The State Insane Asylum
Aged and weather tarnished
Red brick buildings obscure
Little picnic tables scattered
Among trees where strategically
Located an Administration Building
Arises with a three-story
Bell tower and white columns.
Then, focusing more sharply
Appears a convenient warehouse,
Refrigeration units from World War II, and
Several one story ranch style ward buildings
With a gymnasium singular and oddly
The State Highway is a mile away the
Area filled in by dilapidated residential
No hills. No people. No water. No funny business.
The inmates walk around and a couple of
Security cars patrol.
I was in L-Ward where inside
Was a women’s ward and a men’s ward.
Nurses stations abut a great white marble floor
Thirty foot ceiling hall. A T.V., a typewriter,
A refrigerator with a kitchen in back
Are accessible. You wouldn’t say penitentiary or
Manufacturer ; but, you would say austere
And cyclone fence and you would want
Just Another Hero
I’ve had another bad dream.
Where the test results are in.
I sit at my desk, still half asleep.
I’m not a locked up lunatic.
My girl isn’t stolen.
I’m not dumb.
My money wasn’t stolen.
There’s no hot pursuit.
No evil family.
No beguiling friends.
The gas station. The cash drawer.
Always surreal, like a dense fog.
The T.V. is on. The court room packed.
Another poem, “Just Another Poem”
I’m full of bullet holes.
Homeless and Poor.
No car. No sex.
Walking twenty miles where I can flop.
Boxes and U-Haul.
Sleep and Eat. Sleep and Eat.
Then dream again…
An action packed gas station.
The courtroom with judge asleep.
The jury adjourned.
Lawyers combing their hair.
Waking up fully now to spend
My day with three-hundred pound old people
On motorized scooters, high on medication.
With a quack, quack here
And a quack, quack there.
Everywhere a quack, quack.
911 quack, quack.
I’ll take it like a man, though.
No one to talk to
No one to cry with.
Heartbeats from a broken heart.
Waiting to die and go quack.
The Salvation Army
A huge van picks us up, secures our
Money buckets and tapes the ringer
On our little bells.
Competition is fierce. I come in Sixth.
A fat Santa Claus man first.
We’re congratulated, almost elf like.
Giggle. And go home.
Like hungry lions we’re
Careful next day and don’t get
Too close. We keep an eye on our bucket.
And it gets cold. Depressing.
Facetiously displaying joy.
Scrooge like counting pennies and nickels.
Ho! Ho! Ho!
Then oddly we all really laugh.
When several ringers
Are gone one night. Bucket and all.
A skeleton tripod remains.
A crew of martyrs and misfits.
Waiting outside a door.
A driver who is at least
A Captain in the Salvation Army.
Sandusky graduated from Texas Tech University in 1968-a B.A. in English. He then got an M.A. in English from the University of Wisconsin and a law degree (J.D. l975) from the same school. Divorce followed as did commitment to, first, the private psychiatric hospital, Timberlawn, in Dallas, and , later, the State Mental Asylum in Terrell , Texas. He petitioned for habeas corpus, claiming a violation of his constitutional rights. Upon release, he got a job at Exxon/Mobil where he worked twenty years as a cashier-nightman. You can view his work on his official website here.