Exceeded Doubt

By MR

When they said I couldn’t, I did…

When they said I wasn’t enough, I became more than what they expected…

When they said it was over, I told them this is just the beginning…

When they told me I had potential, I showed them absolute greatness…

Just when they started to believe, I was already years into believing in myself…

Because they expectations never mattered enough to stop my dreams from becoming the very reality I’ve created…

So when they ask how you done it, smile and tell “them” that’s for you to know, and for them to find out.

Dear Self Respect (Part II)

By KW

I’m sorry I’ve made you feel neglected,
Unwanted, and disregarded.
I’ve treated you as though you didn’t matter.
As though you were lent?
I brushed you aside.
My pride I hide to ensure your position,
As the foundation of my decision-making.
You spoke.
I heard.
The heart listens.
Together – you’re right – we are unstoppable.
Thank you for your commitment.
Even in the face of my betrayal?
Your belief in our unity never fail.
I’ve held on too long to worthless, destructive,
And unproductive beliefs.
Pursuing expensive “wants,”
When you were enough for cheap.
So I acknowledge your rightful place in my life,
And vow to never abandon you twice.

Sincerely,
Me

Potential

By AG

My potential is to be successful
To be a better father
To not be bothered what other people say about me
To always keep my mind free
Free of insecurities
Free to spread my wings
Free to sing
My potential is to be free
To be the Real Me
To work for a successful company
To pay bills to make ends meet
My potential is beyond what I now see
Prison cells and white concrete
To make it back to the streets
My potential is to be a normal American
To open doors to inner city kids
Suffering from poverty
That’s my potential

I Am

By BB

I am because I am alive
I am because I have suffered and still survive
I am because I see the light
I am because I am one with mankind’s plight

I am because I feel
I am because I hurt and I heal
I am because I exist
I am because I stand up to oppression and resist

I am because I am a human being
One who felt and seen many a thing
I am because I am here
I am because I love and I care

I am because I make mistakes
To become better I am doing whatever it takes
I am because I am not perfect in my doing
Many failures have resulted in the goals that I am pursuing

I am because I keep on trying
I am now but one day I will be dying
I am because I came and went
I am because when I left the earth I left my footprint

Me and Jim Crow

By PJ

Twenty years in ADX.*
I’m asked, a lot, one question:
How long have you been here?
First, let me tell you something I know:
(Feared, is the unknown;) it is the confined person’s ghost.

When I was told: “the short trip,”
I couldn’t wait to get with “it”;
to act a fool.
For two decades, really, I haven’t moved.
It seems: I’m going in circles, but before
you jump to conclusions, understand: basically,
we all (are going in circles). Some big,
some smaller than others; we live by: clocks.
The earth revolves around the sun; I crossed a lot.

Administrative Maximum is a microcosm of society.
All the problems, symptoms, epidemics in our cities
are gathered here (again), interacting.
What wasn’t solved there,
resurfaces here.
It’s an environment where: you’re constantly
fighting insanity.
That, accompanied with: maintaining your safety
and trying to stay alert.

As an African American today,
in the Criminal Justice System, ADX,
has been a way to search: myself.
As many things here, the inside becomes: meshed,
in adaptation with outside forces.
(Weakening, or strengthening, building, or destroying.)
Sometimes what we consider: a curse,
can be: a road (a beginning), a door; our cure.

In the Era of Mass Incarceration,
as an African American,
I feel: very much, like a commodity;
as I come to the realization: (monetarily),
others have “set-up,” (taken liberty),
to map-out what they feel is: my destiny.
(A rightful place) as they gain. From a
long ago, enacted (scheme) to hamper the slave.
As with The United States Penitentiary, ADX, now I know:
(That scheme) has become known
as: Justice, Criminalization, Incarceration, The New Jim Crow.

*ADX refers to a maximum security federal prison. Everyone incarcerated there is held in solitary confinement.