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.

Lady Liberty

By M.V.

Lady Liberty must be sleep
Or maybe she turned her back
Lady Liberty must be sleep
Or maybe she doesn’t care
Lady Liberty must be sleep
Or maybe she’s in on it too
Lady Liberty must be sleep
Because there’s millions of people in a cage
Lady Liberty must be sleep
Because innocents are dying everyday
Lady Liberty must be sleep
Because those guilty remain free
Lady Liberty must be sleep
Or maybe she’s racist too
Lady Liberty must be sleep
Or maybe she just can’t see
Lady Liberty must be sleep
Or maybe she’s just a disguise
Lady Liberty must be sleep
Because we’re still waiting for justice
Lady Liberty must be sleep
Because we’re focused on the wrong things
Lady Liberty must be sleep
Because no one follows her values
Lady Liberty must be sleep

Trayvon, Tamir, Michael, Eric, Breonna, etc
The list is long, now Ahmaud and George

May you rest in peace
With Lady Liberty

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I Really Do This

By BG

I love to write my thoughts with paper and ink
If only to get a response of what it is you think
When I want to, I lay down and write rhymes
In the form of poetry line after line
Sometimes it takes a minute or two
Others five, though it’s all true
That’s what I like most about it
It don’t take long at all to write it
Plus it’s therapy
All positive energy

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Fear

By AL

Yesterday, fear was my greatest enemy
Yet, today it’s a companion of mine
And since no man can foretell the future
Tomorrow we’ll see what we shall find

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Strong and Fearless

By RA

We are faced with new times. Our homes have become workplaces and schools. I know some days it may get the best of you but try to understand and believe you can overcome anything you’re faced with because you are strong and fearless women.

You’re the strongest people we know. You have overcome so much in your lives that I know, and I believe you will become even stronger and make the Best of these New Times!

When it gets hard on you, just take a step back and say to yourself…I’m a strong and fearless woman, who will not let these new times get the best of me 😊

You are fearless, strong and you have this.

#FearlessAndStrong

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My Precious Little Gift

By SM

I’m grateful for my daughter
Just as much as a farmer is for rain in Texas
I love her more than bees love honey
I love her because when I look at her
I see an innocent little girl
That I can show more things than my peoples showed me
I am grateful for my daughter
Because when I watched her mother give birth to her
I realized that life was as precious as a VVS diamond
Or a AP Rolex
I need her more than I need oxygen in my lungs
I love her so much that if there was a scale
I would break the scale

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Mom I Wonder Why

By MC

When I had my appendicitis
And my first major surgery
You were right there
And I felt your compassion, concern, and care

When my feet would break out every summer
And I couldn’t walk without pain
You were right there
And I felt your compassion, concern, and care

When I had that heart attack
And had to be rushed to the hospital in an ambulance
You were right there
And I felt your compassion, concern, and care

When I had my tonsillectomy
And hemorrhaged all that blood
You were right there
And I felt your compassion, concern, and care

Yes, anytime in my life, I’ve suffered
An ailment that was clearly physical
You were right there
And I felt your compassion, concern, and care

But when I was distraught over our move
From the only home I’d ever known
Even though you were right there
I didn’t feel your compassion, concern, or care

And when I was homeless
And being abused by my brother-in-law
You were not there
And I didn’t feel you compassion, concern, or care

And when the depression and anxiety took over
And I turned to you for help
Though you were right there
I did not get your compassion, concern, or care

Now that I am locked away from everyone I love
And I feel more alone than ever before
Though when I call you, you are physically there
I no longer feel your compassion, concern, or care

Why anytime I’ve suffered ailments that aren’t physical
Though the pain is still very, very real
You are never there
With your compassion, concern, or care?

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Push-Pull!

By CM

Push! With all your force and your might
Push! With all your strength, you must fight
Push! And pray to conquer the night
Push! And pray for peace when in plight.

Pull! And show no fear when you’re scared
Pull! Your burdens bound to be shared
Pull! Persistence shows that you care
Pull! Your family’s free ‘cause you bled.

Push! And use the wind on your back
Push! You have no time to relax
Push! Relief, it comes with a tax
Push! In time, the strife will retreat.

Pull! Its fields of hope that you till
Pull! Values instilled with your will
Pull! Slowly survive this ordered
Pull! There’s a pasture over the hill!

Reach beyond your grasp, you’ll surely gain more,
Pull away from your past and push yourself forward.

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Broken Souls

By AE

They are cast aside, rejected,
Longing for that day, dejected,
Harboring torment, desperate,
Illusions of normality.
Twisted, sick, corrupt captors,
Like a black hole, it sucks you in;
The environment, the elements, rhetoric,
Nontransparent and hidden from society.
To our families, once begotten,
But now only forgotten,
They are broken around him,
Fallen, one by one, again and again.
The sickness is in the air…
But he fights it!
His gas mask, the only person who’s always cared,
Fighting to persevere, detractors become irrelevant,
His chin high, his chest out, he is benevolent.
He remains headstrong, steadfast, and whole,
And will never fall as a broken soul…

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Poem with a Verse

By AC

Let me take you to a place I like to go,
when I’m looking for some answers
to the many, many questions
about things that I don’t know.

There is no car that could take you on this road,
no shoes that could make your steps feel any lighter,
and there is no amount of magical concoctions
that could ease any of our pains
as we continue to march on.

We’ll have to travel East
until the East begins to blur
and slowly eliminates
any difference it can hold
in contrast with the West.

And we’ll continue on
until the North lifts up its arms,
becomes brothers with the South,
and respectfully embraces
in something resembling warmth.

When we get close to where we are going,
the clock will keep on ticking,
but its measurements will no longer mean a thing.
You can come and stay with me forever,
but there will be no one that could tell you
what forever really means.

At this place, the twilight lasts a little longer,
shining light on our ever-winding road
that ahead of us continues twisting
in contrast with how straight it may now seem
on the parts we’ve left behind.

We’ll need to find a way
to get off the road that we walk on
and get on to the trail
that will take us to the world that lies beyond.

When I get onto this trail, I always see a pond;
the dim light reveals shining silver water
that shows me the reflection of the person that I was,
the person I will be, and the person that I am.

On the horizon, I see mountains,
darkened by the distance,
hidden by the shadows
of all the things that are unknown,
unseen from where we are.

When the hypnotizing spell is broken
and I continue walking,
fireflies slowly begin to gather by,
lighting up for every thought and every idea
that proved way too elusive
to keep bottled in my mind.
Now they gently float on the warm breeze,
blessing me with light.

I keep walking until the ground is just no more,
until the water in the shining silver pond
begins to cascade off the side of this small world.
I sit down,
and I let my feet dangle off the edge
while I’m staring into space,
trying to figure out where the fireflies lights end,
and where the glowing lights from all those stars begin.

GOD, it’s all so beautiful out here.
You would think it would be cold,
but it feels so nice and warm.
The wind carries the familiar scents
of all the things I miss from home.

The starlights hit the water and then scatter,
shining light on to my face,
reminding me at once
of what I love about this place.

I check inside my pockets
for the things of value, I have brought.
Inside one of the pockets, I find a small, torn piece of paper
with a verse that I once wrote.
In the other, I have nothing,
and so I get the thought:
I am the richest man alive,
for I have nothing to distract me
from what really matters in this life.

And as I sit out here,
feet dangling on the edge of the whole world,
thanking whoever thought the earth was flat,
for I like to come here now
when nostalgia, loneliness, and sadness
take a hold of my poor soul.

I think about the stars,
and I feel their loneliness as well,
they spend their whole lives shining
in a place so far away.

I think about my loved ones,
I want to hug them,
I want to kiss them,
I want to tell them to their face
that I love them so very much,
every passing second of every single day.

I want to see the sparkles in their eyes,
I want to hear the glorious sounds,
of their laughter and their smiles.
I want all those things I love,
I want to live them once again.
I want all of those things,
all those things that give me strength.

Come, sit down with me.
Come, look at the stars with me, my friend.

 

About this poem: I just wanted to take the reader out on a field trip and bring him/her into my mind. Sorry for mess, I don’t usually have much company inside my head. I hope you guys enjoyed it. Good luck figuring out the symbolism.  

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Child of the Ghetto

By AF

Young child of the ghetto,
Through your eyes I can see
the pain,
Memories of the past roaming
through your
brain,
Friends, family, and the people
we used to know blood’s been washed up
by the rain.
Your heart then grew colder,
and acts of violence have gotten
bolder,
Feeling the whole world weighing
down on our shoulders,
And no longer caring whether we
live or die.
Young child of the ghetto
Young child of the ghetto,
I can feel your
pain
Disloyalty, deceit, betrayal, and
mischief
Is mainly what we see
when you live in Southeast;
I know because that child
was me.

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Elements

By MV

I was fortunate to walk this earth with my feet
To the earth will my elements go
Back to dust for someone else’s being, once I’m deceased

I was replenished by water, the sun’s rays against my face
Once I’m gone, my fluids will concede
Returning to its original stream

I meditated on my breath, synchronized with the wind
At one with the planet, on earth’s axis I slowly spin
Gladly I relinquish, exhale never again to take it in

The fire in my passion lit many trails ablaze
Eventually it too will meet the chill of death
As it returns to the coldness of space

I will be at peace, no regrets, no complaints
On how my life was spent
Thankful for my time, the elements, my temporary tent

As for my soul, whether there’s a heaven
Immediately after death I don’t know

Rumors of rewards, doctrines of Paradise
All I can do is be patient and enjoy this present life

 

Author’s note: I wrote this poem because of my experiments with meditation and Buddhist teachings. I wanted to convey my peace, not just in my living, but also the inevitability of death. What did I do with my elements? Hopefully by the time I come face to face with death, I can say that I used them wisely. Death has a lot to do with perception. Does one truly die if the elements that make up your essence remain? I know what I believe is to come, but logically I can’t know for sure. It’s more of a hope I hold inside. But what I do know, because it’s tangible, is the elements that make up my being, and for them I’m truly grateful.  

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Justice Is Blind

By TG

By TG

Justice is blind
or so I’m told
can’t see a thing
through that blindfold

She cannot see
color of skin
wealthiest king
or poorest kin

The Queen’s English
status by words
the ignorant
by misused verbs

My place of birth
my motherland
whether I am
woman or man

Adds to her choice
which way sword steers
she may be blind
but she can hear

Let’s not forget
her weighing scales
where pocketbooks
always prevail

The innocent
weigh a feather
silver or gold
weigh much better

And to her sword
the choice is clear
unbalanced scale
prejudice ear

Justice is fair
I’ve heard men say
because her sword
can cut both ways

Tooth for a tooth
eye for an eye
live by the sword
and you shall die

But if you’re rich
you need not fear
unbalanced scales
whisper in ear

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