomes a singular thought

Running the only option

Could it be that oppression and domination

Are not really how we are supposed to live

Could it be that running away

Is as much a strength as fighting or cruelty

Wars of independence

Wars on terror


Involuntary servitude

Shady business practices

Limited thinking


Each a thought bound to the William Smiths of history


“That’s it”

“A better way”

“This is crazy”

Are thoughts for full faced Irishmen,

Liqoured up wheelwrights, men fit for freedom, and

All of us folks

Preferring peace and respect

To the current state of affairs