“Never have I written a letter this long-or should I say a book? I'm afraid that it is much too long to take your precious time. I can assure you that it would have been much shorter if I had been writing from a comfortable desk, but what else is there to do when you are alone for days in the dull monotony of a narrow jail cell other than write long letters, think strange thoughts, and pray long prayers.”

            - Martin Luther King, Jr.
"Letter from Birmingham City Jail"

Hollow Order is a poetic expression of prison, and the state of prisoner. Prisoner theory was created in part to give context to my poetry.

I have spent the last 10 years in school learning how to talk about the world I see. Everyday, every moment trying to solve the riddle of the prisoner class. And I know this is only the beginning.

I know it must start with one person turning to their neighbor and giving a hand. Coming together to solve our common problems and share our common fears-because together we can build a better tomorrow instead of destroying the moment.
I wrote prisoner theory because I wanted to be free, but what's more, I wrote it so you will be free.

I wrote prisoner theory because I love you.

Hollow Order is prison mixed alchemically with everyone. It is the trinary of experience, of the moment. It is my testament to the dark center of America.

Please hear
my long prayers.

ars poetica
- from hollow order
- from hollow order
hollow order
long prayers

Prison is place to others. Those
eager for what must come next. They too are
hopeless at prayer.

i never knew the words.
Magic incantations.
One less warm breath.

Fish me here

Below is concrete
iron bar
lyme washed

tastes of mint paste
give nothing but synonymous

i was alone.


his chest falls
in our cell.

             - from hollow order












setting the stage
dear parole board:

Allow me a voice. Words mixed, alchemically-tossed against this page. An effort, an explanation. One chance to glue together the sand slipping between my fingers. i digress.

They have given me time. Calendars form this jacket, shielded inside man bramble, wedged next to silent ghosts. Branded, i now look empty, wrapping white bread tight in toilet tissue. Kept along the wall, an army of condiment packs and soap sculpture.

My bunk, well made, demonstrates-i am. Wholesome games, Bible verses Stephen King, hair neat, clean clothes. Dreams put off, new program, programming for a productive someday. i've one cross out of golf pencils. i am holy.

pete, my cellmate, calls me able. You know him. he offered the knife. Pledged to cut off your rubber tit, drink coffee from it. i am so many things: soldier, liar, petty one, thief. But i am not pete. My sin is less, different, precise.

Please, don't let me fall. Dizziness follows me now. My people think of me fondly, Michelle thinks of me fondly, wants my laughter. It is enough. No new lesson can be calculated. No more flesh cut from the bone. No hard limit left for me here. i know now hollow order.


brian edward malnes

Copyright © 2014 by brian edward malnes - All Rights reserved - E-mail: brian@prisonertheory.com
this moment is a prisoner moment

please, for this moment put yourself in prison

sit comfortably on the floor, your head several feet from a blank wall

look at this small space of wall for 30 minutes. keep your mind as blank as the wall

no sound, save the beating of your heart, the ticking of a clock, the distant hum of

everything on the other side of the wall in front of you

this is a prisoner moment

please, turn the page

- opening to hollow order
**meet the author

pete's alibi