Guest Feature – Chris Cooper

I am delighted to welcome Christal Rice Cooper, from St Louis, to Patricia’s Pen. Christal has come to chat about her her poetry collection gone sane. Without further ado, it is over to Chris.

gone sane

Christal Rice Cooper

On October 23, 2011 my first and only poetry collection gone sane was published by River King press.

gone sane is an illustrated poetry collection of violence but it is also a collection of persona poetry (A persona, from the Latin for mask, is a character taken on by a poet to speak in a first-person poem.)

The title gone sane came from many of Reverend Jim Jones sermons he gave and I included it in one of my persona poems on Jim Jones in this collection.

I would not describe gone sane as autobiographical; however there is one poem that is autobiographical and perhaps the most emotional and distressing poem for me to write, and that poem is Mark

At the time of writing Mark I was doing a story for The Altus Times on Child Abuse Awareness Month in April of 2003.  This story involved me interviewing the Altus Police Department about a murder case of a two-year-old.  The perpetrator was executed a few days later.

At the time this event occurred my first baby was only 20-months-old, and even though I endured post partum depression and felt disconnected from my baby, I could not fathom doing to my baby what this man did to Mark.  Soon Mark became my own baby, and I decided to celebrate his life by going to an upscale baby clothes shop called BELLES & BEAUS and purchased a green long sleeve onesie, and yellow jumper with matching socks.  I then went to the cemetery and asked the caretaker where Mark was born and he showed me immediately.  It was one of those flat tombstones embedded in the grass.  So I dressed Mark’s tombstone with the outfit and socks and took a photo. Then I came home to where my eight-month-old baby was and just held him.  And I decided then and there that I would tear up the photo the police department had given me of the murderer and I would NOT mention the murderer’s name.

The victory was knowing that Mark was never orphaned – that he always had poets and people, like at the Altus Police Department, and at the cemetery, who loved him and looked after him.


Mark was severely beaten and had sustained serious injuries –abdomen injuries, defense wounds, brain swelling, his liver was almost split in two, bruising on the back of his hands, blisters on his chest, and burn marks (from what experts believe was a sauntering iron) on his thighs and ears.  Mark succumbed to his injuries and died due to severe bleeding.

Excerpt from The Altus Times article dated Sunday, April 6, 2003
By Chris Cooper


What a heart-breaking story, Chris, and well done on such a poignant poem.

About Christal Rice Cooper

CHRIS RICE COOPER aka CAR COOPER is a newspaper/fiction writer, poet, photographer, & painter. CRC Blog is an INCLUSIVE & NON-PROFIT BLOG acknowledging ALL voices, ALL individuals, ALL political views, ALL philosophies, and ALL religions including Islamism, Hinduism, Buddhism, Catholicism, Protestantism, Judaism, Agnosticism, Atheism, etc. She has a B.S. in Criminal Justice & completed her workshops required for her Master’s in Creative Writing. She lives in St. Louis. 

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