Creative Commons License

Republish our articles for free, online or in print, under a Creative Commons license.

Close-up of the nozzle of a black spray can
Photo by iStock

The DOC antichrist, Black Jesus in a can so big it has wheels

like a chariot drawn by stormtroopers with us underneath their heels.

His advent to enlighten,

collective punishment to tighten,

the grip of anxiety to frighten

his subjects to mindless conformity.

All of us punished for one man wrestling with a CO trying to clear his phone.

Didn’t want “the man” to know who he’s talking to back home.

Now he’s jacked in the box while we catch spray.

On fire, lockers tossed,

property lost,

irreplaceable photos thrown away.

My three-year-old’s handprint in a letter gone missing that day.

“So y'all wanna put yo hands on the Poe-lease,” the sergeant crows.

But the one who did that’s in a box, not even here to see how this crap goes.

Men who simmer like pressure cookers for the deeds they’ve done

now explode with righteous indignation when you’ve got the wrong one.

Aerosol fire showers,

seconds last for hours.

When will the burning stop?

What’s wrong with that clock?

I heard the tick; where’s the tock?

So even if you could walk on water, that won’t cut it anymore.

Red spray on us, our racks, the walls and floor.

They closed the value for the H2O; can’t flush the toilets, showers, sinks,

just growing pools of snot, spit, tears, sweat and stink.

There’s no use searching, the whole building has gone dry

except for the canteen holy water wise men kept to wash their eyes.

Black Jesus for the Black can, coming to a neighborhood near you.

You really think he’ll be satisfied to stop with us when he’s through?

Black Jesus in a can, 70 victims, none guilty,

but it’s all right, they’re all convicts, incarcerated and filthy.

Equal justice, corporate punishment, everybody gets theirs.

OK, you’re right, let’s keep this fair.

Your neighbor is caught speeding, the whole block gets a fine.

Your sheriff is a rapist, the whole county does time.

Now hold on, stop that, it doesn’t happen that way.

Really, come see how we are treated every day.

He will leave no atheist in his wake, everybody praying.

No lack of faith or lost souls, no broken promises betraying

the DOC antichrist, one of infamy, not of fame.

When he burns you down to ashes, you too will call his name.


Note from the poet: Florida corrections officers carry an extremely potent pepper spray in a black canister. That spray is known as “Black Jesus.”

Disclaimer: The views in this article are those of the author. Global Forum Online has verified the writer’s identity and basic facts such as the names of institutions mentioned.

Al Padgett is a poet incarcerated in Florida.