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.

Silent Voice

Silent Voice

Hear me as I speak not out loud but silently.

No sound do you hear from me, but my words speak loudly.

My words hit you and your face drown with tears.

My words hit you and change appears.

I write to change I write to arrange all in a large range.

To not use your brain… You don’t think that’s insane?

To look down on each other that’s old it’s now lame.

To not want change you’re being ignorant you should be ashamed.

Assassinate your so-called differences.

Eliminate racism we are all human and we all possess a soul.

Help each other because we are all one in a whole.

No matter if you’re White, Black, or any race no one should be controlled.

I’m sixteen and I carry myself as if I was nineteen probably twenty years old.

My voice is silent but my words are very loud and they’re not getting old!

Poem: “What Don’t Kill Me Can Only Hurt Me”

What Don’t Kill Me Can Only Hurt Me

Remember when I was on the moped and got hit off
or when I was on the dirt bike and my hand almost got cut off
you probably think I was a daredevil wit the sh*t I was doing
but I was always under the influence.
I remember when I was younger and my mama used to leave me
and always left my grandma to feed me.
I had a lot of attention but I never wanted to be seen
I never thought of crying ’cause that wasn’t my thing
They say everything happens for a reason
I wish I knew mine while I’m sitting here counting out seasons.
Right now I feel like I’m in a lot of pain
and as 1, 2, 3, days go by
I still feel the same.
You heard, “What don’t kill you can only make you stronger.”
Well, I believe that metaphor no longer.
When your heart was broke did you feel stronger?
I bet your heart felt like it was in a coma.
What didn’t kill me left me wit a heart ache, cut, scare, bruise, or sore
and I never felt stronger then I was before.
Will I be stronger in the long run if you leave me?
Thinkin’ hell of a lot I think I found the key.
Everybody go off what they hear or see.
When the truth is what don’t kill
can only hurt me.

Poem: “Trapped”

Trapped

My vision obstructed by the bars on my window as I watch the sun’s incline
Regrets escape for only a moment, moving along hastily as time.
Trying to drift away from this place of hate with gates laced with knives,
but I’m trapped within a cage that holds me close while manipulating my mind.
The stone walls whispers attempting to soothe my hunger while caressing my pain.
Freedom, I strive for though some days I feel as if my struggle is in vain.
My cries for help are smothered by screams of frustration, day to day stress I live through
Yesterday was like today and tomorrow is the same I’m trapped in a realm of déjà vu
Why’s are no longer summoned while my pillow fondles my neck and head
Nights no longer filled with sweet dreams only nightmares pictures of the dead.
Tucked neatly in my coffin longing for slumber, just wanting to rest in peace
Instead I’m trapped in prison from being caged in by the streets.

Poem: “Generation X”

Generation X

Generation X the name they
gave us.

Foreseen to fail they described
us rebellious.

The worst generation
y’all say.

Why not explain to us or
better yet let me explain
to you.

I am one the Generation X
I can be cruel but also
good-hearted too.

The world changes and if you
are new to the world so
will you.

If you was me what
would you do.

Yes, I’ve been locked-up and
some of the best people have
too.

But don’t give up on me
because I wouldn’t have gave
up on you.

Let me tell you something…

I’m proud to be Generation X
because I will change the
world to a different tune.

So be ready to be shocked
because I am a part of
Generation X and I will be there to see
you soon.

Poem: “Don’t Give Up”

Don’t Give Up

I have come so far
There is so much I have seen
There is much more I want to see
But my incarceration tortures me
I keep my minds on books
That’s what keeps me free
I’m a free man in my thoughts
My body is stuck behind this cell.

Poem: “?!Love?!”

?!Love?!

Love.
What’s love?
I mean what’s the true meaning of love?
People use this word “love” all the time.
But do they really know what it means?
Some people say just to say it.
I think it’s a good feeling you have for someone.
I have that type of feeling for my family.
It’s a good feeling.
I thought people had that feeling for me.
But they did nothing but disappoint me.
That’s the feeling I’ve been having lately

    “Disappointment”

I don’t really know if that’s a feeling

Poem: “In Jail Or In Someone Else’s Arms”

In Jail Or In Someone Else’s Arms

Dedicated to my ex-girl
You was right, I was wrong

When u thought about me in the mid hours of the night
where was I

In jail or in someone else’s arms

When u wanted me, needed me and yearned 4 me
where was I

In jail or in someone else’s arms

When u held your stomach and looked into the
mirror as u thought about our future
where was I

In jail or in someone else’s arms

When u told me that when I’m ready my bed
will always be made where was I

In jail or in someone else’s arms

When u cried out of pain as our baby blood
rushed out your veins where was I

In jail or in someone else’s arms

When u sorrowed and couldn’t believe our baby
was gone where was I

In jail or in someone else’s arms

When u told me I was a dog and that situation was
the last straw where was I

In jail or in someone else’s arms

When u gave up on our love and decided not to trust
where was I

In jail or in someone else’s arms.

Poem: “Strong”

Strong

Strong people make life go on
And some people live nice and some got the right price
Rich or poor, people always want more even if their heart is open and sore
But that’s life and it’s what people adore.

Poem: “Matemáticas” (“Mathematics”)

Today we have another poem that was written in Spanish and has been translated into English so that more people can read it.

Matemáticas

a veces odio las matemáticas porque las comparo
con la forma que tengo que vivir

los problemas nunca terminan como los números,
mis problemas se multiplican, y mis alegrias se restan
mis días de desesperación
se suman, y mis preocupaciones se dividen
entre mis familiares y amigos, las matemáticas
son mis problemas, son los que
tengo que vivir

Mathematics

sometimes I hate mathematics because I compare them
with the way that I have to live

the problems never end like the numbers
my problems multiply, and my joys are subtracted
my days of desperation
add up, and my worries divide
between my family and friends, the mathematics
are my problems, they are the ones which
I have to live

Poem: “Time”

Time

Traveling the sky-blue sky,
Pondering on what to write
Temporarily escaping my reality,
And I’m home eating a variety of hot, spicy Latino home-cooked meals.
Everything feels just right.

Every new poem I write is a new-grown green leaf on an old brown tree.
Vast amounts of trees are found back home
Where you see monkeys swinging from tree to tree and where I once lived truly free.
This pen bleeds my thoughts and emotions,
I write best when I’m alone, at peace and without commotion.

Dreaming and writing are ways of obliterating the abyss we call time.
Focus on the positive things you can do,
Forget the negative things you’ve done.
Time is a word, numbers are digits.
Both man-made, Time doesn’t really exist.

Poem: “Ain’t No Second Life”

Ain’t No Second Life

I started off when I was young, explicit situations.
A whole lot of drama, family problems
I was raised to have respect, but I was raised wit no father.

I see the temptation, and I feel the fire when my heart beat
I’m weezing when I speak; it’s kind of hard for me to breathe.
The chills from the wind and the smoke in my system
Got me paranoid in the night.

I do what I gotta do, but I can’t do what I wanna do
Without God in your shoes, it’s kind of hard to do right…
That’s why I think twice when I move
‘Cause it ain’t no second life when you lose,
So make a choice when you choose.

Poem: “Conversion”

Conversion

Rafael to Rahael, one day it took.

As I inhale then exhale,
I pray by the book.

From nothing to Islam,
I like what I saw.

From unstable to stable,
I like what I’ve withdrawn.

From bad to good,
I try to be on my din.

To humble from mean,
I do not for green.

I do for blessings for the hereafter,
You know what I mean?

As I read and learn, I teach in turn.
Umma and sabr is what I have earned.