Off Course

By AW

The slave ship that doesn’t move
Nor never ever set sail
Motionless is it rooted
To the earth with no course

The middle passage of the mind
The children of slaves, no matter how
Many generations removed, are still
Slaves, when the mental chains
Are enforced with illusions of inclusion
Lebron James

Chow lines long and cold, economic foes
The mental sharks fed off of
The mental courses of dead and dying
Cattle dressed in Prada along
Middle Passage route,
On course to make a profit off of
Cargo of Black Gold
Lebron James

In dreams vividly, am I eaten alive
As I sink, thrown overboard
In chains and padlocks as if I am
Going to court on course to make a
Profit for the slave ship that sails
No more.

On the stock exchange
Black gold, Lebron James,
Are shiny Black bodies still
In ball and chains
Thanks to a clause in the 13th
Amendment: still are we
Cattle when duly convicted
Of a crime

On course to make a profit
Of course on this slave ship
That don’t sail no more
Called, not Jesus,
But the
Prison Industrial Complex

In the belly of this complex
Beast I’ve set for over 30 years
Longer than the life expectancy
Of my ancestors who thrown
Overboard, on the middle passage,
In the Atlantic Ocean into the
Cold waves, off course
Wasted profit
Of course.

Confused!

By AP

They say racism is dead,
But every day I have a target on my head.
Why, when they define the color black or
Brown, they align it with dirty.
But they connect the color white with pretty.
Tell me how is the younger generation ‘pose
To survive,
When the one who are suppose to protect them
Are taking their lives (police)
Tell me, how can they believe in religion,
When they’re raping, and murdering the same
Women who gave birth to the future children.
Every day they say we aren’t a country to cause
Harm,
Then we literally kidnapping kids from their
Mother’s arms.
How can this be the land of the free, and the
Home of the brave,
When they’re using the prison system as a
Modern day slave trade to get paid
What happen to the Dream of Dr. King,
Of every race coming together and
Connecting like a ring.

Surrounded/Rodeado

By LV

Surrounded by concrete walls.
Surrounded by an immense feeling of solitude.
Surrounded by concrete walls that don’t distance me from reality.
Surrounded by one-thousand-and-one dreams – that are kept away in prison cells.

Rodeado por paredes de concreto.
Rodeado por un inmenso sentimiento de soledad.
Rodeado por paredes de concreto que no me alejan de la realidad.
Rodeado de uno-y-mil sueños frustrados – que en celdas de prisión están aguardados.

Surrounded by concrete walls.
Surrounded by an immense feeling of solitude; that attacks my thoughts.
Surrounded by concrete walls, surrounded by a strange feeling that starts playing inside my head.
Surrounded by concrete walls, where you only hear the voice of solitude; that sings to my heart to the slow beat of a tormented heart.
We keep on walking through the valley of solitude.

Rodeado por paredes de concreto.
Rodeado de un inmenso sentimiento de soledad; que ataca a mis pensamientos.
Rodeado por paredes de concreto dentro de rodeado por extraño sentimiento que comienza a jugar dentro de mi cabeza. Rodeado de paredes de concreto donde lo único que se escucha es la voz de la soledad; que le canta a mi corazón al ritmo lento de un corazón atormentado. Seguimos caminando por el valle de la soledad.

Surrounded by concrete walls.
Surrounded by one-thousand-and-one problems.
Surrounded by an immense feeling of solitude, that flirts with my heart in the darkness of the night; and it invites to dance to the slow beat of a tormented heart. We keep on traveling the most traveled road.
“The road of forgotten.”

Rodeado por paredes de concreto.
Rodeado de uno y mil problemas.
Rodeado de un inmenso sentimiento de soledad, que le coquetea a mi corazón en la obscuridad de la noche, y lo invita a bailar al ritmo lento de un corazón atormentado.
Seguimos caminando, recorriendo la calle más transitada “la calle del olvido.”

Surrounded by an immense feeling of solitude.
Surrounded by concrete walls, where the voice of solitude is the only thing you hear.
Surrounded by one-thousand-and-one memories of the past.
Surrounded by one-thousand-and-one frustrated dreams — that are trapped in prison cells.
Surrounded by an immense feeling of solitude, that attacks my thoughts.
We keep walking through the valley of solitude.

Rodeado de un inmenso sentimiento de soledad.
Rodeado de paredes de concreto, donde la voz de la soledad es lo único que se escucha.
Rodeado de uno y mil recuerdos del pasado.
Rodeado de uno y mil sueños frustrados que en celdas de prisión están atrapados.
Rodeado de una inmensa soledad, que ataca mis pensamientos.
Seguimos caminando por el valle de la soledad.

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.

My Story

By TD

Just two months ago my mom passed away
My girl moved on, now I’m feeling like Tom Hanks in Cast Away
Knives was just at my throat and I didn’t fight them
Dudes just robbed me because my shirt not tucked in my boxers and I don’t say, “Slim,” like them
My daughter only 11, sending me pictures with her hand on her hip
My son just turned 13, thinking about a hand on a clip
But don’t get me wrong, my baby mama a great mother
Besides these last 10 years, her and my best friend been sleeping with each other
I just called home from the (shu), my brother denied 8 calls
But when I was home selling drugs, he never denied 8 balls
Dudes been talking about me because of my situations
And even though I was in pain, I never once asked the nurse for medication
And when everybody was complaining, I still didn’t complain
Some went crazy and I still maintained
And when everybody was crying, I cried inside
Now I understand when Jadakiss said, “Why?”
I picked up a Qur’an, now I see what I didn’t use to see
And as I sit back and listen to a lot of these dudes, they remind me of who I used to be
But you know what hurts the most is when you gotta tell a story
About the people you love doing you wrong
The same family, friends, girls, so-called loyal ones
Posting on Facebook and Instagram, “Free me to come home”
(Damn)

P.S. God created men weak and it’s the trials and tribulations we go through that make us strong. We have to have responsibilities, and if you don’t have that, you’re not a man yet. See I thought I was a man also when I was buying cars, jewelry, blowing money, and having any woman I wanted. See I was a boy not understanding life because none of that stuff made me strong. None. If most of us died today, we won’t even have insurance on ourselves. See we desire the wrong things in life. Please, please change. A wise man always told me, “If you can’t change the people around you, then change the people around you.”