Welcome to the Fort


Let me tell you about a place I know
Filled with broken dreams and lost hope
A place if visited within your dreams
Would turn nightmarish by thoughts provoked

A place created many years ago
When a father was taken from the only child he knew
Now he’s stuck in memories as time goes on
Trapped in a world where thoughts never move

A place you need to see in order to believe
Filled with desperate cries and dreamy screams
A city where angels turn dark and cold
Now demons plundering for the hope of lost souls

A place where children are stripped of their youth
Left alone with no direction and confused
As time ticks forward, away from their past
They run backwards towards a time they never had

A fortress built to captivate souls
Whose burden on society was way overbearing
Within it, worlds residing in a timeless space
Humanity has chosen to ignore


  1. Ava D. on July 20, 2020 at 11:54 PM

    This one caught my eye because it was something you couldn’t only read, but feel.
    You get a slight glimpse of the suffering, but many will never understand. So instead you feel the sympathy for those going through this, for those living this reality.

  2. emcathow on July 23, 2020 at 10:20 AM

    Very nice RW!

  3. Barbara on July 28, 2020 at 8:02 PM

    Beautiful, heartfelt poem…an urgent call for reforming our criminal justice system. You have been heard, RW. Thanks for sharing,

  4. Logan on August 7, 2020 at 11:24 AM

    Dear RW,

    You brought such strong, dark, heart-wrenching imagery to this poem. I found the first stanza to be particularly powerful, and it did an excellent job of setting the tone for the rest of the piece. Please continue to share your experiences through writing.

  5. Tara C on September 1, 2020 at 8:41 PM

    This was an incredibly powerful and moving poem! It’s clear that you have a coherent understanding of what incarcerated people go through. This insight provides for a clear and strong message through your use of words. I also just wanted to say that “A place where children are stripped of their youth” was very compelling for the message you are trying to get across about incarceration.

  6. katherine on September 8, 2020 at 9:02 AM

    Dear RW, this poem is filled with so much emotion and sadness. Every line is so descriptive and I can picture everything you describe. I especially love the line: “a fortress built to captivate souls”. It’s beautiful and thank you so much for sharing your work.

  7. Kellyn on September 29, 2020 at 8:16 PM

    This poem is beautifully written but also conveys a very powerful message about the flaws in the prison system. My favorite line is “Filled with desperate cries and dreamy screams” because the alliteration and rhyming make for an image that really stands out in my mind. I hope you will continue to share more of your poetry in the future.

  8. Joshua Redd on October 3, 2020 at 4:06 PM

    Thank you for writing this work. The part that resonated the most with me was “a place where children are stripped of their youth”. The prison system instead of giving children a chance to right their wrongs, condemns them to a perpetual wrong.

  9. kassidilenae on October 13, 2020 at 1:17 PM


    I admire the images you create through your word choice. Referring to a fortress and dark, cold rooms conveys your overall meaning. I encourage you to find the light and the warmth among this fortress. You have a voice; continue to use it. We hear you.


  10. Kennedi on October 19, 2020 at 11:22 PM

    This was a very passionate poem that you made. It is so deep and enchanting that you just cannot stop reading! Keep up the good work!!

  11. kassidilenae on October 27, 2020 at 2:47 PM


    The images you create are powerful! I can feel the solitude in your words. I admire how you use your gift of writing to connect with others and share your experience. You emphasize the failures of our society. Keep writing; we hear you!


  12. Steffy on October 28, 2020 at 2:40 PM

    Thank you so much for sharing your poem. I enjoyed every single line, and they each filled me with so much emotion. It is really sad the world we live in, but all we can do is believe in our future.

  13. Phuong Nguyen on October 30, 2020 at 3:34 PM

    The powerful imagery that you used in your poem really make me understand the dehumanization of the prison system, even though I have never experienced it myself, and that is truly a success of an artist: to make others feel a feeling they have never experienced. Thank you for making me aware of it, and keep up the good work!

  14. JM on November 2, 2020 at 4:07 PM

    Dear RW,

    I really liked the way you structured the verses in the poem and worked with a rhyme scheme while still conveying such a powerful message. I particularly liked the last stanza, where the speaker describes, “worlds residing in a timeless space.” For me, it highlighted the way that, while there is a lot of grief in this timeless place, there are “worlds” there, which I interpreted as saying that there is also a lot of value and many rich stories there. I really appreciate you sharing a piece of that world and expressing it so beautifully.


Leave a Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

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.