Songs of a Struggle


Life is what I’m living behind these Prison Walls
Prison life a pressure, keep my back against the Wall
Separation and Death from loved ones, companions, and friends

My child ask why I can’t come home
Hardship, infuriating frustration turns pain into anger
Anger is a flame when flaming hot burns to a bitter end

Fear, being afraid of losing everything and dying in a Federal Pen
I’m blind and cannot see, this time is slipping away from me
Like slipping into darkness

Snakes, smiling faces, backstabbers, bad habits and broken promises
Is an everyday thing coming from where I’m from
Seems like there’s no justice

My Counselor calls me a trainwreck waiting to happen
I guess it’s like a quiet storm on how cold I’ve become
With a heart of stone, distance and time does change a man

Now the system is designed to have you on an emotional roller coaster
Not knowing which way to go, losing your mind
Staring at the walls having suicidal thoughts from poor decisions

I believe a change is gonna come one day
You have to have the motivation which makes you stronger
To use this time positively instead of negatively
Learning will take you to a higher ground


  1. Ann on September 27, 2023 at 8:14 PM

    Dear GS,

    I feel your struggle and your pain and your hope. I do not see that “heart of stone” but rather a sensitive poet and father trying to make sense of what has happened to you.

    Sending my love, Ann

  2. Nandni on September 29, 2023 at 12:47 AM

    The strong emotions in this poem show the hardships of prison life super well. Things like anger, frustration, and sadness are powerful emotions that the poet brings into awareness about prison life. Also the lack of respect and belief in growth that the speaker undergoes is very sad and upsetting. This poem shows the terrible nature of the prison system very powerfully and I feel strongly about stopping the injustice that prisoners undergo after reading this beautiful poem.

  3. Colin on September 30, 2023 at 11:54 AM

    Well, I know this is just a comment from a random stranger, but I truly do believe that things will improve for you. No matter what people may say, or how bad it gets, you will make it through this, and when you do, I’m sure your child will be ecstatic to see you again! Just believe that you can get through this and I’m sure you’ll make it out!

  4. Morgan Schoenenberger on October 1, 2023 at 6:09 PM

    You really did an awesome job with this poem. It makes the reader really feel how you are feeling. I love the line “To use this time positively instead of negatively” I think this is not only a great way to think about things but also good advice. The more negative you are the less you will have to be grateful for.

  5. Hensi on October 2, 2023 at 12:35 AM

    I appreciate hearing about the experience of a parent from within a penitentiary. I feel like I can understand better what it is like to be someone trying to learn from their mistakes and create positives from them.

  6. DarkPheonix on October 2, 2023 at 1:28 AM

    Your words paint a stark picture of the challenges and emotions experienced behind prison walls. The sense of isolation, loss, frustration, and fear is palpable in your verses. Your raw and honest depiction sheds light on the harsh reality faced by individuals within the penal system, where hope can be overshadowed by despair.

    The contrast between the everyday struggles and the flicker of hope for change is a powerful theme in your poem. The acknowledgement of the emotional toll, the broken promises, and the difficulty of maintaining positivity in such circumstances reflects the resilience of the human spirit. Your belief in the possibility of change and the importance of motivation and learning to overcome these challenges is both inspiring and poignant.

    Your words serve as a reminder of the strength it takes to face adversity, and the importance of finding hope and purpose even in the darkest of times. Thank you for sharing this deeply impactful piece.

  7. Chloe Espinal on October 8, 2023 at 1:25 PM

    I love how vulnerable you are in this piece and how much you reveal about yourself through admitting faults and shortcomings, even when you didn’t have as much control over some circumstances. The line, “My counselor calls me a trainwreck waiting to happen,” especially sticks with me. It’s very hard when someone who is supposed to support you thinks such things about you. However, you are still able to display hope at the end by accepting that learning from mistakes will ultimately “take you to a higher ground”. It’s a gorgeous and raw piece that I will definitely remember.

  8. Morgan Schoenenberger on October 8, 2023 at 3:31 PM

    I love the stanza, “You have to have the motivation which makes you stronger. To use this time positively instead of negatively. Learning will take you to a higher ground.” This really put a nice ending to your poem and gives the reader a better look into what is wanted to be next. This poem really flows and as the reader you can feel every word when you read it. Awesome Job! Keep Writing!

  9. Cordelia on October 10, 2023 at 10:10 AM

    This poem is truly great. I really love the line, “Fear, being afraid of losing everything and dying in a Federal Pen,” as it is a great metaphor for how the prison system can and does feel, like an animal enclosure. I am truly hoping you can find some semblance of peace in your situation and continue to keep your head held high even in your darkest times. There are people who love you and want to see you come home, hold onto that.

  10. Elaina on October 10, 2023 at 10:15 AM

    It must be hard to explain to your child why you can’t come home. I loved that line. I would love to see more detail like that in your writing!

  11. Linzee on October 10, 2023 at 10:25 AM

    I am so sorry you are going through this. I can only imagine the pain and fear living behind prison walls. But, you are right. You need motivation to make you stronger and I believe that you have motivation behind you to keep on pushing forward for an opportunity at a better life. I hope that you and your child are able to reunite someday and build back the relationship that was once lost to the justice system. I know you can do it and I believe in you. Keep pushing everyday and I promise one day it will be rewarding.

  12. Jamie on October 13, 2023 at 11:34 AM

    Hi! As I was reading I was thinking about how I was going to respond to such a great piece like this one. I was going to say that through your words I can see hope and motivation and that that mentality is going to continue to get you very far. Then I read the last sentence, and to see that you acknowledged your mentality shift made me so happy for you! Keep up the good work.

  13. Olivia P. on October 30, 2023 at 11:35 PM

    This was such an emotional read. You can really feel the author’s pain through his words. The lines, “My Counselor calls me a train wreck waiting to happen/ I guess it’s like a quiet storm on how cold I’ve become,” are especially touching. That made me consider how it may feel to be the author and to feel like nobody is on your side. These lines are so emotional because you would think one’s counselor would be encouraging, and not put you down like this. This poem was a touching story and I really enjoyed it.

  14. Morgan Schoenenberger on November 5, 2023 at 7:04 PM

    Letting out feelings through writing is one of the best ways to clear your mind. Your words are very powerful and it shows the difficult times you are going through. Keep going day by day!

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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.