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.

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Inner Reform

By JW

As we dine at the eatery We chew on the meat That is devoured by vegans It’s the food we call beets This all might sound strange But we care for the earth We take time from the play To give time to the birth This is what reform is about It’s about more than self We bring others healing We bring others wealth Gold is more than jewels Silver is more than chains Parties is more than excitement Prisons is more than pain Reason must follow But intuition is best If you listen to my answers You have passed the test If you still question my motives You don’t know me yet You’ll get there by car But I’ll get there by jet The rabbit and the turtle I seen you sprint Did you really hear my message Or are you still offended when I vent

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Dear Your Honor

By TH

Dear Your Honor
May I have a moment of your time
To open up your mind to see that I’m more than just my crime?
I would like you to take a few moments to see
That I’m decent and active in my community

Your Honor, that I’m the father of a baby girl
And when her mother took her away
She took away my world

Your Honor
My underlying issues are with substance abuse and mental health
So if I’ve done anything out of character
I was truly not myself

So, Your Honor
Before you give your verdict
See all of me
And remember, nobody’s perfect

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Prevail

By TT

This persistent search for reciprocity…
I long for the opportunity to counter this plight
Respite is near if consistency resides
My prosperity relies upon this aspiration

To be moved to improve thyself…
One must first discover thou wealth
Demeaning are these circumstances
But destructive it shall be to lose dignity

I continue to search high and low…
Gradually piecing together my resilience
Illuminate my struggle – I want us all to witness
Courage comes unto me by what you see
Ponder my reactions in the face of adversity…
Realize I am serious about who I strive to be

My resolve will not diminish, for I am far from finished
These beliefs I clutch dear to my heart…
I will redeem myself
Time will tell what I’m about

Quicksand sinks through this hourglass…
Slowly releasing me
I shall reciprocate against this predicament
Watch for my resurgence…

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I Was Lost Now I’m Found

By AC

I chased the soccer ball as a child
My mind only set on scoring a goal,
Our mothers continued talking among themselves.
Wondering aloud how they could be able to pay all the bills.
But none of this ever crossed my young mind,
All I heard were the screams of more kids
Asking to pass them the ball to keep running around.
We kept running and screaming as our lives felt just fine.

Time do change, life gets more complex, it’s complicated
And now I find myself wondering in my head
Perhaps the same way my mother did back in the day
What will the future look like?

But from time to time I catch a glimpse of myself
In the mirror of life looking back at me
From within the stories of others.
I see the memories of the person I am

And so I continue to help anyone that crosses my path
Because for every that I help,
I keep finding yet another piece of my heart.
It’s not the same as chasing a ball, nor as fun.
I love to help others because for a moment I thought I was lost
But now I am found.

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Mothers of the Movement

By JH

“Mothers of the Movement”
A group of strong women who seek to have the senseless killings stop
Who’s tired of weeping, when another youth is killed by gun violence

“Mothers of the Movement”
A group of mothers who become stimulated of dealing with so much
Before saying enough is enough
They need the support system to address the mental state
They are going through behind their issues

“Mothers of the Movement”
A group of parents whose children had the American dream
But now suffering from the emptiness
That’s full of screams with many shattered dreams

“Mothers of the Movement”
Is the voice of women across the United States and worldwide
Who’s fighting against the injustice in our communities from the lack of understanding
And communication among the people and law enforcement
We didn’t plan this
We need to stay united together and fight the crisis against mental health, police brutality,
Gun violence, regardless of creed and race
They must stay strong!

“Mothers of the Movement”
This is dedicated to all mothers worldwide!

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Walking by Faith and Not by Sight

By WS

Just because someone stumbles and lose their way
Doesn’t mean that they’re lost forever!
I used to wake up in the morning not knowing what
That day was going to bring
And I still don’t
Furthermore my life, not caring at all.
And not knowing whether I should care or not
Feeling alone and abandoned with no father figure in my life.
Relying on a woman, my mother!
To show me right wrong, and how to be a man
When I was just a boy!
Going through obstacle after obstacle, betrayal after betrayal
Backstab, after stab, broken heart after broken heart
I guess I was looking for whatever I was looking for
In all the wrong places
Maybe it was love or maybe it was attention
Making all of the wrong left and right turns
Lead me right to the deadland that I was so in a rush to get to
Walking everyone’s else walks but my own.
Someone told me that the hardest lesson learned are the
Best lessons learned (then a voice in my head said)
You of all people don’t belong here! You’ve got to get out!
You’ve got to do what you were put here to do!
It was so intense!
All I could do was think about my family. My kids
The women that I plan on spending the rest of my life with,
My mother and siblings.
Then the voice spoke again and said
But it will get worse before it gets better, and you will go
Down fast, very fast
But don’t worry, it’s all part of his plan
And the voice continued to say!
You will go down, you will go underneath the bottom
So far beneath that it will seem like there’s no way up
But that’s when God! Will step in
And if you let him, not only will he bring you up. He will propel
You to heights that are unimaginable
He will take you to such triumphs that no one (not even you)
Will be able to deny that it was him (and I can’t)
I’ve been stabbed twice
I’ve been shot and could have died, I’ve used drugs that could
Have killed me, they’re called trials and tribulations!
I have a story to tell, that’s meant to help, stop, or save
Someone else’s life from destruction
If that’s God’s plan I’m with it, I don’t need to see where he’s
Leading me, I just need to get there
That’s what walking by faith is, letting go and letting God!
Walking by faith and not by sight, see now, I know that.
Faith is the substance of things hoped for, and the evidence of
Things not seen
So do I trust him? (yes)
Do I have faith in him? (yes)
Do I believe in Him? (yes) with all of my heart
So now I’ll just ride on the passenger side of this car and let Him drive
So if I’m not riding, I guess I’ll be walking
Walking by faith and not by sight
(How about you?)
If you put God!!! in your plans you can make them
As big as you want!

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More Than A Hashtag

By GD

Black Lives Matter is more than a hashtag…
More than a movement. More than a conversation…
We are not to be complacent with the systematic racism and
Social injustice in this nation…
We’ve been subjected to slavery, segration, inequality
Dehumanization and separation…
Yet we demonstrated patience and focused on raising the
Generation that will create change!
However, by police we’re still slain
Our pain? Can no longer be ignored…
No longer can we afford to be oppressed, suppressed and
Depressed by a system that was structured to rupture the
Lives of people of color…
Now is time for us activists to be as active as a hyper kid
Who has too much sugar…
We must not stand by, but STAND UP! Or take a knee…
Whatever your preference might be…Just let it…BE!
Seen…Heard…Felt…Tasted and Smelled
Use all five senses plus common sense. Since the senseless
Killing of innocent blacks ain’t worth a dollar and five cents!
Poverty stricken…can’t make rent…damn shame!
We’ve always been a pawn in the political chess game…
This is still post slavery America, which means that
Reconstruction was constructed to recap destruction among us…
Jim Crow and the New Deal all feels the same to me…
It’s plain to see that the political parties dances to the
Beat of their own drum for far too long…
In order for our nation to change, we need legislation to change…
Replacing the racists who’ve been perpetuating divisiveness and hatred
Congressmen and senators are akin to a gang with multiple leaders
And we need change from the inside-out and one who righteous
To lead us, not tweet at!
Black Lives Matter is more than a hashtag
More than a trend
This is where our voices and actions mend!
Breonna Taylor’s and George Floyd’s deaths were symbolic
And tells the story of our history that’s still true…
And that is if you get too comfortable and sleep on your
Surroundings, they will kill you!
George’s last breath lasted 8 min, 46 seconds and connects
To the knee of racial oppression that’s been on our neck
Jacob Blake’s fate resonates with the mistake to underestimate
Their disregard for black faces…
These Black Lives Mattered! You can’t hashtag that!

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3 Days and 2 Nights

By IS

Content Warning: Appendicitis, Medical Neglect

For 3 days and 2 nights I suffered inside a cell
Inside the grips of death my body screamed for help
No words can ever describe the fear and pain I felt
To die before 25 my body’s killing itself
No opportunity to help myself, my rights were stripped away
So I turn to those in charge but they tell me that I’m okay
I cry out please I’m in pain!
My condition still unexplained!
Don’t neglect me ‘cause of these chains!
To do so is inhumane! But still…
I sat for 3 days and 2 nights
Inside this ring with Death my body’s losing this fight
Not once, but twice, they told me I’d be alright
My body’s screamin they’re wrong
My soul’s hoping they’re right
fearing that if I sleep I will travel into the light
fearing that if I don’t I won’t make it through out the night
So I stayed patient and prayed
And ask God to remove this pain
By the virtue of His Greatest names
Through prayer I had been saved
for 3 days and 2 nights, through these moments I have been changed
Though these scars will still remain
My mentality is not the same

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A Gift If You Choose to Accept

By MR

If I could give you anything, I’d surely extend to you the immeasurable gift of hope…
Because when life and all those you trusted turn their
backs this element should help you progressively cope…
Through the hardships that are current, and the struggles that are sure to come…
So be motivated regardless of your shortcomings because
the battles lost turn into lessons of the wars you won…
Yet, I’ve still discovered that when I’m positively grounded,
I’m less likely to entertain any form of hate…
Due to the fact, my receptors are programmed only to pull
towards energy that’s constructing my self-desire of fate…
And although it’s never within me to judge, I will criticize
for the sake of my eternal peace and clarity…
A past stricken with adolescent anxiety and the absence
of love helped bridge the spills off my pride without charity.
This quest became a marriage without commitment…
A formal pursuit to the unknown without persistence…
An undying legacy without acknowledging tradition…
And my choice to accept divinity and truth without religion.
Unfortunately, I know the last line may raise the question
of whether am I a God-fearing man or not…
But to comprehend my analogy, you must first separate
the lessons from the questions encouraging your plot…
Because the difference between religion and the culture
of truth is that there’s actually no difference at all…
Nevertheless, how you worship God and cast your own
Karma will ultimately determine whether you rise or fall…
And when the eyes of your spirit finally open, you’ll
Realize the commonality between us is that we’re all living
and that our imperfections are small reminders that nothing
in life isn’t achievable without the right decision.

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The Gates of Hell

By VH

Everywhere I walk someone else uses a rusty key to go through
The Gates of Hell
And I’ve aged with all the rusty keys slowly dying in my prison cell
My once lovely brown eyes have turned pitch black like the darkest stone
For I’m hurting inside, the pain deep within my every last bone

Gang Affiliation and criminal activity, that’s the path I chose
And my so called “friends and family” are gone and my life’s been put on froze
When the heat of the sun hits my face I can’t tell if its sweat or tears that I’m tasting completely
For I’m anxious, I’m sweating, I’m hurt, I’m crying, and it’s only my life I’m completely wasting

I was moving fast on the outside, being put in here they moved quicker
And sometimes I feel like I’m going crazy my mind gets even sicker
Headaches cloud my thoughts and I imagine that my brain is bleeding
For a little comfort, I have none, love’s been what I’m needing

I’m tired of telling stories and I just want to do my time
For I know how to pay my debts, this tale is truly mine
There’s no escape but across the fence I can see that the grass is a
Marvelous green
And I feel like my life’s been a movie and this a long dragged out scene

24/7 I feel that I’m a temperature rising fire
For if I don’t make some changes I’ll be looking down at my dead
Body, my spirit ascending higher and higher
The gates of hell, “prison,” one day I’ll walk no more
And then I’ll hold the keys and I’ll forever pray til then that I
Finally choose the right door

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Power

By AG

When I think of power, I envision someone
Who can move mountains
In a poor, famine country he can build a fountain
Giving people free blissful water
Someone when they see homeless
They don’t hesitate to give a quarter
To all the charity work of Doctors without Borders
Single mothers who still adopt children
Lending a bed, sheets, and covers and hot food in the oven.
A woman who does make up and hair.
A rape victim who refuse to stay quiet in her chair
Her story matters, so I do care
Men who built landscape every type of hard labor
To the doctors at St. Jude Hospitals
They’re the real saviors
Someone who gives without looking for return favors
To the great teachers whose presence demands attention
In a classroom
Even to juniors who sanitize and clean bathrooms
Power is giving, building, uplifting, motivating
To see power in one another
So let’s come together as sisters and brothers
Plants and stem, then blossom to a beautiful flower
Now that’s power

(Free Minds is power)

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Are We Under Attack

By VC

Say their names
Ahmaud Arbery / Breonna Taylor
I can’t breathe
George Floyd
Are we under attack
“2010“ Aiyana Stanley Jones
Gone but not forgot
Are we under attack
2nd guessing police protection
The untimely demise of so many
Is why I’m stressing
Feeling like a target
In my complexion
A shade I can’t rest in
Until I’m finally resting
Are we under attack
Tamir Rice / Michael Brown Jr.
Are we under attack
6, 7, 8/20, 21, 22/34, 35, 36/48, 49, 50
I lost count after that
Are we under attack
Those are your murders
So explain that
“Just us” in fact
How unjust is that
Justice don’t run in black
Are we under attack
So what am I to do
When your animosity
Stands between
Me
And
You
Are we under attack
When black lives matter
To “us”
But
Not you
Are we under attack
What I refuse to do
Is
Hate you back
The lack of equality
The injustice system
Now
I hate that
It
Undermines my hue
Enforces the barrier between
Me
And
You
Are we under attack
We were created equal
Slavery was abolished
Why
Is
Segregation your sequel
Are we under attack
Say their names
And
You got the answer to that
Are we under attack
See the cultural diversity
On the front line screaming facts
“Black Lives Matter”
Is
A
Testament/movement
That so many
Don’t
Support your crap

Author’s Note:

Throughout this writing I frequently refer to are “we“ under attack.

I purposely used “we” rather than “are blacks under attack,” simply because the use of ”we” is my personal endeavor to pay homage to the vast majority of Whites, Hispanics, Asians, Native Americans, and others that unite under the banner of seeking justice, enforcing the constitution and advocating that Black Lives Matter.

Each and everyone of you are deeply engraved in my usage of “we”!

In solidarity,

VC

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