Now my hours feel longer, I’m just trying 2 make it 2 another spring
That means goodbye winter, my days are getting warmer
I’m getting older, my physical telling signs of aging
It’s the small things I pay attention 2 lying dormant
Like which way the wind blows, or how far up the sky goes
– My Window by Alfred “Spoken Truth”
In September 2016, writers, artists, students, poets, and professors gathered for a night of celebration, acknowledgment, and discussion at the Tacenda Literary Magazine Awards Ceremony. A division of BleakHouse Publishing, the Tacenda Literary Magazine is a collection of short stories, poetry, plays, and essays that explore a creative approach to crime and punishment.
BleakHouse Publishing was established in 2006 by Robert Johnson, professor of justice, law, and criminology at American University. BleakHouse is an independent, not-for-profit press devoted to social justice. They aim to publish creative writing that sheds a humane light on men and women entangled in the criminal justice system.
My Window by Alfred “Spoken Truth”, excerpted above, is one of the many poems by Free Minds members that were published in the journal this year. Alfred writes under the pen name “Spoken Truth.” His poetry has previously appeared in the 2015 issue of Tacenda, and his poem “Crocus” won the Best Poem Award.
Another Free Minds poet, D’Angelo, wrote the poem “Untitled (Elephant),” published in Tacenda. D’Angelo, who was incarcerated in federal prison when he wrote the poem, is now home from prison and preparing for the workforce. His goal is to own his own business.
D’Angelo said, “When I wrote the poem Elephant, I hoped that other people would feel it. So I’m really happy that people like it. It’s very true. When you feel like something is holding you back, most of the time, it’s you! To know that Tacenda liked my poem enough to publish it in a national literary magazine? It makes me feel like I’m worth something. Like I matter.”
D’Angelo’s poetry has previously appeared in the 2015 issue of Tacenda and in the Free Minds literary journal, The Untold Story of the Real Me: Young Voices from Prison.
In total, eight Free Minds members were published in the journal this year: Antwon, Curtis, D’Angelo, Dimitri, LS, Rafael, Alfred, and Vincent.
You can read the literary magazine here. Free Minds members work can be found on pages 8-11, 21, 52, 55, 56, and 60. Thank you to Tacenda Literary Magazine and BleakHouse Publishing for sharing the voices of those directly impacted by the criminal justice system.