Bill Livingston

Photo Requests from Death Row

Frankie, Inmate 27388, San Quentin—
wants a photo of his favorite band, Def Leppard
onstage, as if it were taken last night.

Isabella, Inmate 77429, Denver Women’s Correctional Facility—
wants a photo of her family sitting around
a big pan of their famous, freshly-made tamales
that made them the heroes of their barrio.

Miguel, Inmate 127281, Corcoran State Prison—
wants a photo of his pit bull, Apollo, running
with a pack of grey wolves through an evergreen
forest under the watchful eye of the full moon.

Lori, Inmate 389772, Coffee Creek Correctional Facility—
wants a photo of her parents in front of a stone mansion,
holding bags of money, next to an elephant, ready to
take them wherever they wish.

Angel, Inmate 113483, Kentucky State Penitentiary—
wants a photo of a rose gold Rolls Royce Phantom
parked on top of the attorney who fucked him—the
wife he murdered at the wheel.

James, Inmate 834711, Florida State Prison—
wants a photo of a wall with a rainbow painted on it.
Maybe some running horses painted on, as well.

Gregory, Inmate 417332, Oregon State Penitentiary—
wants a photo of a parade celebrating the abolishment
of prisons, most importantly, the repeal of the death penalty.
Extra creativity with the computer may be involved.

Martin, Inmate 663920, Ely State Prison—
doesn’t want a photo. He wants the photographer
to call him, write him letters, visit him if he’s in
the area, give him a sense of worth that his estranged
tribe denies him. If that’s not possible, then just
a photo of the photographer’s face—male or female—
a smile bigger than Mona Lisa’s.

Bill Livingston, originally from Altoona, PA, is a poet, humorist, advertising copywriter and photographer who has been published in FLARE: The Flagler Review, The Literary Hatchet, The Loch Raven Review, Danse Macabre, TreeHouse, Flipside, New Verse News, Radius and Brooklyn Poets Anthology. He is a supporting member of The Poetry Project and an original member of Brooklyn Poets, where he was named “Yawper of the Year – 2018”. He lives in Brooklyn, NY with his wife, his twin, teenage daughters and a chug named Penny.