Previously on Spirit Prison Sitcom.

“Now this is the state of the souls of the wicked, yea, in darkness, and a state of awful, fearful looking for the fiery indignation of the wrath of God upon them; thus they remain in this state… until the time of their resurrection.”

The Book of Mormon, Alma 40:14

Between the laughs—

Another bomb threat. “Don’t get up.”
Apocalypse by sludge meets day-old
repentance, for a wife’s forgotten birthday.
Man, we’re all going to get fired
for not being doctors.

Chuckle up from the belly.

Trouble like tar on the shoe soles.
Big Apple ambush threat. Rather be
in Florida? Get charged with arson,
so someone will hold you. Life’s
a hotel maid’s vacuum bag
full of misdeeds—luck pressed.
Once upon a Doris’s day, even nice
guys thought gay was a condition.

Snicker till your sides split.

So this rat rears up and says,
I smell a human.
A horse went missing in ’76;
been raining flags ever since.
Somebody give the laid-off
cops umbrellas.

Thou shalt humor old men.

How many times have we
stepped into their offices?—
as obligatory as a sitcom
doing a birthing episode.
Prior to truth, fraud distributes
a lot of real happiness.

Do good Samaritans ever have remorse?
You know, like buyers?
A man in a trench coat is poised
for revelation.
A savior turns water into coffee.
Excessive force…
“Things come in cycles.”
1976: alligators in the sewers

—between the laughs.

Poet’s Note:

The above poem draws imagery and direct quotes from Season Two of Barney Miller. The sitcom, which ran from 1975 to 1982, follows the misadventures of a detective squad in New York City.