Forty years after the late musician Johnny Cash performed “Folsom Blues” in the Folsom Prison Library, his daughter returns and meets GMP poet Spoon Jackson.
Rosanne Cash almost tripped as she stepped into Folsom Prison Library, escorted by CDC special forces and media. I stood at the door at the back of the library as she passed by.
Ms Cash opened the gathering with how grateful and honored she was to be here, here where her father the late Johnny Cash had performed “Folsom Blues” , some 40 years earlier. She choked with love and realness as she spoke of how honored she was and then she blessed the crowd of prisoners, free staff, guards, media and prison officials with one of her original songs. Then Rosanne asked for us to share and they asked me, a poet to be the first prisoner to perform.
I walked through the crowd to the stage area and introduced myself to Rosanne. I gathered up my nerve and realness and performed “No Beauty in Cellbars” and when I looked back at Rosanne, she had her hand to her heart, she was all choked up, trying to catch her breath, as I began to say; my next poem will be “Beauty in Cell Bars”. Rosanne said; “wait, I am still taking in the imagery, beauty and power of the first poem!” I paused a few moments and read “Beauty in Cell Bars”.
Rosanne compared my work, my images to Whitman and Roethke! What an honor to be mentioned in the same breath as such giant poets.
The in house blues band played a couple of tunes and Rosanne held a question and answer period. She closed with a song of her father’s.
This was previously published on the Spoon Jackson Realness Network.
Image credit: duchessofyourke/Wikipedia