Nothing to Hide


All this wasted time in a federal prison
I didn’t take the cotton out my ears and put it in my ears and listen
This isn’t the way to spend life, I won’t do this anymore
I’m still young and there’s a lot of positive things I haven’t done before

Incarceration isn’t built for rehab
And I’m educating myself, paying this tab
In situations I’ve learned to walk away
I refuse to be locked in a cell again, this to God I pray

Coming to prison was once a fear
I wake up everyday, can’t believe I’m really here
The devil’s inside me, I won’t let him put me down
And the day I succeed, I will make sure I wear a crown

I am the company I keep
And I won’t stop until I change myself, there won’t be sleep
Life is what you make it
And I learned we all make mistakes, nobody is perfect

I can’t keep up with the old me, I have a family to feed
Things will change, my liberty is all I need
I have to put my pride to the side
For when I’m back on the streets, there’s nothing to hide


  1. Ayden Jozwik on March 29, 2021 at 2:43 PM

    I thought this was a wonderful poem and I thought the theme of growth was beautifully elaborated on throughout the work. The first line of the poem about all this wasted time in federal prison is true in prison isn’t designed to be a place for rehabilitation even if it claims to be, and thus the responsibility of changing to become a better a person is placed on the individual in spite of their circumstances rather than because of it. The line “I am the company I keep” really hit me hard while reading it because it speaks both to the isolation that prison forces on to people and the resilience they must show each and every day in order to make it through to the other side with their wits still intact. VH demonstrates this resolve throughout the poem and I sincerely hope he is able to continue to endure the experience by continuing to write or express himself in some other outlet. The final line about having nothing to hide almost feels triumphant in how VH will not allow this experience to define him for the rest of his life. From reading this poem I get the sense that VH has learned what is truly valuable in life; things like friends and family, and for someone like me reading this it makes me step a step back and not only appreciate the things that I have in my life which are truly valuable to me, but to use the privileges that I do have to help others rise up and above whatever unfortunate circumstances they are in. There may come a day where I will truly be the only company I am have but I cannot let that stop me from continuing to try and change a system that is designed to keep people down and powerless and strip them of their individuality. Thank you for taking the time to write this VH, and if you ever read this comment I hope you continue writing because there is no experience that is without value. Good luck and stay strong.

  2. Torie Seagraves on March 30, 2021 at 9:28 AM

    VH, the vulnerability you present in this poem is appreciated. it really emphasizes the hardships of being in your position.

  3. James O'Reilly on March 30, 2021 at 4:55 PM


    I love this poem so much. Change is an important process inherent to the human experience, and I completely adore how this poem personifies that. We all grow through our individual experiences, and learning from them is one of the most valuable parts of life itself. I think the only criticism I have is that I didn’t really understand the second line, but everything else is absolutely perfect. Honestly one of my favorite poems I’ve read.

  4. Ashlen on March 30, 2021 at 6:18 PM

    VH – Thank you so much for writing this poem. The line “I can’t keep up with the old me” and “Things will change” were especially impactful. The future is unwritten, but you can express your intentions and goals for it, and it is incredible to see you use your words to shape it. – Ashlen

  5. Maddie on March 31, 2021 at 1:01 PM

    VH, this poem shows so much strength. Although I don’t know you personally, reading this poem has shown me such a powerful side of you that you must hold onto. I know it can be easier to write words down than it is to truly believe them and carry them with you, but I hope you hold onto this determined sentiment as you strive to accomplish your goals. I wish you all the best!

  6. Kelsey on April 1, 2021 at 5:50 PM

    This poem is just amazing. I really love everything you said. It is inspiring.

  7. maggie on April 1, 2021 at 6:05 PM

    I really liked the flow of this poem and how it talked about the positives that could come out of hard times!

  8. ken on April 2, 2021 at 12:58 PM

    This poem is amazing! I like how you are saying what your goals are in the future. This is a very hopeful poem and it gives such great hope for the readers! Keep up the good work! and keep writing!!

  9. Cameron on April 5, 2021 at 11:09 AM


    I love how open you are in this poem. You’re right, everyone makes mistakes, but no one should be incarcerated for them. Rehab is a much better solution for a lot of people. I’m glad though, that you are working hard to better yourself. You have such a bright life ahead of you. I know everything fall into place!


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The poets featured here are currently incarcerated, and many of them are in federal prisons far from home. Your feedback is a valuable source of motivation and connection to the outside community. Post your comments, feedback, and encouragement in the space below the poem. Messages will be passed on directly to the author. Comments may not appear immediately on the site, as our team processes them to mail to the poets.