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: “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.

Poem: “Time to Time”

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

Poem: “Mystery Lover”

Mystery Lover

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.

Poem: “Sphinx’s Princess”

Sphinx’s Princess

Jeweled beyond compare
Worth more than worth,
More beautiful than nature
My sphinx’s princess.

Poem: “True Feelings”

True Feelings

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

Lyrics: “Street Ambition”

Street Ambition

(Hook)

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

(Verse 1)
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

(Verse 2)
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

Poem: “Mi Corazón” (“My Heart”)

Note: This poem was written in Spanish and has been translated into English.

“Mi Corazón”

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
enamorado

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

“My Heart”

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
in love

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