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.
Sittin’ here in this alias place…
Everything orange I knew I had a serious case
Chillin’ in the cell for about three or four days…
Thinkin’ to my homeboy out loud, tellin’ him we shouldn’t have went that way…
I had so many signs before I hit this case
I ignored them all so the Lord put me in my place
Or yet… he put me in a place
I’m too legit to quit, I’m not like these fakes.
We go through the school day wondering why we are here
We feel like no one understands us
Sometimes the teachers give us something to fear
This results us getting kicked out of class
We camaflouge our true feelings so we don’t let anyone in
We beat each other up because we don’t truly love
We want someone to show us the way, we want it to end
We give up, we no longer look for help from above
So we die or get locked up ‘cause we have no hope
People tell us we’re never going to be anything
We kill ourselves by smoking dope
While feeling insecure and helpless
We will make you an offer, help us with our internal issues
And we’ll be the best student you ever had
Let us cry out our feelings give us tissues
And together we can achieve greatness and success
Is it my fault I grew up around crud living
the block can turn you into a man now im drug dealing
My best friend mama smokin buttas should I serve her
or let my pockets stay broke because I love her
Lil sisters going crazy man they wildin out
Cuz I was in when mama died God im cryin out
Is it my fault i got a lust for material things
addicted to fast money I love pitchin to fiends
Everybody want change thats what Obama say
You gotta get it how you live dats wat my mom would say
my mind gone insane man dats what the doctor say
now go where I live and go c where the doctor stay
its a real big difference from my project building
so u could neva understand man dis project living
floor after floor its a story in these walls
the only place u can get rich go to jail then lose it all
so is it my fault that i did wat i did
lil babies havin babies raisin project kids
is it my fault i want a different type of living
yea its my fault cuz im just gettin it how im living
Free is a Word
Free is a word I have come to appreciate
Education is something I can now relate
Stress never again will I let it determine my fate
Poetry the release I need to control the hate
Society wrote me off as a lost cause
But free I am and free I shall remain
I changed my hustle from drugs
To books and knowledge gotta maintain
And I will.
World Full of Dreams
I’m a little seed in this world full of dreams
Waiting to grow out to be someone real important
So many significant figures stood up and died
For what they dreamed and believed
If you really want to achieve something great
These dreams are in the air floating invisibly
All you have to do is close you eyes and grasp it
And hold on to it till the end.
My Society’s Problem
We deal with issues that include “hateration”
It will continue to affect us for more generations
People don’t realize they have learned how to hate
It’s so deep being blocked by anger and fate
Friends pretend that they are loving the great life
But the truth of the situation is simply struggle and strife
Just like me, we have too much pride
But some don’t have a struggling mom by their side
You need to realize struggle is the way of life
You see someone doing better
You rob him with no hesitation in sight
You see hustlers with a quick solution
So you start selling drugs to handle problems that’s polluting
Selling drugs gets you everything you need
But you’ll always be incarcerated
Believe that indeed
People don’t care who gets hurt
As long as they getting paid by selling their work
Most don’t have time to worry about police or dying
Feeling like they already dying while they leave their parents left crying
I have pride in my culture
I know my heritage
I’m not worthless and I am conditioned to feel the advantage
The projects are designed for those to fail
We don’t see the experiment
But as young black males, we live and die by consequence
Men lose their confidence and are afraid to admit fear
Deep inside they admit it with a little inside tear
You see, hate is a very strong word to a young man like me
But if you don’t resolve the problem
The consequence will last eternity
Slowly Fading Away
I feel like I’m slowly fading
Like smoke into thin air
In constant search of a caring soul
But no one really cares
It’s rare to find a genuine heart, truly sincere and kind
Expecially when you end up in a predicament like mine
Snatched away from society at a very young age
With no guidance and no structure, I was living in a haze
But the past is done and gone and my future seems bleak
I’m slowly fading away
Like a drunk when he drinks
I think this life is worth living
Sometimes it’s hard to tell
It’s like I was born into Satan’s hands, then cast into hell
My potential is at a peak, where I’m beginning to see
But twenty years from now, who knows where I’ll be
Still locked in a cell where my potential and worth is a “was”—a thing of the past
So vast my dreams and goals, things I aspire to achieve
It’s a daily struggle for me to continue to believe
To believe that I could actually be more than a thug
To believe that a woman still wants to give me a kiss with her love
Still wants to see me smile and tell me I’m so cute
To see that I’ve blossomed into a wonderful man
Though I didn’t have rich roots
Locked away like this, everyone seems to forget
I’m slowly fading away
Into a bottomless pit
Out of sight, out of mind, damn it’s a shame
Sometimes I wonder if certain people even remember my name
In a predicament like this you become very aware
Before, ignorance was bliss and you don’t know to be scared
I feel like I have so much to offer
But am I really even here?
Time waits for no one, and no one sees my tears
I’m ripe and ready for whatever
I’m 21 years young
Sometimes my soul feels 80, like it’s almost done
I’m slowly fading away
Into a mist of confusion
Constantly wondering if my life is just an illusion
Spoken But Not Heard
From the pallid walls my voice emanates, it elucidates our struggle
It depicts frustration and rage from when our voices were muffled
When no one listened or cared, feelings never were spared, so hearts
resembled prunes. Violence ensued leaving too many cold and blue.
Blood red tears cascaded down the cheeks of momma’s face,
she cried as she consoled her baby with her last loving embrace.
Spoken but not heard!
Our cry for help rejected, learning facilities neglected, hearts dejected
by circumstance, nobody saw our anger. Danger followed,
murder hollowed bodies because they failed to listen.
Intentions misunderstood due to malignant intuition.
Sentences issued, toy soldiers locked away to decay from inside out, doubt
filled our world without drought. Certainty never came.
Red rain beating the roof of a house where hurt and pain resides.
Memorials raised, pictures depicting fertile thoughts that strayed,
then died. All we ever heard from the public was why. Debating facts
and fantasy as our world collides.
Spoken but not heard.
I’m sittin’ here chillin, thinkin’
about the past. All the stuff I’ve been
through, some thought I wouldn’t last.
I’m still standing, I’ve overcome
many obstacles, I see
success and I smell it all in my nostrils.
It’s mandated, this thing is
like non-optional, something to push
against when these haters insist on knockin’
you! Aggressively pressin’ forward you
can’t ignore it, finessin’ you lyrically
can’t help but support it. I’m in
a lane of my own and I can’t be
topped. I’m standin’ firm like a pillar
and yes I’m as strong as an ox.
So versatile that I can’t be stuffed in a box.
My views are universal, no longer
left in the dark. Can’t be afraid or timid,
gotta be sure, keep raisin’ the bar
because I know I’m deserving of more.
I’ma keep on knockin’ until they open
the door and see what’s arrived
watch their chins drop to the floor.
Yeah, I made it, endured what you could bring.
I’m tested and tried so give me my champion’s ring.
I dare to dream so I see the best
is yet to come. I’m about to rise,
and shine, just like the sun. Never been
one to run from a battle, I hold it down.
Toe to toe, blow for blow and round
for found. Divinely inspired I’m destined
for greatness indeed. If you can’t
seem to find the way, just follow my lead.
I’m on top, give me my props,
and home stand down. In case you don’t
notice partner, I’m the man now.
-Dedicated to my son who is 1-
Deshawn is like the sun in the sky
He brightens my day with a blink of his eye
Deshawn is like the brightest star
He shines a lot, you can see him from afar
I love Deshawn and he loves me too
When I go home he’ll make me new.
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.
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
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
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