About the Poetry Blog

The poets featured on this page 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. These 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.

Click on the poem title to open it up, and then post your comments, feedback, and encouragement in the space below the poem.



The noise is deafening.
My heart pounding in my chest,
Louder than the sound of the plane’s engines.
Excitement, anxiety, longing is excruciating.
People all around me: so close, yet so far.
A sound came and added the excruciating wait
Announcing, “We will shortly depart. Fasten in your seat.”
This flight is not just my freedom flight.
This flight has taken me home.
This flight has taken me to where I took my first breath.
This flight has taken me to where my eyes first opened and saw the light.
This flight has taken me to the Tigris River: to where I took my first sip of water.
This flight has taken me to where I took my first steps on this beautiful earth.
This flight has taken me to my family: to their hearts and eyes.
This flight has taken me to my friends, to my neighborhood, to my city.
This flight has taken me to regain my memory.
In every person and corner of the city,
The memories are forever alive: the tragedies and happiness.
This flight has taken me to the soccer field I played on and the joy it brought.
To the marketplace; to the schools I attended.
This flight has taken me to where a young heart fell in love, innocent and pure.
This flight has tak…
Suddenly something is pulling me out of my seat
A noise—a horrible, familiar noise came!
The sound of the prison officer’s keys clinging wakes me.
I awake to find myself back in a cell, and it was but a dream.
I will never stop dreaming until my dream becomes a reality.
I will keep the ticket and reschedule my flight.

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The Dragon is inside of me roaring to be free.
Word to George Jackson, Angela Davis, and Assata Shakur.
When I read those books, their stories left me
Thirsting for more.

Discipline is the foundation; the core to survive
The struggle, I work my body until it’s sore, take a shower,
Then read some more.

You see, the words on the page are the food we eat.
The knowledge we gain is the tools we use to get

One thousand burpees on the yard. Well-disciplined.
Going hard to make it home. No room for weakness.
Suckas a pull ya card. They always more than one
‘Cause they really ain’t hard.

In tune with the Leaders and Ancestors before me,
Who left behind their Spiritual Energy, which remains strong.
We still fighting so they live on.

Discipline got me surviving 72 hours in the box.
Every three days, a five-minute shower.
Word to Albert Woofdox and the Angola 3.
R.I.P., Shaka.

43 years on 23 and one.*
Discipline got me doing push-ups on my fists until my
Knuckles are numb.

Behind these walls, to be Disciplined is a weapon.
Stayin’ strong and focused: Meditation and stretchin’.
From the Books, I study the lessons
Of those gone and still living.

Even though my peoples are physically free,
They’re still trapped in a mental prison.
It’s going to take a lot of discipline for us to see
The day of truer living
A lot of love
And a lot of giving.



*23 and one refers to solitary confinement, with 23 hours per day in a cell and one hour outside the cell.

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I breathe in I breathe out,
I smile.
I breathe in I breathe out,
I smile.
I breathe in I breathe out,
I smile.
Body and mind became 1 and once again
I smile
I open my eyes and I am in a cell
but I feel like I am on a cloud.

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Me and My Teddy Bear


I have a teddy bear in my cell.
I don’t feel lonely.
He makes me feel like a boy.
I hug and kiss my soft plush teddy bear before I go to sleep.
I’m playful with him.
Sometimes I think he acknowledges me.
He warms my heart.
I offer my teddy bear Honey Buns,
Even though I know I will not get an answer.
When I’m away from my cell, I miss him.
I read touching letters from my family to Uriah, my teddy bear.
One day, I wept from sorrow in my heart
And noticed tears coming down from my teddy bear’s eyes.

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Stuck In My Ways


I was just stuck in my ways for a minute
I was lost trying to find my way with God, I was sinning
Now I’m trying to make it off my music independent
I ain’t taking no handouts so please don’t be offended
Different thoughts started to go through my mind I started to see the bigger picture
Why not tell my story if that can be the reason I get richer
Calculate my moves since baby always been that figure
Different mindset than others I’m moving on a different level
I know I’ma be something in the industry thinking about my first chain and bezel
It took a while before I started to see a light in this tunnel
So I pick up on a lesson, be cordial and remain humble
Running through different obstacles trying not to fall or fumble
Got to move like a Spirit around the temptation and start doing things elite
Like skipping different states traveling the world in the telly Presidential Suites
So I’ma stay focused and play for keeps
So I can see life with a wealthy point of view and never be cheap

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Concrete Rose


After the novel Concrete Rose by Angie Thomas

I struggle, embedded in the pavement, my fight is everlasting, the elements are against me but my will to survive is far greater than the obvious destruction around me. The things that are supposed to destroy me I use to strengthen my resolve. I call on God when I am weak, he answers my prayers because in him I place my faith to rise from the bricks of this concrete jungle where it seems no one cares…

I grow through this hectic life, I face all fears that try to strangle my existence, I weather the storms, the rain quenches my thirst and washes me clean. When the sun shines bright I smile with hope feeling at times the light is on me and I’ll be seen. I perk up, thorns sharp from a hard life, but beautifully created, battled tested and strong, yet alone, yearning for a place in this big ole world to call my own, my will to win on display for someone, anyone to take me away from this concrete jungle I call home…..

I stay warm hearted as I shake and shiver because in the concrete it’s cold outside, no place to run, no place to hide. I grow into the best me I can be, my trials and tribulations prepared me for life’s ills, the growing pains makes me hungry with a purpose to starve no more. My roots remain planted from which I came, the life I once knew no longer the same. Uprooted but forever from the bricks, timeless moments of my past now shape my future, I see why God chose me, my life now a living testimony for all to know and see a product of my environment, a Beautiful Rose I grew from the Jungle, the Bricks, the Concrete….

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Black Superman


I use to look up to Superman
I really looked up to Superman
The thing that use to get me
Is how he fly around the city
Close my eyes at night
Wondering if a little black boy could reach
Those same heights
Look back on my life’s thesis
Grandma prayed to a white Jesus
Black preachers telling white lie for the
Right reasons
Uncle doing drugs til he OD not breathing
Told my mother all I want for Christmas
Was a Superman action figure that’s fact
But she gave me steel
I was like ill
I don’t want that
Everybody know superheroes can’t be black
I use to look up to Superman
I really looked up to Superman
The thing that use to get me
Is how he fly around the City
Close my eyes at night
Wondering if a little black boy could reach
Those same heights

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I Can


Sobriety has helped me think clean
Being sober was one of my biggest fears
Crazy but true
Because I would have to deal with the harsh reality of
certain things I didn’t want to see or hear
Time being wasted doing the same thing
year after year
I’m finally on a road to redemption
I chose it not afraid to poise with it,
I can really smile when I look in the mirror
And say I conquered one of my biggest fears
I’m proud to say sobriety helped me see clear

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Closet Monster


I’ll never forget the first time we kissed, Bruno Mars was singing one of his hits
We stayed behind on that school ski trip
You had such soft lips, but that’s where the fairy tale ends
You and I we were never friends, you didn’t even try to pretend
We kissed in your dorm room, and you told me not to tell, otherwise I’d go to hell
You never thought I knew, about all the times you looked my way
Every time you watched me play, guitar strings like heart strings wound to tight to breathe
You used to say I wasn’t worth you, but you’d sneak in after curfew…
All those secret games of truth or dare, all those times when you were there
Now I’m just trying to come to terms with it, you and all your silly shit
I think it’s time to take a hit, pot smoke, hold it, choke
Choke, like that time you choked me, red is all I see
Me pinned to your bed, you telling me I’d soon be dead
You, stuck with all those crazy thoughts inside your head
Kurt Cobain
Now here I stand off to the side, watching them lower you down, down out of sight
Out of sight, out of mind, but now I’ll never get you out of my mind
Now the past is all I see, these days they call that PTSD
You never saw things the way I see, you could have meant so much to me
So, to me, you’ll always be, my Closet Monster

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What’s Art


Art is…
The heart’s expression
Of the impressions
That life leaves upon us.
Art is…
A beauty that is formed
Through a mind in bliss
Or turmoil
Art is…
These points written
Through ones heart –
Projected in full eloquence,
Or their colors slewn,
Those songs composed;
All making
Its own sense.
Art is…
The jewels of humanity –
A gift to thee
Unlike any other.
Art is…
Something found in the darkness
And pulled to the light…
Incapable of comparison.

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Embracing My Future


The secure embrace holds me in place
Keep me steady, slows my pace
Helps me see the light at the end of a dark tunnel
The storms have finally ceased, no longer a deep funnel

I’ve already confronted my past, I’ve moved forward to the present
This gift, that’s filled with a life that is pleasant
Most wouldn’t agree because of where I still sit
But I survived through the chaos so I wouldn’t forget

The reminder of a terrifying time,
Filled with worry, guilt and shame
Has turned into a humbling experiences
That gave me a brand new name

My future will be here soon enough
My prayer is that it happens fast
I have so many things to look forward to
And this too, shall be a blast

The song in my daughter’s voice
The intellect of my son’s words
The stone on my mother’s grave
The admiration in my man’s eye
Speak more than words can say

This future, this unknown time
This wonder-filled, hope for that day
Has filled my heart with so much joy
Cause I know God has paved the way

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My Little Flower II


To my Beautiful Little Flower,
You are life’s testament to what she can do.
From a tiny little seed,
My proudest accomplishment is watching you bloom.

You said “He calls me his little flower and I don’t know why (but I love it),”
So let me explain:

You are like a flower,
Whose beauty we tend to take for granted,
Not realizing the amount of work, love, and care,
Just to keep you planted.

The flower is fierce,
But also very fragile,
So I’m the gardener that makes the conditions more easier to handle.

The world will cause you plenty of blue moons at night,
But let my words be the thing that fills your heart with light.

In time and over seasons,
Hopefully you come to understand,
That behind every good and bad there’s a reason.

The darkness made you resilient,
And the sunshine feeds your soul,
Mistakes will make you sad, but will also help you grow.

Who am I,
But a supporter like a fan at a game
Or a cheerleader on the sidelines?

To fully accept whatever your heart decides to do,
From a tiny little seed
To a Beautiful Flower,
My proudest accomplishment is watching you bloom.

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