13

By GL

13
The number is
13
Amendment
13
I’m offended by
13
Co-defendant of
13
Convicted by
13
Let me hip you to
13…
Mass incarceration
Across the nation
In 1865
We was granted
Emancipation
Slavery was abolished
According to my
Knowledge
I learned this while in
Prison
They it the
Black man’s
College
The issues that’s at hand
Enslaving the black man
They freed the black man
Then issued their
Back plan
That was
13
Amendment
13
Abolished slavery unless
Convicted
That’s their scheme
Listen…
I know my opposition
No 40 acres
No mule
No home
No pot to piss in
No justice
Just cuff us up
And f*** us
Go in front of the judge
No liberty
It’s
“Just us”
Throw away the key
Then thrown into a cell
We pray
To a white Jesus
To free us
From white hell
13 amendment
I’m
Truly offended
They strategically reinstated
The same s*** that they
ENDED

Comments

  1. This was incredibly powerful and hard to read but it is something that is needed and that people need to read. You have a crazy great way with words. I hope you keep writing things that are important. Thank you so much for writing this! You are talented.

  2. GL,

    Wow. This poem was extremely powerful. I keep re-reading your poem because it speaks so much truth and power. Besides the content, I especially liked your writing style. I could feel your passion and frustration and I thank you for sharing your story and the truth of our nation.
    Amazing job.
    I hope you always stay as passionate as this poem was.
    Thank you for sharing.

  3. Amy Munger says

    Thanks for sharing your poem!

  4. Danielle Ortega-Bond says

    I could feel an emotional connection to this piece especially when the poet describes the “back plan” and how black men were never really freed from slavery. The beginning of the poem was a different start than normal which is why it caught my eyes in first place, also because I connect the number 13 to unlucky 13 and feel that the negative connection I have with the number also relates back to the negative feelings the poet has about the 13th amendment.

  5. Xenia de Luna says

    This is a very different and unique poem.
    It sounds almost like a rap song to me!
    The topic and expressional power is amazing in here!
    I can truly feel your anger and pain in your choice of words and repetitions which you make and I am so sorry for how society is built nowadays.
    I hope this will change once again and that your and others pain can go away for real.
    Texts like you motivate others to think things over and I hope it’ll change other people’s minds.

  6. This is a beautiful poem, the inequalities in this country are unfair and unjust. Your poem points out these in such a vivid way, stay strong, we are here for you.

  7. Jordyn Salmon says

    GL,

    First of all, WOW. The 13th Amendment and its effects are no doubt felt today by the millions of incarcerated people of color as well as their non-incarcerated counterparts who are stopped-and-frisked, gentrified, and targeted by racism daily. It is so important to keep bringing these issues to light, and to find ways to mediate them. It is also important for you to be writing poetry like this. Making people uncomfortable is crucial to enacting change. Please continue to write about the issues that mean the most to you and include your own experiences into the writings, your voice deserves to be heard!

  8. This is such a beautiful and powerful poem. The rhyming works perfectly and is not over the top. You make your point in a way that is oh so powerful and title of 13 convey strength.

  9. Harshul Chanchlani says

    This poem is wunderbar! It reflects greatly on a historical event with such great weight. The 13th amendment gives freedom to slaves and abolishes slavery. Keep up the good work on this masterwork!

  10. Logan Lehman says

    This poem is really powerful. I read it over and over again. Please keep writing.

  11. Molly Reed says

    Hi GL,

    Your poem really spoke to me. The rhythm and cadence of your poem when you say it out loud invokes emotions that are very hard to convey. You tell the story of your history and of America’s constant neglect. You remind people that even though the 13th Amendment abolished slavery in the United States, there are still systemic inequalities that people of color face to this day. You did an excellent job and I hope I can read more of your poetry soon.

    All the support,
    MR

  12. Tiona Lancaster says

    This poem was so powerful, I could sense how intensely you felt about every word based on how you wrote it. You’re very intelligent, and you have a lot of potential. Never give up on writing, your talent deserves to be shared with the world.

  13. wow, this was an amazing poem. It definitely opened my eyes on problems involving racial injustice within the United States Criminal Justice System. I hope you keep writing so I can keep following your journey!

  14. I like how you used “13” to trace a history of racial injustice. You use a few words to tell a long and powerful story. Keep writing. What you write is teaching so many others. It is a gift worth sharing.

  15. Maranda Estwick says

    This was very powerful and so good. Yes, from the beginning of the history of this country it seems like we never stood a chance. We were always targeted and it’s still going on. Right after slavery there was reconstruction where we were suppose to get acres and rights but there were laws made (Jim crow laws) that prevented us from actually exercising those rights that we were supposedly granted. These prisons were built just for us. The government has always created bills and systems that continually targets us but will just keep renaming it. The War on Crime, The War on drugs and Super predators.. all disguises for what they really mean and their actual intentions.

  16. Ryan Cedeno says

    This poem has very strong emotion behind it. I find it amazing the way you’re able to express your feelings through this poem especially about such a powerful topic. The stress in the use of the number 13 I think very important and serves as the glue of this poem. Especially as you’re able to consistently use the number throughout the entirety of the poem. Overall a great well-written poem.

  17. kingclaire13 says

    GL,
    What a powerful use of repetition. You write with such a clear voice that your poem seemed to read itself to me. “Black man’s college” and “They strategically reinstated the same s*** that they ended” stood out to me as particularly strong lines. The United States really has created a strategic trap. Your writing brings life to this issue and I hope that you will continue.

  18. I felt the pain and anger in this poem. The American prison system is set up against African American men. There will be no justice until we change the cycle that founding fathers set forth. The ending for me was the most impactful: “They strategically reinstated the same s*** that they ENDED”. With just a clause in the 13th amendment, they started a new type of enslavement. This is truly a powerful piece.

  19. Your last few lines were so so so strong… as was your entire piece but this was incredibly powerful.

    “We pray
    To a white Jesus
    To free us
    From white hell
    13 amendment
    I’m
    Truly offended
    They strategically reinstated
    The same s*** that they
    ENDED”

    Thank you for speaking your truth, the American truth at that. So many things get kicked under the rug, actions get ignored, excused and because of the majority that hold the legal power in their hands the truth gets forgotten and erased. People like you are essential. Always speak your truth and never lose sight of your power no matter how the society may shape it out to be. Your truth is power so never stop speaking it. Thank you for your words.

  20. GL,
    I really like how you structure this poem. Making each line short gives this poem an almost rhythmic feeling and makes the reader notice every word that is said. The repetition of 13 and other phrases also emphasizes your message and makes this a really powerful piece. The last few lines in particular are really moving, you’re absolutely right. The reality that so much injustice exists is haunting, especially when we’re told it’s “over”. We have the power to break this though and rewrite destiny. I look forward to reading more of your work,

  21. Kate Gehlen says

    excellent job! so raw and biting, it felt your voice in every line

  22. Amyla Bryant says

    I really liked this poem and the message that the author is trying to get across, because yes the 13th amendment did end slavery, but that became the beginning to a bigger problem that we have going on today.

  23. Hello GL,
    Your poem has some deep anger and emotion that can be sensed right away, this is a beautiful poem. You get across what you want, and straight to the point. I know life is unfair, no matter how much we want it discrimination wont go away. I am as well a minority, and I understand the unfairness this world has come to.

  24. Madi Coyne says

    Wow. Just wow. That is some insightful, powerful, well written poetry. Your last three lines hit me in the chest like a boulder. So did the lines about how prison is a black man’s college. These statements really brought the piece “full circle.” I’m glad that I have had the chance to get a feel for your experience as a black man in this country. Keep writing! you could really do something in this line of work 🙂

  25. Jordan Kilgallen says

    As I sit here after reading your writing, I am awestruck–feel as though I’ve been woken up. Your poem really spoke to me. The rhythm flows so naturally. I could almost read it as a song, one of those you feel in your bones. True talent lies within you, keep going, more people need to hear you. Thank you for sharing.

  26. GL-
    Your poetry is extremely powerful in both its words and rhythmic flow. You hit the nail on the head so many times, my favorites: (I know my opposition / And f*** us up) and (They strategically reinstated). This work immediately made me think of “The New Jim Crow” by Michelle Alexander and when I saw the tag, I was elated. Please keep creating and sharing your work!

  27. Dear GL,
    I hope this reply finds you in a happy mood. Your words really touched me, I have always been curious to know why people think that slavery really truly went away, the laws are there just as you described, but they just reframed it to “look” like it’s something different. I shared this poem with my family as a conversation starter, I really think children are going to be the one’s to change the world, because these are the important things that EVERYONE should be talking about. I await the day when I wake up and men treat one another with kindness, I hope you’re given chances to change people’s mind because you have a wonderful way with words.

  28. Kendall Lambert says

    This is amazing. Beautifully written so that the words flow really well. It was easy to read in terms of rhythm, but the content was intense. It was extremely insightful and I had never thought about the 13 amendment in such depth when relating it to today’s society. This poem was sad to read in terms of the writer’s perspective yet packed a punch with a powerful message. Not only was the message powerful but the deliverance as well. The repetition of 13 burns it into the readers brain and opens their mind to that which the writer is saying.

  29. Thank you so much for sharing this poem. I am in awe at how powerful this poem is. Your use of repetition and rhyming really stuck out to me and your message is so important. Thank you for giving me a new insight into your experience.

  30. This poem is extremely powerful. I love the repetition, rhyming and especially the message. Very clever and well written. Amazing work

  31. GL,
    I love how you incorporated a dark part of American history into your poem. It is very emotional and moving while informative. I hope you continue to stay strong and write great poetry!

  32. Jazzy Robinson says

    As an African American, this resonated with me deeply. Even though slavery was abolished by the 13th Amendment, its not completely gone. It has just taken a new form. But even if the system is still stacked against us, that doesn’t mean that we have to give into the system. People make assumptions about you based on the color of your skin. But I’ve found that the best revenge for it is to prove them wrong.To show them that against the odds, you still managed to come out on top!

  33. Isaac Zinda says

    I like how you build suspense — the beginning of the poem feels almost quiet, very controlled, rhythmic. After reading the first three lines I don’t know exactly what the subject matter is going to be yet, and I love how that leaves me guessing. It makes “Amendment / 13 / I’m offended by / 13” hit so much harder.

    There are a bunch of other spots in the poem where you build suspense and use misdirection to make your words more powerful. When you write “I learned this while in / Prison / They it the / Black man’s / College,” the first two lines led me to believe that maybe you were going to say something positive about learning in prison. I don’t typically think of prison as a place of learning, so I was sort of like: “oh, that’s cool and kind of empowering.” The next three lines are a dramatic change in tone; you speak first-hand about the racism of the prison system and American education. This change in tone makes your words much more impactful; I can really feel the emotion here.

    You’re got some really sneaky rhymes in here as well. I especially like “No Justice,” which
    sounds very similar to “Just us” which appears a few lines later. I liked “listen” and “opposition” as well, since I’m a sucker for slant rhymes.

    Thanks for sharing this; I really enjoyed reading it!

  34. This is a very powerful poem that you have written. You have such a strong message and I think that the way you articulated that message, with the rhyming, the repetition of 13, and the emphasis on certain words, made your poem so much more powerful. You did a great job conveying emotion in this poem. Thank you for allowing me to read your work of art and be touched by your passion and emotion.

  35. This was such a powerful piece that really made me empathize with the oppression of African Americans in the U.S and the “history” that seems to be long gone on the outside, but the racist truths remain. The repetition of each “13” made every point you said stand out even more and it really resonated with me as a reader. I really enjoyed reading this piece and I love your powerful language and message behind every word; every one was so purposeful!!

  36. This is incredibly strong and emotional. It really discusses the raw truth of the prison system which is founded upon institutional racism. I know about this through facts and people outside the system sharing stories but the voices from the inside are silenced. To hear these raw feelings from the inside makes me feel even more strongly about what we must do to end institutional racism, and I will fight to end this.

  37. Ray Ryan says

    That poem is just packed with emotion, and the sentence structure made it hard for me not to read it as a rap in my head. Your use of repetition/re-iteration is great in this poem. I wish you all the best and I sympathize with your struggles but I think your poetry is great and encourage you to make more!!!

  38. I really enjoyed this poem. You could definitely get a feel/sense of the author’s emotions. Very straightforward and clear!

  39. The use of the repetition with “13” really give the flow breaks and allows me to pause and think before thrown back in. I also think it’s beautiful how through your rhyming the speed and pace at which i found my self reading at was constantly changed, which was also an effect from the “13”s used throughout. I hope you choose to use other numbers in more poetry, if an entire saga could unfold with each number representing another point of frustration and your experience. Thanks for sharing your words, I really enjoyed reading your work.

  40. I love the repetition and rhyming here! I appreciate the style of the poem and how it moves quickly. I can feel your bitterness and emotions, which are completely justified in this unjust system. I love that you emphasize the number 13 and also the fact that this poem was put up on the THIRTEENTH of april! Great job!

  41. I love your poem. The way you used line breaks to break up the readers focus is brilliantly applied. I completely agree that it is so disgusting how our society has masked oppression under the guise of progress for so long. Please keep writing, you have a brilliant voice.

  42. GL,
    You are an amazing writer, and I thank you for sharing your voice with the world.

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