From State to State

By SHA

Since a teenager I moved from state to state
Experiencing different lifestyles and cultures I never knew existed
Even though I was incarcerated it was a journey
That made me grow and become wiser than I was before
Never knowing who you will meet or who you will befriend wherever you land

For me it was a journey of life-altering changes
And ending my purpose in life with faith and commitment to what I’ve become today
The younger me was stuck in one place under one condition
Thinking it wouldn’t change just living for the moment
So, to say the least, this journey has not been bitter sweet
But one to continue to grow with and see what lies ahead

Peace

Stranger

By AG

Would you mind if I stood next to you – a stranger on the street?
Even though my life so far has not been nice and neat?
Society says I’m less than you
Because I have a past
And treats me like the dark and evil villain of the past

Would you mind I sat next to you – a stranger on a bus?
Could you look past the differences that frame the both of us?
Though scars and tats may seem to make me less upright than you
To judge me from my cover is an
Unfair point of view

Would you mind if I lived next to you – a stranger in your town?
When you find out about my felony, will you let me live it down?
Your neighbors turn their eyes away
As if it wasn’t clear
That because of my past mistake
They don’t want me here

Would you mind if I worked next to you – a stranger earning his way?
This job is all I’ve found so far to
Make some decent pay
They shut me down in interviews
As if I wasn’t fit
To do much more than mow a lawn or shovel piles of s**t

Would you mind if I joined you as part of your society?
An ex-con forced outside it with this stigma forced on me?
I’ve done my time
I’ve paid my dues
There’s no inherent danger
In treating me like one of you and not me

A stranger

Book Club

By CL

Thank you all for inviting me to a vast new world
Where one is limited only by a lack of imagination
A place where countless adventures unfurl
On a voyage to uncharted destinations

Kelli’s biweekly sessions of meditation
Followed by games to relieve our stress
Keela’s unwavering dedication
Encouraging us all to do our best

So amazing how a simple chapter in a book
Can give birth to complicated meetings of the mind
It’s a blessing in disguise depending on where you look
The cherished camaraderie you inevitably find

Brought together by words unread
Bonded by stories of similar fate
Reliving these memories in my head
Of moments I truly appreciate

Dedicated to Kelli Taylor, Keela Hailes, and the entire Free Minds Book Club Family  

To Be My Heart and Soul

By EH
Dedicated to my heart and soul, Mersedez

My daughter Mersedez is my heart and soul
because when she’s sad, I’m sad
When she’s mad, I’m mad
When she’s sick, I’m sicker
When she’s thinking about me,
I feel it when she has something on her mind to tell me
I can feel it and when she gets hurt, I feel it
When she was four years old,
She fell and busted her chin open and had to get stitches
And guess who has the scar now, I do
Now that’s what I call my heart and soul and I love her with all my heart

39021-007

By LC

39021-007
That is my number till I pass away to heaven
It belongs to me
the thirty-nine thousand twenty-first man
to be sentenced and sent away from D.C.
Never mind my name
I now go by that number
Lost in a dreamless federal slumber
And even when I wake
and walk back through those penitentiary gates
that number will remain
never to be given to another man again
It belongs to me
and as long as I wear it I’ll never be free