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Hard Time

Updated on September 30, 2014

By: Wayne Brown


The days come and they go seemingly in constant sameness

Time don’t mean nothing no more; it’s passing is so painless

Locked here inside this prison cell doing life without parole

Time for me is almost at a standstill; I wonder will I grow old


First here at seventeen, my reward at the end of a criminal path

 On the fifth of next month I’ll turn fifty-five; you can do the math

You can’t predict your own life hard as you might ever try

But I know already that it’s here I’ll be on the day I die



A rack of bars and three metal walls; not a window in the place

There’s barely room for one in here but two share this space

Hard timers, that’s what we’re called; them that come; never leave

We wear the badge with honor like stripes sewn on a soldier’s sleeve



The isolation inside these walls is enough to drive good men mad

Maybe it’s a fitting thing for those whose life has turned out bad

It’s not for me to say how much pain and suffering there should be

Nothing else much matters when a jury says you are no longer free



Men come here mean as a snake all ready to pounce and pound

Soon they meet meaner ones who have ways to calm them down

Those who say they have seen it all have never been long in jail

Some been here longer than me and have watched the weaker fail



There’s no one here that I call friend; not a one in all these years

So when I grow old and die, they won’t miss me or shed any tears

I am man among many men; just humans, normal flesh and bone

But we are different than mankind; though together, we’re alone



Those who once loved me gave up on me years back down the line

Many have gone to the promise land; long since done their time

The folks past on long ago and others long since forgot I was here

Memories are all that are left now and most of those aren’t clear



Some men break and cry like babies begging to just be set free

When I hear it I turn away, I’ll not cry; begging is not for me

I’ll not break down and lose control only to beg for my reprieve

I’ll do my time and when its done, in a black hearse I will leave




©Copyright WBrown2011. All Rights Reserved.


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    • Wayne Brown profile imageAUTHOR

      Wayne Brown 

      7 years ago from Texas

      @Houa Lor....The words just came to me. I have not done any hard time myself but I tried to put myself inside the mind of people who had and this was what came out of it. So glad you liked it! WB

    • Houa Lor profile image

      Houa Lor 

      7 years ago from Minnesota

      I really liked this one. It's written with such honest truth.

    • Wayne Brown profile imageAUTHOR

      Wayne Brown 

      7 years ago from Texas

      @saddlerider1...Prison, for some people, seems to be the only society they are comfortable in for any length of time. They seem to need a place that not only forbids them but stops them from doing anything wrong. What a shame. Glad you dodged that bullet, Ken! WB

    • saddlerider1 profile image


      7 years ago

      Like they say, if you can't serve the time don't do the crime. Many a men/woman have lost their lease on life and end up behind bars. I am familiar with prison life, I did not do time, but my old man did and for many years.

      I also have friends in jail, some made it out and a few are still there as lifers. I was saved early in my life, and believe me I was heading there myself. I am very thankful for people who intervened early in my life and saved me. Great scribe my friend, rated UP..

    • RealHousewife profile image

      Kelly Umphenour 

      7 years ago from St. Louis, MO

      LOL! I read that and I'm really looking forward to following that to the end:-)

    • Wayne Brown profile imageAUTHOR

      Wayne Brown 

      7 years ago from Texas

      @RealHousewife...Super! I'll look for it tomorrow. Gonna send you a link soon. WB

    • RealHousewife profile image

      Kelly Umphenour 

      7 years ago from St. Louis, MO

      Thank you WB! The shirt was designed by our own Austinstar:-)!

      Yes - you're right again! I was thinking, interestingly enough after I read this that people in jail seem to become bigger readers after they are put in a cell. Too bad!

      I finished the new hub, but I'm really tired today so I'm going to read it over again after a good nights sleep. There is a really happy ending to it to:-). TY!

    • Wayne Brown profile imageAUTHOR

      Wayne Brown 

      7 years ago from Texas

      @RealHousewife...Thank you! Yes it would be nice if we could find a way to help that easily. Young minds are hard to get inside unless they respect you greatly. I guess that is the words written by Merle Haggard in "Mama Tried" are oh so true. By the way...nice pic! WB

    • RealHousewife profile image

      Kelly Umphenour 

      7 years ago from St. Louis, MO

      This is awesome WB. I was thinking, it's really too bad that some people couldn't read somthing like this prior to committing the criminal act. It might make some think twice about that.

    • Wayne Brown profile imageAUTHOR

      Wayne Brown 

      7 years ago from Texas

      @Granny's House...Thank you. You can write like me. Just let your emotions go, be a bit brave and have courage...the words will come. WB

      @Genna East...That is a sobering thought. Once one is in prison, there's no hiding from the culture that prevades it. To be there a lifetime is unthinkable. Thanks for the great words Genna. WB

    • Genna East profile image

      Genna East 

      7 years ago from Massachusetts, USA

      Very moving Wayne. An ex-con once told me that what you don't know when you enter prison, you know by the time you leave. It was a grim statement that gave me chills. Up and awesome for this compelling poem.

    • Granny's House profile image

      Granny's House 

      7 years ago from Older and Hopefully Wiser Time

      Wayne, fantastic. I sure do wish I could write like you and some of the other great writers on hub pages.

    • Wayne Brown profile imageAUTHOR

      Wayne Brown 

      7 years ago from Texas

      @Qualitynoob...Yes, it must be sad when that realization does take place and the chains are already locked in place. Thanks much. WB

      @drbj...So true, nobody plans to go to prison but they do apparently due to a lack of a plan. Thanks much. WB

      @The Frog Prince...Well thank you so much. I am glad that it impressed you so much. I am but a humble poet just making my rhymes. LOL! WB

    • The Frog Prince profile image

      The Frog Prince 

      7 years ago from Arlington, TX

      One of the best things I've read that spilled from your brain, down your arm into your pen and onto paper.

      Terrific job Wayne. Absolutely beautiful work.

      The Frog

    • drbj profile image

      drbj and sherry 

      7 years ago from south Florida

      This was all so real and believable, Wayne, but unfortunately those who might benefit from reading it probably never will.

    • Qualitynoob profile image


      7 years ago

      Very nice. I could feel the pain of when someone finally realized and it was to late to change. Deep Felt Wayne very nice.

    • Wayne Brown profile imageAUTHOR

      Wayne Brown 

      7 years ago from Texas

      @tnderhrt23...Thank you, I was hoping that I could...hope you enjoyed the chills! LOL! WB

    • profile image


      7 years ago

      Wayne, you sure nailed this one! Gave me chills!

    • Wayne Brown profile imageAUTHOR

      Wayne Brown 

      7 years ago from Texas

      @thebluestar...So true, Annette. We never fear what we cannot see and what I might see holds no fear for you. Getting a message into a young head is a very difficult thing. As cruel as some believe prison life is, it represents accountability for one's actions. Those sentence to 'life' normally have committed crimes far to hideous to ever be back in society and as you point out, look at how many of them have little or no remorse. What a shame. Thanks much! WB

    • thebluestar profile image

      Annette Donaldson 

      7 years ago from Northern Ireland

      Beautifully written Wayne, but how many of those hardened criminals ever really feel that way? We learn that many of them spare no remorse for their crimes, so why should they care who acknowledges them? If only they could read your poem before they do the crime you may reach a small minority of them, remind them to take a second thought before they leap. You should be a counsellor Wayne, and you would help many I know, with your compassion.

    • Wayne Brown profile imageAUTHOR

      Wayne Brown 

      7 years ago from Texas

      @Cardisa...Your words tell me that I have projected what I wanted the reader to hear. Thank you so much for those good words and I am so glad this verse made an impression with you. WB

    • Cardisa profile image

      Carolee Samuda 

      7 years ago from Jamaica

      Wayne,you got me there. I have a very vivid imagination and that poem was so powerful that it makes me want to be a very law abiding citizen all over. I can imagine the men in jail and those that will never see the streets again.

      Very powerful and beautiful at the same time. Well done. Great Poem.

    • Wayne Brown profile imageAUTHOR

      Wayne Brown 

      7 years ago from Texas

      @Lady_Tenaz...Sorry this strikes so close to home for you. I try to project myself into those things that I write about so that I can give the reader some sense of it. I hope that I have hit that mark here but not having experienced it for myself, I really do not know. Thanks much! WB

      @Poohgranma...It certainly is such a shame that so many have committed crimes in their youth which have locked them away for life. Still, some of them are not repentant in their attitude even now. Then again, I am not sure some of them are really mentally stable...look at Charlie Manson. WB

      @WillStarr...You are right, Will. You do the crime, you do the time. That's what we call accountability. What a shame so many young people fail to grasp accountability prior to launching into crime. Thanks much! WB

      @Truckstop Sally...I knew you were kidding. Hell, the cops stop me the first day my inspection stickers go out of date on my car...I just look guilty all the time! LOL! WB

      @mckbirdbks...Thank you so much. So glad you enjoyed it. WB

      @breakfastpop...Thanks Poppy...I drew on my prison experience! LOL! WB

      @angie ashbourne...Thank you. Glad you stopped by and hope you come back! WB

    • profile image

      angie ashbourne 

      7 years ago

      Good Work Wayne Angie

    • breakfastpop profile image


      7 years ago

      So well done and so raw and moving. Up and awesome.

    • mckbirdbks profile image


      7 years ago from Emerald Wells, Just off the crossroads,Texas

      You captured this, dark isolation, very well.

    • Truckstop Sally profile image

      Truckstop Sally 

      7 years ago

      Goodness. This is a hard one to read. Lives thrown away. People don't remember or care about them. What a lonely feeling - though together, we’re alone

      You know I was kidding in your Small Town Jobs/Waffle House story when I said I thought I could get away with something. Nothing at all is worth Hard Time.

    • WillStarr profile image


      7 years ago from Phoenix, Arizona

      Great work Wayne.

      Unfortunately, most of those behind prison walls are exactly where they should be. They are hard criminals who will never change.

    • Poohgranma profile image


      7 years ago from On the edge

      Whoa, this was really moving. It's hard to think there are actually innocent men and women doing time and those so young when the crime was committed they weren't even dry behind the ears yet. Very, very good wrting!

    • profile image


      7 years ago

      This was a great poem although it is a sad truth. I can relate to this because my brother is doing life in prison and many of my old friends from my younger years lived the institutionalized way of life and either ended up doing life or dead. This one hit me hard. Thanks for sharing it with us!


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