Under the Jail


So very far, way way down deep
There’s brothers’ souls stuck in the foundation and the price they paid was not cheap
I think of the good men who passed through jail
And those who didn’t make it because for them it was hell
Under the jail, where I now reside
I’m sure there’s plenty of head stones, cats that passed from pride
Use to be if I had one wish, I’d use it all on me
Now if I had just one, I’d set all my brothers and sisters locked down all go free
Under the jail is where you’d think they’d put all their worst
But I’ve met doctors and lawyers that all share the same curse
That’s just the distance that I was willing to climb down to
Imagine going deeper and what could be found by the likes of you
Under the jail, them folks like to hide all their mistakes
And they’re secure with their decisions because most people don’t climb down that for they don’t have what it takes
I’m here so far down, I sometimes feel the heat from the earth’s core
I’m not a threat to anyone, but deeper down they seem to even push me more
Now this is just my version of what I see under the jail
There’s millions of us locked up with different stories to tell

What’s under your Jail?


  1. Ashley on February 14, 2018 at 8:33 AM

    Nice poem. Descriptive and makes one think. I can see where you are coming from as everyone has their own demons. Keep up the good work!

  2. Sally on February 16, 2018 at 9:04 AM

    I loved your poem which gave a voice to your “brothers and sisters” who “didn’t make it” because life behind bars is “hell.” As an attorney, I have studied the criminal justice system and I very aware of how often our system is completely UNFAIR for certain populations. It breaks my heart to hear of the lives lost that can never be regained because our system lacks sympathy and sometimes seeks to judge without understanding the whole picture. Even though you are in jail, it seems to me like you can see more clearly than some of those who aren’t. I hope that you will “make it” and I hope that you will continue to write and give voices to the people who have unjustly lost theirs.

  3. Kelly on February 16, 2018 at 9:12 AM

    This was a really powerful poem. You paint a clear picture with your words. I’ve never been in prison, but your poem made me feel the stigma and desperation and commonality which I never thought about before. I really liked how you connected people who are not in jail/prison and their mistakes and choices to people who are. The connection and oneness of us all…and it is amazing that you can see that and express it so well. Keep writing and sharing your words. You have a talent for pulling people in to your world and really engaging us in your poem. Thank you!

  4. Nikayla Kirchner on April 23, 2020 at 5:42 PM

    Your poem was a beautiful description of not just your experience but those of others, those that didn’t make it in both prison and in the justice system entirely. I felt as though the third and last line of the poem was the most powerful and heart-wrenching, describing those who were wrongly convicted (the “good men”) and those who also have their own, individual, and unique yet shared stories of their experiences with the legal system. Truly a work of art.

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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.