The Untold Story of Me

By AC

Inspired by the book Voces Sin Fronteras (Shout Mouse Press)

 

1985 I was born in El Salvador, right in the middle of a civil war. There was a lot of crime and poverty, because there were more pressing things for the government to worry about.

1991 A few months after my father left for the United States, my brother was born. Amazing brother. We kept fighting all the time, but he has always been there for me. My friend for life, though he sucks.

2000 We (my brother, my mom and I) came to the U.S. It was hard to get the hang of it (I might argue that I never truly did get the hang of it), but I managed. Life changed dramatically, mostly for the better.

2004 I graduated from high school. It felt like a stepping stone, but continuing education was a bit tricky with my immigration status. Also, that year my other brother (half) was born. I love him tons, as I do the other.

2010 After almost ten years of being in this country, I was allowed to get a residency. My doors opened wide and I started to make money at 8-hours-a-day jobs. Everything looked bright.

2012 A dark cloud came over my bright world. A series of bad decisions in my life led to my arrest this year, effectively destroying absolutely everything that had happened in my life up to this particular point in time.

2017-18 After thinking I had lost my VOICE, along with everything else due to my arrest, I discovered I still have a voice, even if my life as I knew it is effectively over. I discovered this in a Write Night letter, in some person’s comment that read something along the lines of : “A.C., I enjoyed your poem. I relate to [such and such a thing]. I liked [this and that]. Thank you for sharing, please keep writing.” I thought to myself: “People actually read these poems that A CRIMINAL has written? Someone read MY poem?” Not only were they reading it, they were relating. They were getting some sort of consolation from me, knowing that they were not the only people in this world to have these thoughts. That thought. They felt that in a way, my writing was helping them remember/realize that they were, in fact, not alone with their thoughts. “Wait, what? Helping? Me? A freaking criminal actually providing ANY kind of help back to the community that I felt I betrayed by breaking the law? I can help?” And so I push myself to share my thoughts openly/honestly so that people can see my vulnerabilities, and doubts, and regrets, and life lessons. I want people to see and comprehend that the world keeps spinning no matter what, and yes, we all have ups and downs, wins and losses. It’s all part of being human. I want people, all people, to simply see that they are not alone in this human experience. I’m a human too (though I’m an Alien…from another country). That’s why I write life lessons; sometimes the tone/mood is down, sometimes up, sometimes in love, sometimes hurt, sometimes hopeful, sometimes profound…etc. I want to show my human side, I want to show the man hidden behind my inmate #. I want to have a Free Mind.

Platforms

By JK

Platforms and I’m not talking about the shoes,
I’m writing about the people speaking who don’t have a clue

Platforms that were built on my L4 and L5,
giving me chronic back pain from all the verbal jive

Let’s expand on this privilege, the subject at hand,
this platform of yours where you make your grandstand

So absorbed in your spot that you place others in the dark,
never even a thought to appreciate their written art

What is an effort if not the effort to simply write,
judgmental of creativity where comes your insight

In the sixteen-hundreds, the rave was the selling of slaves,
all carried out on high from the platforms that was raised

A jumble of words is all that we saw,
yet 3/5ths of a man was written constitutional law

Words are intentions behind inventions
so next time you’re on that platform…

before I was
and after I am…

Speak Child Speak

By MS

For my daughter

Speak, child, speak,
hold not your tongue because the question that you ask,
the answer that it brings may be the solution that saves us all

Speak, child, speak
Because ignorance is not bliss,
it is apathy to the mind.
It is the residue of stagnant thoughts that destroys itself fully
with the passions of time
& stagnation is death to young & old minds.

Speak, child, speak,
your voice may be the one that touches the world & shapes reality
into a paradise that women, men, & children may grow & peacefully live in.

Speak, child, speak,
Because my voice is old & un-remembered.
It is the weeping in the bowels of coffin ships & it is the creak of rope & wind
& silent kingdoms swaying in a sultry southern breeze,
it is the shackles of falsehoods binding me to inferior thoughts of mental slavery,
It is the sound of a fast life lived & lost in court rooms
silently weeping in cells trying to escape my self-created hell.

Speak, child, speak,
Because you are the Grace of God & the Dreams of a Nation.

SPEAK, CHILD, SPEAK

Mouth Piece

By JM

Once, I was a man with a mouth piece
Who perceived himself
And who others perceived
As a loser, an outcast, a loner
Who did not fit into the normal world of friends
I have a mouth piece that may make a lot of people mad
Because I choose to use my First Amendment right
Of Freedom of Speech
But I also have a mouth piece
That brings joy and happiness to peoples’ lives
A lot of people love me
Because I have the courage to speak what’s on my mind

Never let anyone hold you back
And never keep stuff bottled in
You should feel free to let it out
Because you never know
If what you are holding in
Can change someone’s life