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.
Time to Time
Time to time I think about dying
Time to time I think about crying
Time to time I think about trying
Time to time I think about lying
Time to time I can do good
Time to time I could do bad
Time to time I’m so sad
This girl dun blind my view like a shiny watch,
She has my head thinkin’ emotional like the speech at the Million Man March.
Sometimes I just reminisce and smile,
Because of how much I miss her.
Her ways, her style, her whole demeanor,
I never knew I would find such a strong, independent black sistah
that I could talk to like she is my biological sistah.
She knows who’s real and who’s a wangsta
So don’t try to bring your weak game if you a pranksta.
Most dudes can’t even handle her
They say she too aggressive or mean,
I say that’s my mystery lover
You just don’t know how to persuade her.
Jeweled beyond compare
Worth more than worth,
More beautiful than nature
My sphinx’s princess.
My Dearest One
There are no words 2 express
how much I truly care.
So many times I fantasize of
feelings we can share.
My heart has never known
the joy u bring 2 me.
As if God knew what I wanted
and made u a reality.
I’d die 2 hold u or 2 kiss u,
or merely to see your face.
My stomach quivers, my body shivers
and my heart increases pace.
2 give me money or lots of gold,
would not be the same 2 me.
I prayed and watched the distant stars,
and finally u came 2 me.
You make me happy
You make me smile
You make my blood
run like the river
called the Nile
And it’s so cold
you wrap me up
in towel just like
I was your child
You the reason I
think of black power
because you is
a strong black woman
who I desire
This a crazy life that I’ve been given
Wondering if the life that I’m livin’, Is based on me makin’ decisions
Stuck in da streets running and duckin’ from these prisons
All because a vision, of me having a street ambition
Can u picture a picture by lookin’ at a the frame?
My life’s sort of the same, except I’m a picture of what I’ve became
Without a frame I’m unstabilized tryna find balance
Traveling through the valley of darkness with all this senseless violence
Tryna find the reason y the Lord put me on this earth
‘Cause ever since my birth my moms left and showed me how much I’m worth
Waking up in the bed wit cold sweats and piss around my legs
Feeling 4 a figure in the dark that wasn’t never there
So how wasn’t it fair when I chose the streets over family?
Ain’t nobody hold me down but Grandma Redz, Auntie, and Triece
Mawn did good but she couldn’t neva settle my peace
The only one who was missin’ was the one who developed me
Ever since a fetus u rubbed yo stomach and promised me
When I made my journey 2 this world that I’ll live stress-free
I guess I had to bring a fee ’cause all my life I had 2 pay
4 a broken promise that was made before my birthday
Sometimes I try to find a way 2 get away from this life
But if I end it all 2nite will I really live twice?
Ain’t no heaven made for a man wit a suicide attempt
Unless my suicide was meant 2 save someone that I intend
But I can’t c myself doing something I can prevent
Unless I gotta air someone out in order for me to vent
My anger is held in contempt ’cause it burst impulsively
So don’t say nuthin’ 2 me and u won’t b made history
My biography comes from a background full of struggle
From getting’ in trouble 2 now fixin’ this puzzle
Looking back at the past life of me being a toddler
Another child with a destiny aging without his father
Prison was my downfall but it beats meeting the alter
This probably a calling from God to get my life in order
U know ur mind’s corrupt when u’ll die 4 a quarter
In 2 deep wit the streets that I was trap on a corner
Note: This poem was written in Spanish and has been translated into English.
Si me tocara dejarte saber como es mi corazón
yo te dijiera es blanco como la nieve y frio
cuando no sé de ti, y en primavera
mi corazón derrama amor por todo tu alrededor
Mi corazón actua salvaje cuando mira
que tu no estás presente, mi corazón
tiene presente que esto es real y no
se puede acabar con letras ni con nada
Mi corazón se siente torturado
cuando no te encuentra a su lado
desesperado buscando respuestas en
el pasado, porque de ti está completamente
Mi corazón es blanco y puro cuando tu
estás a mi lado, mi corazón es un
instrumento que solo existe para
demostrar mis sentimientos
y darle vida a tu vida
If you touched me you would know about my heart
and I would tell you it’s white like the snow and cold
when I haven’t heard from you, and in the spring
my heart pours love all around you
My heart acts savage when it sees
that you are not here, my heart
knows that this is real and can’t
be stopped with letters or anything
My heart is tortured
when it can’t find you at its side
desperately searching for answers in
the past, because with you it is completely
My heart is white and pure when you
are at my side, my heart is an
instrument that only exists
to show my feelings
and give life to your life
Killing is a everyday living
I don’t like stealing but things that’s given
What I like best is sexual healing
My favorite holiday is Thanksgiving
I like when my parents is caring
When I die I want to die in my sleep
Rather than getting shot on the street
People say my heart real deep
I’m sick and tired of all these creeps
The reality of my life is that I’m a caged animal.
This cage is where I’m living, eating, sleeping,
and waking up every morning weeping…
They’ll confine/cage me in a coffin that’ll separate
me from the outside…
Outside where a butterfly flies freely
Yet, I’m inside & outside is where I should be,
being that I’m INNOCENT & have repented
for the sins I’ve committed,
being committed and devoted to Allah is
what I’m doing,
relinquish all hope of being released is
what’s soon to happen…
The charges against me are inaccurate
and I’m not in debt to society…
Yet, all of this is my reality.
The reality of my life is that I’m a caged
Drinking up all the Danimals back home
is what I miss…
Missing me back home is what my mom is
doing, enduring pain and grief as if
I’m feeling like I’m dead,
I’m feeling like I’m dying…
If I die in this cage A.K.A grave,
I pray 2 Allah my soul to take.
This will serve as my testament.
I’m no hoodlum, I’m a revolutionist…
I with a profound passion hate the New World
Order regime era; we are ALL living in.
They’re reckless & relentless on becoming a
New God or Religion…Illuminati…it’s NOT
a conspiracy theory…That’s what I believed in…
The day I wake to see the light…
I want it to be a celebration. For I’m at last
FREE…FREE of ALL Reality.
“Anthony Reads His Own Palm”
I come from the heart of the streets
where the gorillas can’t be beat
And the untamed animals won’t
Disasters happen and the darkness
can’t be treated
Therefore, I lean on my right and play to
Hopin’ I don’t get left
I come from a family of animosity
But it’s hard to see
So there ain’t no need to let the father speak
Weaknesses and cramps
Working up and hard-headed like a concentration camp
I come from a short life so my life can
be cut short
So I gotta stay on track and pray to
Everything has a title
even Title 16’s
They throw you in a cell
and a number is your name
And they will throw you in da hole
to make you forget everything
No clothes, no bed, not even underwear
It’s dark and dirty with rats everywhere
All I write about is being locked up
cuz all I think about is getting da f***
The goal of this blog is for readers to provide encouragement and feedback for our young writers, and also to build connections with incarcerated Free Minds members and the outside world. This is often their first attempt at creative writing. Behind bars, they sometimes feel as though the world has forgotten about them. Our writers look forward to hearing how others have been affected by their writing. Every week we print out the comments and pass them along to the poets. This positive feedback helps them find their voices as writers and inspires them to continue writing.
Tips for Giving Feedback:
1. Always begin with something positive—an aspect, character, or style that worked for you. We are trying to provide suggestions for making it better, and turning something good into something great.
2. Feedback should ideally be specific and concrete, giving the writer a particular element to focus on in their revisions.
3. It is also helpful if you can describe how the poem made you feel (happy, sad, etc.) or what it made you think.
4. End with a suggestion for what you would like to read more of. Recognize the courage it took for them to write these poems.
Examples of feedback for poetry:
“Remembering a Photo”
I am fly with a blue sweat suit on
Big ears, big head, and a tall body
My mother calls me Sweet Pea
I am fresh with the new Jordan #3’s
And a white t-shirt on
I am remembering a photo
I really like the concept and brevity of this poem. You do an excellent job of giving the reader just enough details to imagine the whole picture. I especially love the first three lines. I do think, though, that the last line could be better. We know that you are remembering a photo since it is the title of the poem, so I would like, as a reader, for the last line to suggest something more about the poem, maybe something about how this memory makes you feel, or what you think about your past self. This is an excellent start, and has the potential to be a really excellent poem. Keep writing!
I refuse to stay in park and become rusty and old
I want my value to go up
So I’ll always be worth bein’ sold
You can be stubborn and stay the same
But I’ma make a quick change
Like a Lambo switching lanes
Tryin’ to get to its destination
One thing people fail to do
Is make change–a revelation
You need it to get places in life
Well I’ma make an upgrade
While you clowns stay in clown stage
I hate the saying “One apple can spoil a bunch”
Comparin’ apples with humans
Apple don’t have brain human do
I’m glad unique sticks to me like glue
I’m daring to be different
I’m feeling sick with change-like symptoms
I love the images you’ve created with this poem. The overall metaphor of yourself as a car and life as a road makes the poem really stand out. It’s also very easy to see, and that makes the poem fun to read. The poem has a really good rhythm too, especially in this line: “Is make change–a revelation.” The break in the middle of that line is really interesting, and opens the poem up to different ways of reading it. One thing that I would like to see, though, is the connection between “While you clowns stay in clown stage” and “I hate the saying…” Keep doing what you’re doing. I love the way you have made concepts like change very specific things that the reader can relate to. For example, “I’m glad unique sticks to me like glue” is an excellent use of words and rhythm, but it’s also very cool in that it takes a big idea like ‘unique’ and connects it to the everyday world. I see some of that in the title and the last line too, “change-like symptoms,” which relates change to your physical body and really makes the reader think. Excellent work. Keep writing!