The Unknown Words of Solitude

By AP

They say I should be used to living in a cage
Because all my life I have been trapped in pain
But if they only knew solitude educated me and kept me from going insane

It’s true that I am a product of my community
And I continue to pray that one day society would stop judging me
And give me equal opportunity

The color of my skin doesn’t speak of who I am
So your insults don’t affect me mentally because I am well educated, talented
And proud of who I am

America can be so cruel and mean
But that has never stopped me from believing in my American dream

Hard times in the ghetto raised me to be mentally and emotionally strong
So when they tell me I will never be nothing after prison
It only motivates me to prove them wrong

I know that life after prison can be a success
Especially if I continue to be determined to succeed and have faith in myself

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

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

Mastering the Pain

By JG

Feeling everything so deeply
Can be a gift and a curse
My happiness is true bliss
Everything just works
Suddenly, joy is replaced with pain
Clear skies fill up with rain
I try to hold on
But can’t seem to maintain
My skies darken
Turmoil sets in
Damn
Never knew the mind could be like a wilderness one could be lost in
Lost many battles
Acting on impulse
Reacting with uncontrolled emotion
Never pausing to consider a reasonable course
I’ve felt the fire countless times
Intensified by a prison cell
12 by 9
A victim stance was my position
Playing the blame game
Meanwhile, in reality
My condition remained the same
Most my lessons come the hard way
But were received nonetheless
My understanding is that much greater
I feel truly blessed
Being a thought of Allah made manifest
I consciously create
Striving every day to be the captain of this ship
The true master of my fate
The war is far from won
But my book is far from done
I have nothing to lose
But everything to gain
These first few chapters have been spent
Mastering the pain
Learning how to love
Breaking my mental chains
Rising above
This next section will be marked by liberty
I’ll be free to pursue the queen that my heart desires
She’ll be free to embrace our chemistry
Won’t need a power of attorney
I can handle my affairs myself
I can eat life giving foods
That actually replenish my health
No more limitations
Everything is possible
With discipline, persistence, patience
I overcome all obstacles

Sky

By TH

So many times I wondered why
no matter how hard I tried
I just couldn’t see the sky…. 

Buried deep in a cell
a feeling deeper than hell...
Behind a steel door
same cold concrete
on the ceiling and the floor… 

In my heart I know the seasons
still change from summer to fall
The pain of missing a window pane
leaves me to wonder if there are
any seasons at all…. 

Missing so much of the outside
world often makes me cry
I find myself on my knees
hoping, begging, praying
for just a glimpse of the SKY.