Ella G reviews Love Life 6958: Memoirs from the Pen by Chris Syrus
Life is a journey sometimes walked in light, sometimes in the dark. This book invites you on a journey into the heart of a man, Chris Syrus, who through his
talent powerfully and effectively shares with the reader, his experiences of going to and being in prison where he would be known as prisoner LL6958. Truth demands passion. From the very beginning of his narrative, the author passionately expresses his emotions, in “Mothers Cry”. The realisation, that the pain felt when giving birth to him was one that turned to joy – the cry he never heard! In contrast to the cry he heard on the day he was found guilty, a cry of which he says to this day “haunts me”.
In his recollections of everyday prison life, tales such as “The Prison Window” anyone who has ever been in that situation, I’m sure will be able to relate to this. “The Yard”, is an illustration that some things in prison are not so far removed from society; conjuring up scenes which would not, I imagine, be unfamiliar in the playground or equally the House of Commons: trying to fit in, prove yourself or gain people’s respect and approval.
Amidst the tales of 10ss (Cry for the Dead), shame (As a Man), the clock ticking boredom (Confined, Move On) you sense that LL6958 is not a defeatist, he lives in hope, (sometimes misplaced). Let’s Bus Case an example of his optimism. He appreciates the people sticking by him (Keep Loving Your Son, Live for the Living) he understands there are some, who will let him go, and others of who he has to let go (The Visit, 2Pac & Nas). There is a turning point. The broken man ready to heal; beautifully and humbly expressed in The Letter. There is a desire to put things right (The Edge), give something back, be a positive example. There is an excitement about the future, joy in appreciating the simple things which once were taken for granted (Have a Look).
All of this can be found within this precious book of memoirs. I really admired and enjoyed the way in which this book was written, it’s not my usual style of poetry, yet I could relate to and identified with a good few of his poems. Which is why I believe that once you’ve read this book (not if, when) anyone who has experienced prison directly or indirectly and for those who haven’t you cannot help but feel inspired by LL6958 aka Chris Syrus.
Article taken from Issue 13