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

Stranger

By AG

Would you mind if I stood next to you – a stranger on the street?
Even though my life so far has not been nice and neat?
Society says I’m less than you
Because I have a past
And treats me like the dark and evil villain of the past

Would you mind I sat next to you – a stranger on a bus?
Could you look past the differences that frame the both of us?
Though scars and tats may seem to make me less upright than you
To judge me from my cover is an
Unfair point of view

Would you mind if I lived next to you – a stranger in your town?
When you find out about my felony, will you let me live it down?
Your neighbors turn their eyes away
As if it wasn’t clear
That because of my past mistake
They don’t want me here

Would you mind if I worked next to you – a stranger earning his way?
This job is all I’ve found so far to
Make some decent pay
They shut me down in interviews
As if I wasn’t fit
To do much more than mow a lawn or shovel piles of s**t

Would you mind if I joined you as part of your society?
An ex-con forced outside it with this stigma forced on me?
I’ve done my time
I’ve paid my dues
There’s no inherent danger
In treating me like one of you and not me

A stranger

John My Friend

By DK

Today was a bittersweet occasion,
Helped me for a moment to reduce my constant raging.
John, you are now free…at home…at last,
This past year, gone, it escaped us so fast.
I know you left a truly changed man,
I watched you every day…making your reentry plans.
I already miss you and the jokes that we played,
Hopefully once I’m released, we’ll catch up…one of these days.
We butted heads, and fussed sometimes; I caused you a bit of tribulation,
As you left I heard as you said ‘goodbye & take care’…true jubilation.
When you left me here today, I regret that I left so much unspoken,
You are such a great friend, a mentor, I’m kind of heartbroken.
It’s rare to find a true friend like you in a place like this,
D*mn it John, you’re one friend I will surely miss.
So by the time you read this, you’ll be settled, back on your feet,
And the stigma you’ll face, well it’s something I know you can beat.
You’re highly educated…A Penn State grad,
So many qualities you shared, reminds me of my dad.
So I know I will surely hear from you soon,
As corny as it sounds, I’ll think of you each time I look at the moon.
So John, I love you my dear friend, but please don’t return,
Because this freedom you were granted, is something you definitely earned.

New Life

By RF

I’m a changed man, with this New Life
AIM for success
I finally got it right
All the drugs and stuff
Those are old habits
Negative people, you can have it
Healthy living, that’s all me
I’m shining bright like a diamond
Can’t you see?
I feel like a newborn baby
It feels lovely to breathe New Life
My REENTRY into the outside world won’t be much of a fight
Living Life
I’m just living life
Come join me in this New Life
My changed ways was for the better
AIMING for success
I won’t rest until I reach it
I know my new way of living
Will make my loved ones proud
It’s my new certificate of completion
My New Life
I’ll just sit back
And SMILE.