You Define Me

By JM

You take the weight of my world on your shoulders
See visions of a past life inside your head
You’re always welcoming when there’s a need to be held
Quell your frustrations between my legs
You’re something
When you ain’t got nothing else
Demand the truth, even when you lie to yourself
And self; is awed, by your style and grace
Your positive temperament
Your humble haste
You don’t ever complain
You possess the strength of which is famed
You take so much
Letters and phone calls
No matter what, you stay in touch
You are the vision when it’s hard to see
You see past the rest, optimistically
Do your best to hold things together
You hold it down
No matter
Whatever
You define me
You don’t care what people say
As years went by
You made me stay
You made me spend all those nights alone trying
You kept me alive
When everything else was dying
Essential
Necessary
The way you made me feel
Felt you in the past
Sometimes stronger
Always real
Never felt so much of you in the heart
And what is gained
Can never be taken apart
You define me…
HOPE!!

A Father’s Long Walk with Reality

By SH

Smacked by an enormous impact of shame
Brain drained from searching unchartered memories
Those times that will never be sitting in the depths of me
Consumed by my own cocoon
Burdened by my unfit deeds
Those responsibilities that I failed to meet
Makes it hard to face the mirror’s reflection,
That’s suggesting I tie up the loose ends
Begin again like those yesteryears never happened
Yet, I’m still haunted by my actions and my nightmares
Leave me drenched in my children’s tears
This distance can’t comfort confused fear
Or change how they truly feel
The wonderment hurts like self-imposed punishment
While my children shoulder the blame and their mothers
Picked up the weight of my mistakes
Left feeling like a lamebrain trying to explain away the pain
Painting a paradox of how life is give and take
That wrong and right are the two roads of reality
But my love wasn’t enough to keep me home and they’re feeling
Like they did something wrong
Cause I wasn’t there when they needed me the most
Never seen them learn, never watched them grow
My presence holds the essence of a ghost
And my name is all they’ve ever known
Since infant to full grown
I was just a figment of their imagination and they easily erased it
Replaced it–with their own image of a glorified hero
Making him better than me–smarter than me
More swag than I had
With more virtue than can fill a paper bag
And I’m cool with that as long as they don’t
Follow in my footsteps
Wishing that one day all this will make sense
A father’s long walk with reality

A Classroom Full of Hope

Guest post by Karen Lausa, Executive Director of Words Beyond Bars and Friend of Free Minds

We pulled into the parking lot of the M.V. Leckie Education Campus, the playground jammed with kindergartners running around in happy packs on a gorgeous, sunny DC morning. I was excited to be accompanying a Free Minds crew to meet with the Lion Heart Book Club, 15 sixth and seventh grade boys, many drawn to acting out because of the absence of a father figure in their lives. Better off participating in a reading and poetry club, they have been recommended by their teachers. The children all shuffled into the annex classroom; with their lunch trays balanced in their arms, excited to eat their pizza and meet the visitors–Poet Ambassadors Terrell and Nokomis, Free Minds staff Tara Libert and Mbachur Mbenga, and me. Read More

Refugee Life

By AG

Run that’s the first lesson
You learn where I’m from
To hell with kingdom will come
Run or you’ll be captured or tortured
By rebels with big guns, they want diamonds, tons and tons
Killing anybody children even nuns
No picks we all die
No mercy we all cry, and wonder why?
Help? Only refuge is suicide
Mediterranean Sea, is the place we said to meet
I’m so tired and these cuts from rocks hurt my feet
I need to get there fast, but I’m so weak
Hopefully they give me water, even better something to eat
Finally time to reap what my heart has sow
get on the savior AKA the boat
Pray, and paddle, to place I don’t know,
Somewhere, anywhere
But Sierra Leone

Fall

By WD

I would rather rise
Than fall in love
Or fall into the trap
That makes the gap
In heaven’s gate, separate
Here I wait

For the fall of all enthralled
In destruction
To trust in reproduction
Is to wish in what will cease to exist
A raised fist

Is symbolic of how I stand erect
With the effect to make walls stretch
Intellect can never be confined
Ahead of time
Is where we should be
And if we didn’t fall
We would be

But that’s neither here nor there
Because where we are right now
Is all that matters
And looking back won’t change matters

So disregard the fall of all that are here now
And what you hear now
Is me making the fog clear now
Meditate