Revolving Door


“What’s up nephew?! What you in here for?
I see much of myself in you, this place seem to have a revolving door.
I was your age when I caught my first adult bid.
“They” say juvy joints don’t count, I guess because I was just a kid.
But the doors look the same plus the locks haven’t changed.
It is what it seem, this place have a revolving door, it’s a shame!
When one of us go out, another one come in.
It don’t matter which door it is, juvy joint or the “pen”.”

“Yeah, I hear you Unc but I ain’t listen’n tho.
Street life is what I’ve been taught so I know what it’s hittin’ fo!
All my men been in and out this joint, and I’m just getting’ started!
Money, murda, and moves you can just call me cold hearted!
I don’t care about nothing cause nobody never cared about me!
So I don’t care about a “revolving door”, just like I don’t care about the police!”

“I know those words well nephew because I’ve said them before.
Why else would I be talkin’ to you about a damn “revolving door”?!
It’s sad hearing you say those words because it only proves my point.
But let me ask you this, do you have kids or someone who needs your support?”

“Yeah I have a son Unc, but me and his mom ain’t cool”

“I only asked because I want to know if you gon teach him to be just like you?!
Don’t be stupid nephew, you have a chance to break the cycle.
When you get out get you a job, further your education, put down that rifle!
That “pack” will put you back in here too, and you know what robbin’ do.
Take care of your son, he’s what matters.
Teach him not to come through that “revolving door” for your heart will shatter.
He’ll be nephew callin’ someone else unc.
He’ll be having a conversation just like this one!”


  1. Thomas on December 27, 2023 at 11:27 AM

    Beautifully done JS.
    This conversation is a deep one. It makes me wonder how many times someone had to give “Unc” that same conversation that he didn’t listen to. Its so hard to see outside of yourself when you are in it. That’s why we need people like you writing these stories and making an impact so that people can see it.

  2. Eddie on January 6, 2024 at 1:51 PM

    Dear JS,
    Thank you for writing this poem, I found it to be really powerful and meaningful. The rhyme scheme gives the poem a very lyrical sort of flow that is very entertaining to read. I really like that it’s written as a dialogue between an uncle and a nephew–this makes the ideas of the poem feel more personal and real. The poem does a really good job developing the theme of America’s justice system being a cycle of incarceration that continues for generations. The metaphor of a revolving door illustrates this theme very well. The uncle pleading with the nephew to break the cycle and take care of his son at the end of the poem was really moving. I really appreciate that you shared this poem with the world.

  3. Brianna on February 14, 2024 at 9:40 PM

    I really enjoyed your poem and learning about your experience. I hope that you are able to see your son and be there for him the way Unc was able to be there for you. you do not want to continue the revolving door.

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