Untitled (I Wake)

By LC

I wake
to the sun rising in the East
the rays burning my eyes
as I shake off the sleep

My first vision is bars
before a screen and a half open window
beyond that is cages
a gun tower and twenty foot wall

Then I see something else, everyday
that should give hope to all
High upon a pole. It waves at me
Sometimes to the East, sometimes to the West

Surrounded by blue skies and white clouds
Both symbols of freedom
Both symbols of life
Today I feel neither, tomorrow will be the same

I am of the world, but not in it
So I stare out the window and wonder, WHEN
When will I live my life in this manner
Of life, of liberty and the pursuit of happiness

WHEN, I ponder as I look at the star spangled banner

Midnight Pause of Nature

By JW

Express Yourself
You are true
Unbound by space and time
Down to earth, Paradise within reach

I breathe in the mountain air
This is the way of nature
The sun arises over the mountain
I express gratitude and reverence

I yearn to walk barefoot in the grass
Is it safe?
The moon turns orange on my right and shines
through my window
Is it looking at me?

The geese disappear
What happened?
The flowers are gone
Did I do something wrong?

I would love to eat from a fruit tree
It brings delight to my taste buds
I see a rainbow in my sink
Did it just wink at me as a coded message in time?

Changing Thoughts

By DK

As I sit here tired, alone, but peaceful in my cage
It gives me time to reflect and to let go of the rage.
I see so many guys, different races, different colors,
Makes you wonder why we all messed up, leaving behind our children, lovers and mothers.
What were we thinking while committing our crimes?
Look, it’s left me here…trying to write you this rhyme.
I’m so sorry I left you, so scared and alone,
I’m so sorry I left you in a fatherless home.
I sit here and reflect on all the things that I did,
And how I, not anyone else, caused me a 25 year bid…
So I give you the promise of a much better man,
‘Cause in 12 more years I’ll be armed with a real plan.
I’ll always be there for you in a time of need,
I’m starting now to plant the positive seeds.
Seeds that will flourish into a beautiful flower,
Giving me the strength and knowledge to help empower.
Just because I made mistakes, and lost my way,
Doesn’t mean because you’re my daughters, you’re destined the same way.
So keep your heads high, be proud, and strong…
Daddy will be home; it seems like forever, but it’s really not that long.

Inner Strength

By BH

As a product of his environment,
He could not read nor write,
Designed and programmed for destruction,
Thoughts of suicide haunted him at night.

As a product of his environment.
Incarcerated overnight
Afraid to give up, he decided to fight

Six years later a GED, Paralegal diploma and
An Associate’s Degree in Business Management
He found life.

As a product of his environment
He took flight.

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.