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.

Poem: “Weight”

Weight

Weight under my eyes
because I want to cry.
Weight on my hands
because I’m trying to push people to do good.
Weight on my head
because I’m learning so much.
It’s like I’m getting fed on Thanksgiving’s weight.
So much weight –
I don’t want to go back
I want to go straight.

Poem: “A Dropped Call?”



A Dropped Call?

 

Never one to jump to conclusions

I’m always willing to give a person the benefit of the doubt

Maybe they accidentally hung up

Perhaps their finger accidentally brushed up against the wrong button…

Yeah, that’s probably what happened

I’ll try again

Ring…ring…ring

Answering machine

Well damn, I know I’m not lunchin’

I just heard them answer the phone a minute ago when I called

I’ll try one more time

Ring…answering machine

Doesn’t get any clearer than that, oh well.

Wonder what’s for chow tonight?

Only if it were actually that simple

That would be great

But in reality, the rest of my day is defined by a storm of confusion

All of my doubts, fears and anxieties whirling around in my head

Like tree branches and back yard garbage cans in a hurricane

That big, bluish-black monster named Depression

Begins to creep and stalk me like a vulture in the desert

I’m fully aware of his big ugly presence

He’s as cold as ice

And the closer he gets, the more depleted I feel

I try to fight him, but I’m totally disarmed

And he continues to consume me whole, slowly but surely

All of a sudden, I feel exhausted and I have to lay down to sleep

I awake in the calm of my storm

Rain letting up, clouds clearing out, and the sun shining through

I bounce back

Because I have to

Never will I lose sight of the primary objective

Make it home in one piece with a sound mind

I will soldier through any and every situation prison throws at me

And come out of here better than I came in

I just can’t help but wonder

Was it a dropped call?

Then again, I know better

Poem: “Encouragement”



Encouragement

 

I know it’s hard to prevail in some difficult times.

So I write to encourage you – whoever – not to lose your mind.

Situations can be different but never let them break you.

I’m in jail locked down all day but still I write.

Firm I am and my mind fixed tight.

A thing about this situation – never let the cell break you!

Keep you head up like a nose bleed in every situation.

Always know you will make it – your spirit don’t let no one take it.

This poem may not encourage all but I hope some.

Your life is never over until God say it’s done.

Remember every battle you may not win, but know the war has just begun!

 

 

Poem: “Quien no Sabe?”

Quien no Sabe?

Quien no sabe que la tierra pesa?
Quien no sabe que el fuego quema?
Todos saben que hay cosas que lastiman
Pero hay quienes les conocen que el encierro
Es un sufrimiento del que no se puede escapar,
Hay quienes no saben lo que es reír por no llorar
Hay muchos que desconocen el sufrimiento

Nadie sabe lo que es sufrir
Hasta que la experiencia les toca vivir

Quien no sabe que la tierra pesa?
Quien no sabe que el fuego quema?
El ser un sobreviviente del encierro basta
Para ser un testigo del sufrimiento
Basta la experiencia para ver que hasta que no has estado presente
No conoces lo que es sufrir
Puedes escuchar historias, leer artículos, imaginar,
Tratar de estar en los zapatos de el que ha sufrido
No es lo mismo
La experiencia lo cambia todo

Who Does Not Know?

Who does not know that earth is heavy?
Who does not know that fire burns?
Everyone knows that there are some things that hurt
But there are some that know that imprisonment
Is a suffering one can not escape
There are some that know what it is to laugh so you don’t cry
There are many who are unaware of suffering

No one knows what suffering is
Until they live the experience

Who does not know that earth is heavy?
Who does not know that fire burns?
Surviving imprisonment is enough
To make you a witness to suffering
Enough experience to see that until you have not been present
You don’t know what it means to suffer
You can listen to stories, read articles, imagine,
Try to be in the shoes of one who has suffered
It’s not the same
Experience changes everything

Poem: “Too Young”

Too Young

 

Too young to be over DC Jail

But you can’t be afraid

So to stay out of trouble you watch TV and play spades

You try to be cool and protect your space

Because you don’t want to get in a fight and get maced

Too young to smoke

But you are never too young to hope

Poem: “If There Were More”

If There Were More…

If there were more things for the children to do in the community,
it would decrease murder, drug dealing from the youth.
Put recreational centers for them.
When the kids growing up and see people on the corner
with money and cars, shooting every night
they are going to like it
and want to become a fast money getter.

Look at it in a different way.
We are not raised this way
but people think children don’t see anything
but we see it all
then we become a victim of the system.

It took for me to come to jail to want something in life.
I want to be a firefighter or an architect.
But if there were more things for me to do in my neighborhood
I would not be here.
If there were more things for us children to do…

Instead of waiting, let’s take action and help the children,
so they can become successful and not disrespectful.

If there were more…

Poem: “Redemption”

Redemption

Redemption

is a lot on your mind

so it makes me want to shine

so when people look they might go blind

I live in the tree something like a pine

when I reach I’m reaching for the sun

and it’s the first time …

I’m not reaching for a gun.

Poem: “The Road for Me”

The Road for Me

Three months I’ve been in jail in one month it changed me.
My first poem “Change” was the new me.
I’m mad it took this to help me see.
There’s better things than just being on the block doing nothing.
I understand that you many have grew up on crime and don’t know anything.
But change is easy just let it be.
The things I did was for the adrenaline rush and out of curiosity.
I’ve done what I wanted and I won’t look back twice.
I’m looking forward to a better life.
I’m telling you if you’re doing crimes that road will leave you no reward at the ending.
I’m telling you that’s the wrong road from the beginning.

Poem: “Hear My Words”

Hear My Words

 

A soul and free will to do things is a gift from God.

Abusing my free will instead of listening, I ended up in jail. I feel like a retard.

My family knocked some sense into me and made me realize I only have one life to live.

My life I’m trying to live, people try to pull me down, it makes me feel as slavery is still around.

On top of that, within me is peace, at war with a beast when you look into my eyes maybe you can see.

Anger is an emotion I see that will always be, but patience is there to tame the feeling within me.

To forgive and forget is the best way to learn patience, do you agree?

Things that I’ve been doing have been assisting to be one with myself, you can say I’m finding me.

Change is one of the biggest factors that helped me if you change for the better good things will happen.

Look at me, I’m not speaking, but you hear me loudly. Call it my silent voice. My poems are the ship and my words are the captain. 

I’m up all night arranging my letters to try to change the world because I feel no need for napping.

I watch as people hear my words and a lot of people they are attracting.

Poem: “Unknown Victim”

Unknown Victim

I was once a boy who was just a paycheck
being shipped around like the property he was.
I was once a boy who cried between the bars
that kept him away from the life he once call home.
I was once a boy who was lost without his mother
that was addicted to the pain that was keeping him away.
I was once a boy who didn’t know the man
that made him into a seed to have a life by a mother in love.
I was once a boy who thought having a gun
was something to value.
I was once a boy who was criminalized
by his society.
I was once a boy who had talent but sold his dream to the society
and got nothing in return but a flight to prison.
I was once a boy whose goal was set to be the man I am today,
a man that realizes his people are the most privileged people in America.
A man that realizes school was then the only place he can read all day
but he chosen prison because that where his corruption had leaded him to.
A man that realizes he had to build his temple with the proper tools
that have been given to him to go back into the society
to save those who are still in a slave state of mind.
A man that realizes we need to do what we have to do so we can do what we want to do
and that is to uplift those who are still hanging onto the darkness of their lower-self
and give them a grip of love, truth, peace, freedom and justice
so they won’t continue to feed corruption to the mind of our youth
because children today are our future and we need them to stand on top of the lightness of their higher-self

Poem: Word to Lil Brova

By E.M.

Word to Lil Brova

 Well dis is what I got to say, don’t go out there running the street like me everyday.

 I mean just look at where I am at and where I could have been in could have been at home with y’all but I’m in jail with my cuzzins and guess what we all failed.

 I failed as a big brother to you I was there physically but not really there for you. I fought for you, kill for you, even when we were little I usta steal for you because that’s what I didn’t want you to do.

 I got beat up for you, even got jumped for you because as a big brother that’s what I was there to do to protect and believe in you.

 Since I was little my criminal way put me in awkward positions but as of today my criminal ways are finally finished.

 Well what I’m really tryin to say is don’t be like me be better than me show me that running the streets don’t run in our family.

 Don’t be no fool like me not going to school and breaking every one of mom’s rules.

 Show me that you can go to school and get A’s and B’s and get on the honor roll don’t give it to the streets but give god your soul.

 By the way give mom a rest she don’t need no more stress on her chest she already have enough coming from me that’s why she always have swollen feet but just tell her prop up her feet I’ll be home any day now from her son.

You’ll See

You’ll See

What am I doing in a cell?

I should be home getting ready to go to school instead of trying to make bail.

I realize my mistakes and that is good to know.

I’ve changed and I want to do better, but first I have to get home.

I see things differently now I won’t do wrong.

I know people say they not going go home and do the same thing.

But stupid they be and go do the same thing.

It won’t be me, I’m not going back out there and do the stupidity.

I’m going to go to school and get as educated as I can be.

I just need you to believe in me, on TV  I will be you will see!