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.

Jim Crow

By JS

A Nation divided by frustration.
From racism, slipknots in a noose
Resulting in Asphyxiation.
Just from looking…at a woman that’s Caucasian.

I now know that liberty for all is a fraud,
And the symmetry dividing a friend and enemy
Is the line between the grave of a slave
And a “white” man’s ideology.

Like biology, I learned to dissect through
The flesh of a frog’s false reality,
That it can live in freedom
In protection of nature.

But like me
(Emmett Till)
He’s captured
For a tortuous experiment
Caused by hatred.

It’s like my soul feels
The vibrations
Of a tortured slave’s scream,
Begging for liberation.

Losing patience….
So I’m pacing….
In my cell praying
To God for blessings.

But my fundamental nature
is God’s essence.
So everyday I wake up
I’m in God’s presence.

This is God’s lesson.
If John 10:34 is true
Then I’m a vessel
For the miracle of God’s message.

Peaceful Protest

By AL

“The home of the brave,
and the land of the free”
are notably beautiful
words written by Francis
Scott Key.

Yet. in 1814 those words
didn’t apply to individuals
with the same skin color as
me.
So for all the injustice then
and now that I see,
I proudly place my fist in
the air while taking a
knee.

I stand in solidarity with Colin Kaepernick.

Heather Heyer

By KW

Your mother put it best,
“They tried to kill my child to shut her up. Well, guess what?
You just magnified her”
You can rest assured, Heather, I will never forget you
My expression when speaking of you will always show
How much I respect the stance you took against divisiveness
How you truly are a Hero and Champion of the people,
How you are representing real American Values, Morals, and Creed.
Trust me Big Sis, I’ll keep marching on your behalf.
I’ll keep standing against inequality and injustice.
Using whatever tools I have to ensure champions like you?
Will live on
Thank you for your service, courage, and commitment
At ease, Soldier. At ease.

“She was murdered by the BRUTALITY OF EVERY SHERIFF who practiced LAWLESSNESS in the name of the LAW. She was murdered by the IRRESPONSIBILITY of EVERY politician from Governors on down to who FED his constituents the stale BREAD of HATRED and the SPOILED MEAT OF RACISM. She was murdered by the COWARDICE of EVERY NEGRO who passively accepts the EVILS of segregation, and who STAND on the SIDELINES in the struggle for JUSTICE.”
– Dr. Martin Luther King

(Speech originally given March 3, 1965 at Jimmie Lee Jackson’s funeral service. I replaced the “he” with “she” to fulfill my point)

Trapped

By AD

Trapped in this cage,
Am I justified to feel rage?
or should I use this experience as fuel to ignite a blaze,
a scorching inferno burning, turning all the hate to ashes,
where justice applies to all, not just those in the lower classes,
But is it really Justice, where the symbol they use is blind?
The endless cycle of poverty,
Consumerism used as a tool to enslave my mind.
Poverty, just like robbery, it should be labeled as a crime.
Resources stripped from our communities, it strengthens yours,
while it weakens mine. Now you wonder why I’m mad.
Violent tendencies to express my anger, those who should protect me.
I run because in them I sense danger.
I’m still trapped in this cage, but no, it’s not of the physical kind.
It’s your multifaceted master plan – tools you use to enslave my mind.