On The Same Page Group Poem: My Home

We had an amazing On the Same Page session last week with the Georgetown University First-Year Orientation to Community Involvement (FOCI) program, which introduces incoming Georgetown students to social justice issues and opportunities for service and social change in Washington, DC. To close the session, the FOCIans (as they like to be called) and our Poet Ambassadors and staff co-wrote a group poem to the prompt “My Home.” We were inspired by the FOCIans’ commitment to social justice, and it was a great reminder for all of us: we may be coming from different backgrounds and different homes, but we all share the same need for love, support, comfort, safety, and family. And we all share the responsibility for making every community a safe, welcoming, and supportive home.

My Home

My home is where I have struggled, prospered, experienced pain, and rejoiced
Through it all
I have grown into the person I am today

My home is a place of comfort – a place of serenity + safety
No fear, no struggle
Surely, my home is not all homes

My home… 4 people
Sometimes in sync
Sometimes not
All doing their things
But bound by some things in common:
Caring, understanding, love

My home is governed by God
So joy + peace is not a façade

My home is bowls of warm tortellini
Late night Mets games
And hugs with my sister

My home is a place of support, humor, and hope
Grounded in the faith of my family
Committed to making ourselves live for others
By letting our hearts soak in the salience of unrecognized societal signs

My home is in the trees
Bark under my feet
Thoughts bouncing and breaking
Finding the places I keep hidden
I listen for the night to tell me
What’s inside myself

My home is what shaped me
My home is why I’m here
My home is what defines me
I did not choose my home

My home is a place of comfort – a place of serenity + safety
No fear, no struggle
Surely, my home is not all homes

Home is nowhere near
But is everywhere dear to my heart
Home… is my sanctuary
My place of hiding
Where my soul finds solace in me
Unconditional love from my mother
Weary and tired, I walk
Into my mother’s arms and cry
Until I have let it all out
Home will always be

I find my home in the love of my family and friends
It is where I feel comfortable yet challenged
Sharing life with others while being wholly myself

Three daughters with blue eyes
Two hard working parents
A fireplace on a cold autumn night
An Irish blessing on the wall
& Georgetown blankets on the couch

I look out the window and watch as the waves hit the beach
Unending patterns surround me
Do I notice the monotony anymore?
Sometimes I need to step away from it all
Exploring the unknown like the heron soaring overhead

Fresh, home-cooked food
Is a pleasure I have come to know
All too well
I have a bed to sleep on
Clothes to wear
And a family to love
But sometimes I wonder
What would I be like if those were gone?
Would I be different? Or would I be the same?
Would I frolic in the warmth? Or writhe in the cold?
I know what I have, and I am grateful for that
I praise God every day for what he has blessed me with
But sometimes I can’t help but wonder
What it would be like
If all that I had come to know
Were to change
A change that would challenge me
Alter the world as I know it
Force me to probe the inner depths of my soul
To find what I really feel
About the world in which I have come
To love
But then I realize that my home is my solitude
A place where I can go to drop
What the world has forced upon me
I can go home for a bed to sleep on
And a nice piece of blueberry pie
And then I realize, whenever this change comes,
My home is what will keep my life together
My home lets me go on

I am lucky to have a home
I am even luckier to call it mine
My home isn’t just a place where I live,
But more importantly it is a place where I love, laugh, smile
Not everyone has a house,  but I have been given a home
How did I get so lucky

On the Same Page: Coping with a Parent in Prison

Free Minds frequently holds “On the Same Page” events, in which members who have completed their sentences and returned to society – our Poet Ambassadors – share their writing and their stories of personal growth and positive change with the community to prevent violence and demonstrate the power of reading and writing to transcend challenges.

Last week, we held a particularly powerful On the Same Page event with middle school students from Chesapeake, Virginia. We end each On the Same Page with a Toast for Change, during which everyone present shares some way they hope to grow as a result of what we learned together that day. During the Toast, a courageous 13-year-old young woman named KW shared openly for the first time that her own father is incarcerated. Poet Ambassador LaTrae spoke with her after about his own experience and struggle coping with his father being imprisoned, and he shared the feelings of shame and secrecy that touch so many families impacted by incarceration. It served as a powerful example of the connection that comes from sharing ourselves and our stories.

Since the event, KW has written a number of poems to explore her feelings. We are posting them here to share and celebrate her strong voice and to continue creating space for all those touched by incarceration to share their stories, connect, and grow together. Thank you, KW, for your strength, your courage, and your willingness to share!

Through My Eyes
– Through my eyes there was a man
– Known as my Father
– Through my eyes he was the best person in the world
– But that opinion took a big curve
– He made bad decisions
– Thats always how it goes
– He hung out with the wrong people
– Their names still stay unknown
– Through my eyes he deserves to stay in prison
– And i have better wisdom
– To not follow his footsteps
– Because i have eyes that show me
– The best life i could have
– Without a father i love
– The way he tells me he does
Why Put Me Through This?
– I struggle with the pain and suffering everyday
– It hurt so much I ran away
– The letters you send drive me crazy
– Trying not to think of your voice inside my head
– I think of the day I came and saw you
– A barbed wire place I felt I was locked up to
– You came out to the visitors room
– In that tan ugly jumpsuit
– Why put me through this?
– When you know your little girl wants a daddy too
Years Go By Without You
– Daddy this poem is for you
– I know you wont hear it but I will send it to the prison
– Hang it up on your wall
– And the pictures I send of me growing big and tall
– As the years go by without you
I Love You, I Love You Not
– I love you
– Or do i not
– You tell me
– By saying you bought all that stuff
– when you really stole and lied
– That really broke my heart
– Saying you love me or is that a lie to
– You tell me because……
– I love you
– And i think you love me not
– You were there for me
– Thick and thin
– My mother showed me love
– While my father didn’t mean it
– But he made me the greatest person to be
– I show respect for my family
– My step dad is my new father
– Without him i didn’t know how life would be
– Without a father in need
Free Minds
– you’re thinking about this
– you’re thinking about that
– just close your eyes
– take a deep breath
– and you can free your mind
– with just two easy steps