Meet the ‘Killer Poet’ — The Notorious Criminal Who Spent 20 Years on the Lam

Norman A. Porter was convicted in the 60s for killing two men. In 1960, he pleaded guilty to charges of second-degree murder, when a 22-year-old was shot with a sawed-off shotgun.

killer poet

A year later Porter was involved in the shooting of a jailer David S. Robinson in the Middlesex County Jail in Cambridge, Mass. The killing provided him the opportunity to escape — however, his first escape was short-lived after he was caught while robbing a grocery store. He pleaded guilty for the crime and was sentenced to two consecutive life terms.

In 1985, the clever criminal found a way to walk right out of the Norfolk Pre-Release Center and was on the loose again. It wasn’t until 2005 that he was captured. This time he was found working in a church and appeared to be living a decent life.

During his 20 years as a fugitive, he published a number of poems and performed live at poetry jams. Porter’s poetry was so well received he was named “Poet of the Month” by ChicagoPoetry.com.

Now referred to as the “Killer Poet,” Porter’s ability to thwart authorities while sharing his love for the written word have made him somewhat of a legend.

In a January court appearance, Porter asked the families of those killed for their forgiveness. He also claimed that he wasn’t personally responsible for the deaths of the two men — only an accomplice. However, he was denied parole in March, and ordered to spend four more years behind bars by the Massachusetts Parole Board.

“We conclude by a unanimous vote that the inmate is not a suitable candidate for release,’’ the board said in their decision.

Because his story is intriguing (to say the least), we found his poetry quite interesting. The following are the poems he published under the pen name of J.J. Jameson curtesy of Puddin’head Press:

I WANNA BE A CARPENTER OF WORDS

Yea, though I walk
through the valley of books,
I shall lift mine eyes up unto my dictionary
from whence cometh my meaning.
Thy adjectives and thy adverbs,
they comfort me.

The word is my shepherd.
I shall not mispronounce.
Words that lead me to lie
down in great definition.

Words restoreth my faith.
Two score and nine years
testing whether this poet
or any poet may long write.

I wanna be a carpenter of words.

I wanna take my sawzall
to omphaloskepsis
lop off my nqavel
and just simply meditate.

I wanna be a carpenter of words.

I want to take my plane
shave oxymoron
from a cruel kindness
to a smooth devotion of generosity.

I wanna be a carpenter of words.

I want to take my axe
to billionaire
a bil to those on lower Wacker
the air to those
who can’t breathe on their own.

I wanna be a carpenter of words.

I wanna take my jig saw
to nastiness
rearrange the letters to stainness
and dye everything to politeness.

I want to take some glue
give the limerick its due
on the pretext
it’s just like sex
surely which I can do.

I wanna be a carpenter of words.

I want to take my table saw
cut six inches off
antidisestablishmentarianism
and join a monastery.

I want to be a carpenter of words.

I want to take my orbital sander
to hate and sand off people
as a possible object of that verb
hate only to be used for inanimate things.

I want to be a carpenter of words.

I want to take chisel
to politicians, carve those self-servers
out of the fifth floor on city hall
and return that floor and every floor
to We The People.

I wish to be a carpenter of words.

Take my hammer and nail
bent over, closed, and ended
for surely meaning and definition
shall follow me all the days of my life
and I shall dwell in my dictionary,
forever and ever. Amen, Amen, Amen

NOT FINISHED

Is human thought
an elongated view
of one spark kindled
in the breech
with physics rubbed by poetry.

Or are we horizontal
where focus comes
as brush fires
everywhere at once:

our energies expand
as we extinguished all
save man.

I do not pretend to human thought
except my dog Saucepan,
has an intelligence
I do not know.

CITIZEN TOM PAINE

Your birth was questioned.
Your death is certain.
Your life transfigured all.
No live “The United States of America”
without you.

No death to monarchies everywhere.
And, god, too, assigned his proper place.
Still every new life blessed
from citizen to country.
How soon we forget
who are ancestors are.

We nourish on the fruit of your labor.
We breathe air free from tyranny.
We trod on soil not owned by divine right
nor claimed by kings or queens.

We live by the rule of law however imperfect
with tragedy we have forgotten you,
Tom, I apologize.

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