I Got Up

By DC

If you see a man down, do you assume that he fell?
If the burning in his eyes is there, which story does it tell?
If he is on his knees, is this a sign of submission?
Or was he once on his back, and rose to this position?

If you see him dropping his head, staring at the ground
Did he quit? Or is he looking for a new way to get around?
If you see that he is in tears, and he is letting them run
Do you assume that he lost, or that he has won?

Is he giving up or getting up?
Is he content with the notion of slumber
With no real inclination of waking up?
Could you give him a sec, could you wait?
To watch him fall, and then rise to be great?

For his struggle, though long and imperfect
Built him up from nothing
So it was worth it
From laying to sitting, from sitting to kneeling
To now almost standing – his resolve, so willing!

To be standing on his own, is his burning desire
It’s what drives him, like passion filled fires
To put his head up high, and his chest popped out
And not many can say, they know what “getting up” is about

Former Child Soldier Emmanuel Jal Visits Free Minds Reentry Book Club

“When you are in a poor environment, you go into survival mode. Like me, you’ve all been to hell. But you came back!”

Emmanuel Jal, a former child soldier of the Sudanese civil war and now an internationally celebrated rapper and peace activist, stood before 14 members of Free Minds’ Reentry Book Club. The men, ages 18-56 had all returned to the community after serving time in federal prison. For the previous two weeks, they had read and discussed Jal’s memoir, War Child. Now they were getting the opportunity to meet Jal in person, and learn firsthand from the author, rapper, and activist how he transformed his own life after experiencing horrific trauma as a child. Read More

Fertile Concrete

By GL

Lead and fire, erupted out of the stainless . . . steel weapon of humane destruction
Lead and fire has left a heart broken; a napkin soaked in; tears of grief
Which pours out of the crease of 2 eye sockets
Then rolls down the cheeks of a grieving soul
onto the surface of a sleeping man child
Who open his eyes, then show his grandma his dimples and gummy smile
Then he fills his lungs up with air, ball up his little hands, kick his legs
then allow the church to become acquainted with his presence

In a setting which is sad, the young lad, who never had
the luxury of knowing his dad – Grew up to be a college grad
Through correspondence – Through the walls of correctional institutions
Un-consciously volunteered in the destruction of his neighborhood
Because he only knew of no better options . . .
Grew up in a culture of crime
Where money is worshiped and tough guys drop dimes
The world tried to rob him out of his prime
But he primed his mind with knowledge
Now he obtain raw power
I believe that the concrete produced a rose
but all you probably see is a flower.

Mirror

By DC

Forever seemed like never
Until pain found my doorstep
Some lines I leave lingering
Because I never want you to think less
Life is so impressive once you inherit this perception
Forced in different directions
But in every field I’ve been accepted
Maybe because my soul stayed pure
Or my differences from the rest I never let interfere
I hung love in the closet and put happiness on my back
Hid pain in a place I’ll never want to go to get it back
Address me right and your letter should reach its destination
I know workers with no occupations
And every second that’s been invested
Has been self destructive in various places
A dazed boxer was saved by a bell
A suicidal man was saved by religion
A lady that gave up on her dreams was saved by a vision
Now imagine you on the edge of that cliff
What’s going to save you from what’s tempting?

If

By JMA

If prisons
Lease our liberty

If seas
Rent our shores

If silence
Hustles penny songs

If power
Purchases helplessness

Then into this world
I step renewed

To float unbound
Cocooned in pleasure, in pain

Not yet spent
Comprehend, contained

A desperate paradigm
Unknown, unborn, untainted

If this time
I can love myself enough to live