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: “My Fault”

My Fault

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


Poem: “Free is a Word”

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.

Poem: “World Full of Dreams”


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.


Poem: “My Society’s Problem”

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

Poem: “Slowly Fading Away”


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

Poem: “Spoken But Not Heard”

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.

Poem: “Victorious”


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.

Poem: “My Son”

My Son

-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.

Poem: “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


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”



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