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. 

I Forgot Who I Was

By HW

I woke up one day feeling powerless & caged.
I felt lost and afraid, it was freedom I craved!

I felt like no one loved me & I was all alone.
I felt young & lost, but I’m fully grown.

Beat down by life & my own mind.
I let myself down and I started to drown.

I could not see tomorrow
& felt like I could barely get through the day.

I don’t know who I am anymore,
like my memory started to fade.

Deep down inside I know I used to be strong,
then I remember that I have been strong all along.

I might have slipped,
I might have fell.

I have to stand up,
I have to prevail.

I must be fearless,
I must be strong.

It’s a mental battle
and I’ll make it home!

Jail Bird

By AB

A bird once flew over a prison and sat on the bars of a window sill
The prisoner fed the bird crackers and the bird ate to his fill
The prisoner put water in a top for the bird to wet his beak
The prisoner done a good deed before he went to sleep

The bird didn’t leave–
He became a jail bird that didn’t know he was free

Fire and Ice

By AW

Never shall I die in prison as my dad
died in 1999
Fire and wind of the sky
Fire and ice of my soul
Stirring within my heart the
love of life needed to grasp heaven within
A tale of sorrow, abandonment, and enslavement
Survival of the fittest
The sole survivor, souls survive
Though I may die a thousand times
In a thousand different little ways
Never shall I die in prison as my dad
died in 1999

I fly,
fire and wind
I sing,
fire and ice
Never shall I die in anybody’s cage.

“I will not be counted among the broken men.”  - George Jackson