All Works

I Wear No Mask

by Tyrell Jones

I wear no mask,
I’m not as bad as I was in the past,
I’m in pain from the war I had fought,
Put down the guns, open yours eyes and see what the world has become,
Growing up as a child it was fun, now I have bills and a lot more funds,
It was fun, running around playing cops and robbers with toy guns looking up at the sky wondering what would I become….

A lost mind
with a lost soul
Groveling and scratching for more
All I got was a closed door.

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This Is Me

by Shaimel Steadwell

I am a poet worth hearing
I am da street dat u walk along
I am the voice trying to be heard
I am da face no one knows
I am da happy soul who found love
I am the one no one cares about
I am da one who cares for all
I am the light that guides u home
I am da silent angle no one will know
I am the headache dat kills u
I am da peace dat keeps u going
I am the story dat keeps going on with no end
I am the bar dat holds these cell walls together
I am agony that annoys u
I am her’s she is mine
I am the student who doesn’t want 2 learn
I am the devil plotting an evil scam
I am the dream u never wake up from
I am the poet who lives with in u
I am the strongest u’ll ever see me
I am life
I am death
I am the downfall u pray upon
I am the horizon u see
I am the moon with no filter
I am the sun with no radiation
I am the A/C dat keeps u cool
I am the heat dat kills
I am the faith u can’t seem to catch up with
I am the thought on your mind
I am the house u my never like
I am the best there ever will be
I am Shaimel
Thank u for hearing me out
This is me

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Poet Lost

by Miguel Alverio

Whatever happened to the days of
“Damn, you nice, Poet!!”
To the days of
“Keep up the fight, Poet!”
To the days
Texts at 1:00 AM
“Don’t let them put out your light, Poet!”
Trickled down to
The days of
Poet gone, so now they don’t even write Poet?
But, I’m more like
It’s aight Poet
Give them their thousand days
And thousand nights Poet
Get your body and mind right, Poet
Cause if a caged bird could sing
Then a bird with clipped wings
Could take flight Poet!!!!
Poetry lost
Due to a higher cost
For a lower cause
Poetry lost
But poetically accounted for

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What Are We Thankful For?

by ATI Seeking Strength Workshop 11 AM

I am thankful for family
I keep my job secure
I am here, good and healthy
And my family is my cure

I am thankful for my home
This year, I have my life
Life is with the dice
Thankful I can shake it twice

My strength I am seeking
I am thankful for my vision
I can see clearer now that I’m out of prison
My freedom is my decision
and I have completed my mission!!

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Her Tearful Death

by Ryan Bennett

Crying on the inside,
where tears are unseen.
The only peace felt,
is in her dreams.

Outside she smiles,
while her heart frowns.
Very bruised from being hurt.
Will it ever fall down?

Dying is her spirit.
Despair fills her mind.
Wishing for a healing,
that she can never find.

Numb are her feelings,
and tired of being hurt.
With love comes hate
and tears to drown the dirt.

When she hopes for better,
what comes is worse.
Which leads her to believe
that her heart is a curse.

Males came and went,
without remorse or care.
Taking so much of her love,
she barley has any to share.

Untrue when they smiled,
sneaky when they lied.
Barely did they try.
Alone she always cried.

So the actions of her past,
helped her take that step.
Take her last breath.
Search for a healing in death.

She’s in pain.
It runs through her veins.
She wants to spend
the rest of her life
in the cold rain.
That way,
her constant tears
won’t stand out
and maybe the rain
can wash the pain out.
In a flood of tears
are the bad memories and doubt.
Tears join the rain
caught by the soil.
Still, she feels agony,
hate and turmoil.
She died in her dreams
with a smile on her face.
The open flood gates
are the lids to her eyes.
So even though in her dream,
she was able to die;
when the rain stopped,
her corpse began to cry.


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A Moment Ago

by Shamirra Malloy

A moment ago,
we were friends, we laughed, we played, we hung out all day.
A moment ago,
you were all I needed. Without you, I couldn’t breathe. I felt it deep within me.
A moment ago,
I had dreams, fantasies of a great life –
houses, cars, everything nice.
The fresh sent of pine trees when the wind breeze passed me,
stairs so deep words didn’t have to be use to express what love truly meant.
A moment ago,
passion wasn’t a question. It felt like something that was supposed to be.
Nothing mattered as long as you were here with me –
loving me, holding me, kissing me and wanting me.
A moment ago,
I felt like we were the perfect Bonnie & Clyde.
I told you all my secrets. There was no reason to lie.
Anything you needed I never denied. I gave you all of me.
Never felt like I had to hide. Just a moment ago.
A moment ago,
I was your queen. To you, I bling iced out without diamond rings.
I was the star in your eyes bright like the sun. My everything. You called, I run.
Just a moment ago,
your love gave me hope
that there’s a chance I would be able to love again,
trust someone,
feel like someone.
But, thanks to you that was
just a moment ago.

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I Had A Dream

by Daniel Cotto

My brothers and sisters
A long time ago
A very long time ago
When I was lost
And broke
I had a dream
Would rise from the ashes
I had a dream
That those ghetto ashes
Would be burnt up
Crack pipe ashes
I had a dream
That my life
Would turn
To diamonds
I had a dream
That I would
Shine like glitter
I had that dream
That only young boys
Fast cars
Fast money
Fast times
Fast women
Not girls
Would dance
For a dream
I had a dream
That I would shine
Turn my life
Play on a baseball
I had a dream
That success
For me would
Come on a highway
Going from here to yonder
I had a dream
That Coxsackie
Walls would burn
So I could walk
Upon their burning
A free man

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Thank you, Fortune Society

by Ireal K. Jacobs

My number was 86*33
I was a difficult individual
Fortune warriors suited up for the challenge
and concur on their operation of helping
and building up
My self-foundation
My temple
I allowed it to be hurt, bruised.
They refuel
My mind with good self-knowledge
and got me ready to uplift myself as well as others
I’d like to say thank you to all who assist in their duties to
a tainted heart.
A heart that believed it was pumping the right methods
Know that I feel good
Feel amazing and grateful
Salute to Fortune
and all members for making it happen and possible for me
to help another that’s tragically lost in their development,
believing that there’s no light on the other side
Not government
Staying out the radar.
Thank you Fortune
and god bless.

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Fortress of Solitude

by Dimitrios Zia

You kept me safe in such a small space
Looking at the blurry mirror encompassing my sullen face
Pictures on the wall making me escape
Wish I wouldn’t use toothpaste…
Can I get some freaking tape?
Making a commitment…
Morning, afternoon and night.
Lay low and be respectful…
Can’t get into another fight.
Looking out the window, no view worth to see
All alone with my thoughts…
Somebody save me!!

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Will We

by Moses Santana

Will we really be alright through theses crimes in the gutter?
Is my clock working out or are the times getting tougher?
Will the yougin trynna eat set his momma for supper?
Or will a shot from a cop cause his momma to suffer?
It’s real no guarantee when you come from a place
corrupted by snakes who interrupt ya conflict state.
We subject to hate cuz love is a class they failed to teach,
we get hit wit a firearm if we cold and choose to reach.

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by Mic Ruiz

A ladder, chain in command,
chains, wrists, clicks of grip,
manipulation, generation with kids,
perception perceived as leaders,
a free world, nightmares of imprisonment,
a dollar here, a dollar heard,
a dollar here, makes a dollar worth,
free young mind, don’t get slaved,
with one more thought neglects more change.

government, government,
why I thank you,
my trip to a new day,
made me safe in this school,
my mommy just kissed me,
my dad paid the bills,
these new clothes I’m wearing,
made a smile with thrills,
knock, knock who’s there,
FBI at the door,
you said there’s a warrant,
called my mother a whore,
why mr. officer are you flashing a gun,
what did I do, I’m just a kid as a son,
wait that’s my daddy,
please no don’t hurt him,
what is him selling drugs
if there’s bills to go service,
pow – gunshot sound.

R.I.P. father, I’m the boss of the town,
cooked crack to dope, even pounds of the loud,
a shot of this henny, I’m drinking 4 you,
even my homies that dead would be proud of this too,
those cops that has killed you,
they’re buried in grave,
I’m stuck in this cell,
still make money in days,
I come home in 5,
my momma might die
I’m just left with a why
are we made for these ways.

child, child
I control all this world,
from you, your dad,
even the birth of your girl,
a cycle repeated,
I’m considered a leader,
the earth that you stand
is considered my world,
shoot, kill, and massacre,
make the news see it different,
make the world see us good,
make the rest seen as different,
you sell drugs to live,
I’ll control all the currents,
the current of currency
is mine till I perish.

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That Someone.

by Ryan Bennett

There’s someone that didn’t love me,
Until I let my freedom go.
They never helped me find myself,
Or plant a seed to help me grow.
They never aided me in problems.
I would struggle on my own.
And when my eyes were taking showers,
They would watch me cry alone.

They never helped me live my dreams,
Because they saw them all as waste.
All the times I was in danger,
They weren’t there to keep me safe.
When I felt good about myself,
They would never once relate.
And when I stressed myself for love,
They would stress me out with hate.

If I ever thought to quit,
They would advertise my doubt.
They also helped my demons,
Try to push my goodness out.
When I wished to speak the truth
they put a muzzle over my mouth,
And darkened up my sky
As they dragged me further south.

If I ever needed company
To smile with me for long,
they would bring me many frowns,
As if to smile is very wrong.
If my depression wished to dance,
I would play the saddest song.
And if I ever had free time,
I’d spend it where I don’t belong.

This person never left me,
But still we were strangers.
Holding each other’s hand,
While we were both traitors.
Our grip was secure,
But the distance was greater.
Gave each other drugs,
And alcohol came later.

Then I let my freedom go,
By choosing to lose it.
By doing evil things,
Sins of boredom, acting foolish.
I was sent away to a place
Where freedom is in music,
Different ways to change yourself,
And the freedom to be foolish.

It was in that place,
Where I needed to be.
To witness the importance,
Of living life free.
Even to that place,
That someone followed me.
The identity of this person,
Means a whole lot to me.

That someone is talented.
That someone is free.
That someone is kind,
He doesn’t practice greed.
That someone can find,
Himself in me.
His name is Ryan Bennett.
That someone is me.

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How You Feel

by Hamidou Diallo

I didn’t fall in love with you
I walked into love with you
With my eyes wide open
to take every
step along the way.
I do believe in Fate
and Destiny,
but I also believe
we are only fated to do
the things that we choose
to do anyway
And I’d choose you
And I’d choose you in a
hundred worlds
In any version of reality,
I’d find you
I’d choose you.

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Truth Be Told

by Marquise Rodriguez

Truth be told, don’t nobody really know me
They said that I was nice in ball, I told them that’s the old me
I used to wake up early morning and think about an old dream
Or how I’mma fix my life and try to feed my whole team
Like Pac, I get around, but ain’t familiar with faces
Got addicted to drug dealing like Biggie and catching cases
Smoking weed, popping pills, and drinking ain’t the same me
Truth be told, Fortune and my mother really changed me

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I’m Labeled a Menace…

by Miguel Alverio

I’m labeled a menace, devil’s apprentice
born to rot in the system.
A spic, nigga, villain
that be selling rocks in the building.
You say you want me to testify
go ahead, ya’ll the civilians.
But don’t forget to mention
how I love the block and the children.
And tell the kids in the ghetto
they a target for prison.
Hope they hearing, cause when I was
I didn’t listen
to the elderly, now I’m old
and starve for tradition.
Not tradition of religion, but I harbor
a vision
of feeling my ancestor spirit fill me
with wisdom.
Cause I’m older now,
I’m careful how I kick it with the
cause the kids are quick to mimic the
wicked negative image
So I show them the difference
between those that live it and spit it.
They don’t mention
they way I be upliftin’ the women
Tell them they beautiful
regardless of the color they skin is.
Don’t let society or television
tell you what’s pretty
Stop looking at yourself as bitches
but instead as princesses,
To me, we are kings
Do away with the niggas
that’s just a word created
for those that be hatin’ our melanin
Cause there’s more to us with god’s
to absorb the sun.
My beautiful complexion is my
and they don’t like when I manifest it
cause this right here has been passed
down from
my descendants.
The darker the skin, the deeper the
And like Pac, I’m teaching them the

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by Dale Spencer

Jeff Sessions says less lessons
Selling drugs get a life sentence
We just makin’ pro t off what life sent us.
Mass incarceration the way they extorting races,
Feel bad for my brothers who caught dem cases
Scarred marks on they faces
You feel tied up
Even the CO took ya laces
Shit can’t be real
Like you caught in the matrix.

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Pick and Choose

by John Rufino

Choose your words carefully.
I – pick – mine
If spoken in harmony, can unlock your mind
It’ll open locked doors, and reveal what’s behind
Because inside is where true potential lies
To gain insight, go behind enemy lines
Open your ears and eyes – you’re not deaf, dumb and blind You see me? You hear me?
I – choose – mine.

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I Can’t Surrender

by Felix Guzman

Etched in heart the lack of love giving purpose to every word written
shallow depressions on paper deeply rooted in resentment, a prison
all my own in understanding I find freedom creating lush landscapes,
apologies never going said and then some within every poem made.
I forgive myself for failing achieve the dream of being architect via ink
flourishes precipitated by fluid movement of wrist owned in conviction,
I write well because I can’t do better, in my every alone poetry loved me
to health when I was homesick. Being homesick all the time is so ugly
an endeavor I pray these words soar with hell below I look above me:
“Please watch over me Lord as I rest, don’t take my breath from me
at leisure ever again but forever, let me know the peace of Heaven
and all what does wholly crown and anchor an alimentary measure.
When at my most broken, I’ll carry cross tighter. Nails offering healing,
the good fight is worth fighting. Being halos aren’t given forth so freely,
I want not know a moment where I can’t surrender to light my demons.
Bruised outward of innocence, I am of understanding pain has meaning”.

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Just Cuz Ya Body’s Locked Up, Doesn’t Mean Your Mind Has To Be Confined

by Anthony S.

They say it’s out of sight – out of mind
People forgetting about you while you locked up can drive you outta ya mind I stay focused and have perseverance and try to utilize my time
In jail, you get what you’re given – I can’t say that much is mine
You try to have change in a life where your peers drop dimes
Everybody saying it’ll be alright, but you know nothing is fine

You gotta have strength to endure the shit life throws you
You gotta have ya head somewhere else wit what one goes thru
Someone is supposed to be the savior but no one knows who
Although my body is in a cage – I let my mind be free
The C.O.’s include me on their count, but in my mind, they can’t see me Just cuz your body is in jail, don’t mean you can’t let ya thoughts just sail

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The View

by Arel Aldrich Greene

As I hug the block
As she oozing out the smell of burnt rubber From sun up to sundown
I got get this cheddar
I’m like Building 35
Always hot
Eye on can get you shot
But, I ain’t the kind of nigga make you hot Paddy riding around late
You them camera talking Feds posted
But, behind all that
I got a view of the world.

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Too Much

by Bryan G.

Too much thoughts at once
Too much to bear with
Too much adults that act like children
Too much talk with very little heart
Small hearts that have no light because they’d rather have it dark Too much hate
Never enough love
Too much taking short cuts
that actually lead you down a long path
a path so long that it’ll have you exhausted
making you want to gasp
Too much competition
without realizing that I cannot be you and
you cannot be me
But, you can be the best that you can be
which is something that would never be too much

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The Pieces

by Cinthia Candelaria

Your beautifully put together can I take you apart,
Piece by piece help me find peace,
I want to shatter the art that’s inside of your heart,
Cause in order to get this right
I might need you naked way before it gets dark,
Flatter me with your spark,
I’m use to complications,
Can you talk to me nice
while you mistreat me cause i’ve been abandon,
Just talk to me nice,
I’m used to this beauty
called ugly in us it’s unfair,
But let me wear your pieces,
Let me show you how to make sure that they stare,
Let me put you back together,
I swear there’s beauty inside of how broken you are!

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by Curtis Holden

Love is powerful, a wonderful feeling
It gives you such a sexual healing.

Love is wonderful and quite serene,
you’ll be in such a sexy scene.

Especially when you’re in love with a Black goddess
To stay in love, you’ll do the hardest

Love is such a splendid thing
It will really have you doing the right thing.

When you’re in love, you’ll feel like you’re in heaven above
You’ll be seeing beautiful white doves.

You won’t want no trouble
you’ll want to survive
and watch your love thrive.

When you’re in love, you’ll feel great
To give, you won’t hesitate.

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by Dale Spencer

Poetry is the fire and water
that flows in me
Marijuana gets me high
despite the lows in me
Slowing me down
Smiles emerge somehow
through this frown
Did some self inventory
Couldn’t find my crown
I’m a king but going through a fight
like I’m in a ring
Infinite bruises
Bell never dings

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by Darryl S.

It was April Fourth
It must’ve been God’s will
that dreamed this man’s fate.
He was standing on a balcony
holding love for everyone
when a bullet exploded
from a high-powered gun.
The impact of the shot
will be felt throughout the land
for the news will travel fast
about the death of this great man.
Lady Luck must not know
of the anxiety she can bring,
nor did she realize the mistake she made
by killing Dr. Martin Luther King.
Dr. King, you were a man with courage
a man with a dream
that the People unite,
that we become a team.
And although you’re not with us
we will ful ll your plan…
For we as a people
will get to the promise land.

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My Spirit Sword

by Edward J. aka HALAL LIFE

Yes! I was a criminal, running with the devil like a ill subliminal
Roaming streets trying to get paid, I didn’t know that
Allah already had a road paved.

After trials and tribulations, I decided to forget the streets.
It steered me wrong. I thought nothing could harm me.

But, the devil, he really dogged me. Now faith is the substance of
things hoped for and the evidence of things not seen.

Now my mind is clean. My body is clean.
I beat that devil down to his knees and if he don’t submit to
the will of Allah, I’m gonna cut him up with my spirit sword.

It’s a time to kill, a time to heal, a time to break down and a time to build.

So, pull out the Quran and study before you find yourself
walking the streets ‘till your feet are muddy.

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My Love, Laura

by Joseph L. Garrett Sr.

You helped me so much throughout my life.
Knocked that chip off my shoulder.
Taught me how to believe once again in myself,
and love.
To know there is a way,
no matter how hard it is to come by.

You will never be lost to my heart, soul and mind.
Frozen in time forever in my heart
as one body and one soul.

You were and always will be that light at the end of my tunnel.

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Coming Home

by Estevan C.

How simple my life is now that you are here
How I cherish each breath
How I crave the light and laughter you have brought me
I have fallen in love without taking a step
Fallen into the sweetest of dreams
How I hope no one wakes me
The simplest gesture wraps itself around my heart where
I will hold it forever
Each time, we say goodbye, a part of me weeps though
I know it’s not forever
To my aching soul, it is an eternity
I see my happiness shine in your eyes
Every time you hold my hand, my heart skips a beat
How sweet life is to be yours
How meaningless life is without you
They know nothing of loneliness before you
of the empty tears I cried day after day
How did you do it I ask myself
How did you vanish the fear, the darkness?
You’ve made me see that nothing is that bad
That I am strong and worthy of happiness
You have saved me from myself
Everyday, I wake up and smile
knowing you are waiting for me knowing you can’t wait to see me
How would I go on if you were not here to hold me up,
to bless me with your love and light
How I am glad you have found me
My life is now complete,
I’m home.

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Hearken to Hear

by H. Harris

Voices of Victims,
a quiet moment in ponderous thought,

Voices of Victims,
uni ed against the morning after pill, for the sanctity of human life.

Voices of Victims,
raised against the mega media’s proliferation of murder, rape and mayhem accessed by our youth through X-Box, Nintendo and Wii video games.

Voices of Victims,
silenced as the pillage of the victor’s spoils of war,

Voices of Victims,
rallying for the just cause of those missing children on the back of milk cartons across America,

Voices of Victims,
unheard in the dungeons of prisons throughout the world, mumbling for release from the chains of oppression,

Voices of Victims,
weeping before the caskets of lives taken too soon,

Voices of Victims,
calling out for justice, innocent bloodshed in a hail of gunfire.

Voices of Victims,
lamenting, I’m too young to die of cancer, Lord hear my prayer,

Voices of Victims,
a little girl hidden in the darkness lest the monster boogeyman touch her again.

Voices of Victims,
a little boy in a closet wishing he was a grown man so he could stop the Mr.’s infliction of searing pain,

Voices of Victims,
a woman moaning in pain, why me, why me,

Voices of Victims,
pleading for it to stop, a woman asking the Lord to let her die, her self-worth, a lifetime to build, shattered in a few seconds by a degrading act of violence,

Voices of Victims,
pleading for the violence to stop, to be heard,

Voices of Victims,
unheard by us, lest, we accept the truth that we are not the victims,

Voices of Victims,
shall we hearken to hear, so we may know rsthand the pain, misery and suffering we have caused, thus holding ourselves accountable to this day.

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The Willing Well

by Cinthia Candelaria

Is it me
Or is she with me,
Or is he with me
Cause easily they’ll both just forget me,
I no longer have much time
So I gotta make her mine,
Or do I take him…
Can I make him reach nine?
Am I outta line?
Will it all be just fine?
I gotta make up my mind,
Is she even worth the time,
Will he really help the grind
Get me out this grime,
Will she respect all of the shine
Even after I’m left without a dime,
Like my spine can she hold me up,
When I fuck up will he just hold me down,
Will she only be stuck to me for now,
Will I feel lucky that I kept him around,
Will you look at me stank girl if I sweat you,
Boy will I regret that I ever even have met you
Then just forget you,
Was it me
Or was it he,
Or was it she…

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When I Was a Kid

by Hubert C.

When I was a kid

I pictured myself as a man.
I am a man.

I pictured myself old.
I am old.

I pictured myself flying through life with
no breaks.

Now all I do is picture myself after the crash…
I am not dead yet
so, I picture myself swerving, preventing
a crash.

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Daddy Loves You

by Jaime S.

Ania, Daddy loves you.
And Daddy cares…
Daddy misses you, and
I’m wishing I can be there
Not only to hold you,
but, to shower you with
love and joy.

My beautiful baby girl,
My sweet bundle of joy
Soon Daddy will be

Love you.

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Don’t Play Me Like I’m Not Intelligent

by Ireal K. Jacobs

I am my own projects
I am from that environment
Don’t suit me to be evil
You criminalizing me for your standards
Force accusations
Lawyers testifying for me like I can’t speak
Judges handing out false sentences for their popularity
Court clerk typing away like I’m state property
What is success when everything is beneficial against us?
The authority got the right to rule out the minority
The district attorney, they be on another journey
Cuffs on wrist can’t get dismissed on a misdemeanor
U treat me like John Cena
I can’t even be the star witness in my own trail
Railroad me,
Dragging me back to the boxes
Playing Simon Says with my case.

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Inward Implosion

by John Rufino

Schemes so malicious and twisted, noose knotted round my neck in a twist, like the end of a spliff, death contingent on my existence, soul cancerous and malignant, maligned, maladjusted, resigned from addiction and corruption, ready to blow up, self destruction, gotta up the production, views been obstructed, that sickness creepin’ in, old soul so rustic, learned myself can’t be trusted, harbor secrets like a fugitive on the run that’s committed abductions, harder to function, jumping off at the junction, in conjecture with a spiritual level that I’m trying to reach after escaping several devils of my own creation, don’t mess with satan, more love less hating, stop hating myself, the virtue is patience earned after waiting and continuous prayers that I’ve been saying like restating to a stranger “hi, my name is”, but I’d rather be nameless, keep the form shapeless, carried so much anger and resentment until I became shameless, obtaining grace bestowed on my face after trying to remain faceless and non-complacent, growing pains and going through changes, even though time has been wasted, retrace my steps to move forward and start gaining, love and hate are adjacent, until I put the mask on my face and become jason and start slaying I’m just saying cream rises to the top like the glaze on a danish

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The Devil’s Playground

by Jamel E.

Often while growing up, I was told that idle time and the Devil’s Playground ran hand in hand. Two entities specifically designed to slaughter productivity.

There was once an infamous commercial circulating. It revolved around drugs
and the effects they have on the brain: a frying pan cooking an egg, equipped with an ominous slogan, “This is your brain on drugs”. But, although they relayed the effects, they never articulated the causes. For many some catalysts are: peer pressure, depression, curiosity, an overwhelming desire to be accepted.

Now, let’s investigate the gravitational pull of idle time. Disguised under the umbrella of boredom, idle time encapsulates the mind with images that translate into actions. “We are what we think!” If not carefully monitored, we can slide into an abyss of pessimism and that can lead to a lifelong game of destruction played out, on the dark, dingy courts, of what we call the Devil’s Playground… where the game time is never ending. And there is no such thing as winning.

If you’re hungry, here’s a little food for thought: In order to grow, you have to nourish the biggest baby you’ll ever encounter: yourself. When referring to the Devil’s Playground, it’s not where you play the game that matters; it’s about the team you choose to play for.

A mind is a terrible thing to waste. Guard it with your life.

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Guess Who?

by Joe N.

I’m gross and perverted
I’m obsessed and deranged
I’ve existed for years
Very little has changed
I’m the tool of the government
And industry too
For I am destined to rule
And have control over you
Have you gured me out?
Have you guessed me yet?
I’m the slime oozing out of your TV set.

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by Jonathan B.

For all confines made
to hold the body
to punish the body,
they are only walls.
But the creator over time
Will manifest a life
to deconstruct the chains
that bind one to
the stigma
that you are less than what is true.
Let the walls hold paradise
or the truth one has to find
to understand
the genius
it takes to grow
as time too is a construct
which can be conquered by those
who create a platform for truth.

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My Love For You

by Jose M.

Being apart from you breaks my heart
Hearing you on the phone sounding
so sad gets me mad
At that moment, I just wish I could
break these walls apart
I can’t stop thinking about all of the
good times we had
and the times we laughed
It makes me cry really bad
When I fight my tears, it burns my
That’s only because my soul is
fighting my pride.
When I hear you happy, it makes my heart
smile and mentally
it pushes everything away and it feels
like this time is only for a while.
My baby, my queen, my sweet flower,
my pride and joy,
my sexy butterfly, my sunshine
You are everything that’s beautiful in
the world
That’s why you are my girl
You are soon to be my wife,
a wife that’s a wonderful mother,
a strong woman,
a wonderful creation
that God blessed me with to have
’till the day I die…

I want you to know every morning,
you are the reason for the colors in the sky
So, don’t cry, my love.
Be strong.
God put us together because
we belong
I believe and have faith that he’s
going to bless us because
if we are for him, nothing can be
against us
I know we ain’t perfect.
We both have sin.
But, our promise to God is to never
let the Devil win.
You are the best thing that ever
happened to me besides our kids.

I wouldn’t want my life any other
I’m happy to have you.
So, keep being you
because I love you
and I’m in love with you
because you are you,
my one and only wife.

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by Justin Tolbert

When I was 12 years old, I dreamed of becoming a worldwide traveler. I hoped to walk amongst the animals, and maybe visit Canada

Times have changed since then, and now my focus is based on credit Busy saving money just to pay some bills off and eating off debit

The life I live is really not extraordinary, and to most people scraping from the bottom of the barrel is ordinary.

Who picks and chooses who lives and who dies?
Don’t get shit confused when you can’t lter the truth through the lies

Most dudes can’t focus; the pressure is immense which makes it hard to decide Real niggas keep they chin up and stare a thug in his eyes.

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by Kareem

Why was I born?
Why is it that life
Has left me scorned
Scarred with humiliation
Tribulations of hatred
From officials and unofficials
With miseducation
Intervention for this introvert
That shit is incentrification
Fuck taking incentive
For instance in an instant
You could get incarcerated
In this insane nation
Who’s to blame but only myself
Cause I’m the problem
24 years old still playing
Cops and robbers
Only this time they play for my time
That I’m free
And I play for designer and weed

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Be Yourself!

by Kelsey B.

It’s funny how everybody wanna be something they not
They find something on their body that looks wrong
and so it’s something to crop
Especially girls who hide behind makeup to cover a spot
But, the thing is, we are all beautiful just the way
we are
Embrace life
Live life
and love every scar.
Never be afraid to be who you are.

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12 Barz

by Levon J.

I need a better way… to get to work instead of yay…
Right now, the sky’s grey, but I’ll see a better day…
I felt like I had to eat, but the streets, they ain’t never pay,
My peeps told me it would… basically I was led astray…
Was on the block like I’m tryna get bread today… Learned the
game from my moms and pops… I was bred this way…My moms
likes keeping watch what you do cause the blocks real!
I ain’t knocking what you do but the cops will… You got options,
you could move with your pops still… Or you gonna find out how being in a box feel… I thought fast money would get me past bummy…
I started out good but it didn’t last for me… I found out it was bad for me. I got lock and couldn’t afford the bail with the $tash money…

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In Life

by Mario M.

Show respect for yourself
by respecting others*

Love has different
meanings in life*

Sometimes you have to fight the positive way
for the things you want in life
because life ain’t easy
and sometimes
the things you want in life are not gonna come easy to you*

Sometimes you gotta think
before doing something
and try to be open-minded to get positive results*

In life, there’s two types of friends:
One that’s gonna take you the positive way
and the other one, the negative way
So you’ve got to pay attention
who you hang around with in life*

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by Robert S.

Some succeed. Others fail.
Some get acquitted. Others spend 25 years in jail
Penitentiary bars leave penitentiary scars
Cemetery ain’t far, that’s elementary god.
My moms always said what you sow, you’ll reap
Son you wanna blow… better know these streets
And you’ll know your peeps by the words they speak
It’s better to seek peace then to look for beef
Words of wisdom, Lord forgive, never lived them
Spent most of my teenage years in the system
First stop, Spofford Juvenile
Second stop, C-74 Rikers Isle
Third stop, Elmira reception
My fourth stop, Green Haven Correction
Protection is a 12 inch blade, stainless steel
Touch something that will make you famous for real

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That’s Why I Love You

by Miguel Alverio

I remember support over the phone
You acceptin’ them calls
On the front line me behind enemy walls.

Emotions were raw you crying
Wishing I was home
Going to sleep in my shirt
Cause you could smell the cologne
Blowing up the phone and though
We got the company block
Three letters every week cause the
love don’t stop

Whether I’m locked in a cell or a cube
Reminiscin’ over your letters getting
high on perfume
One whiff has me intoxicated, and
even though I’m incarcerated
You obligated telling me that I’m a make it
Contemplatin’ if I should ask to bring that weed up

I know money rough
cause you coming up
On that free bus
And though I know you
familiar with the procedure

I don’t need drugs,
we need love to heal us
Cause it ain’t all about
that package mama

If shit get rough with the dollars
I’m aight just remember to holler
If there’s anything I can do to help

It’s fucked up on how I’m locked
I’m so in tune with self
You love it
These other convicts they say I be buggin’
Analyzing your letter so I could
touch every subject
Not for nothing though
cause you make it very productive
You just don’t hear you incorporate
This shit into your life and activate it
And through your letters I could see a change
On how you answer situations
Knowing that I would’ve did the same
Cause life’s complications still remain
Whether I’m there or not for what it’s
worth, ma
I could feel your pain
Through the eye of the storm
and the sea of debris
Focus on you helps me
not to think of the street
But of the shit we could do
And the things we could be
In other words, you just a vision of me
Minus the balls and the prison degree

That’s why I love you

There could be no other woman for me
Why you wait for me to get in the streets

That’s Why I Love You

A dying soul with the will to compete
Giving me love whether in prison or free

That’s why I love you

And when this pain got you fittin’ to leave
You don’t break, you build in the grief

That’s why I love you

In other words, you just a vision of me
Minus the balls and the prison degree

That’s why I love you

Paroled to your crib when I needed a home
We fucked on the couch,
got weeded and zoned
And though I slept on the couch
Cause your seed isn’t grown
He has to mentally adjust,
so we feeding him slow
But whoever would’ve knew
That we would be close
Apart from you, I love that child
Like a seed of my own
Why you lead me along to feel this
what I needed before
An intimate bond with a touch so
vigorous was
When you thinking I’m wrong
You throwing things and flinging your arms
And when I’m blocking my face
You try to kick at my balls
You get love cause not once did you pick up the phone
And dial 911 or try to scheme on parole
What about the days I tried to hold up
this pain on my own
The noises you make,
ma when we makin’ love,
you moan
Got a nigga feeling like man
there’s nothing like home
That’s why I look upon you
as a blessing
And hope your love and affection
could me out of corrections
When I’m stressing
When I was gone you was fucking
cause I made you the freak that you are
But you smart cause you don’t shit
where you eat

In other words,
You just a vision of me
Minus the balls and the prison degree.

That’s why I love you.

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Fresh Start

by Shakial S.

When I was young, I couldn’t wait to make fast cash.
Breaking the law seemed cool. The drug dealers was nice.
They always looked out for the youngings.
I used to observe everything, trying to gure out my lane, what I’d be good at. I was book smart, but even smarter on the streets.

I went into selling weed, and getting my ones up.
Moms didn’t have to spoil me anymore. I’ll soon get my own things. Rolling dice was my passion though.
Seemed like I was always winning, no matter the bet or the opponent.

When I get older, things got old.
Now, those bad habits came with sirens and handcuffs. Breaking the law wasn’t cool anymore. I wanted to square up. I nd myself in jail now looking at the outside.
Wondering what moves I could’ve made different.
A fresh start is approaching
and a good beginning
is the objective.

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Around Me

by Shaun W.

Today was one of those days.
I think of all the things I could
and should be doing right now.
I was free for 23 years only to
end up just like the person
I hate most.
My father always told me I was
his son in every way.
But, I used to be proud cause I could say,

“I’ve never been to jail”

But, look at me now,
a hot mess
sitting in 3 Upper waiting on
that call for the State to come get
what belongs to them.
No longer a person,
only a detainee
Or a state inmate
No need to cry or lie cause you know
why you ended up here

Everywhere you go it’s a new story or a new line
on what you should be doing

Jailhouse lawyer and jailhouse gangster
Nobody wants to be themselves
Fake crips, fake bloods, fake this, fake that
Everybody want to play a thug
when they heart is crying for a hug.

Around me, all there is fake people
I thought I knew all about me too
Until in here help me find the real me
Some leave to come back and some
leave to never come back again.
Life in here is different than
what I thought it really was
If I could paint a picture
Or touch a soul with my words,
I’ve done my work.

Around me, I see a lot of lost people
who came here and lost themselves.
They was something before this
but, they let this break them
and they never rebuilt.

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Every Black Man

by Timothy Mitchell

Growing up black, they wanna keep dey feet on my neck
and American X me
want me to b the next mike brown, wanna Kalief me.
Scared what they don’t understand, they scared what I WILL become Black man pure power
Knowledge is key 2 balance a mind of success,
a ‘lil yoga, a ‘lil Buddha to relive the stress…
and in due time it will b revealed that We R the best…
no privilege momma couldn’t give it to me
shit smoking chronic she said that ain’t right
not trynna hear it while I navigator thru life
with these deep thoughts I’m hearing telling me to end my life.

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Reverse Hypnotism

by Joshua Janson

Dear America,

Less distractions, more actions
Less pollution & less excuses
More fight for a better bite
More strength to reach farther length

Social programming & conditioning
controls us all
& taking our freedoms with their
bullshit laws –
Hang tight, sit right & focus on
enjoying the rite
Reverse Hypnotism.
Use the bang of the drum
to snap out the snare
like Coelmanism.

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by Valentino M.

Loneliness is my most loyal friend.
She’s always there…
She’s so loyal that she often causes sadness and despair.
She never goes anywhere. Even in a crowd
full of people, she’s always there.

I didn’t know what a true genuine hug was until Loneliness came along.
I didn’t know the importance of a hug or an I love you… until I had none.
And Loneliness consumed me and my heart became her home.

Now, I nd myself in this cold and lonely place
surrounded by frustration, anger, deprivation and misery
Give me my freedom, and I’ll get rid of my dear friend loneliness.

If money could buy my freedom… I’ll show you where the money is.
However that’s not realistic… So, I’ll hold on to my true friend called Loneliness.

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First Time In A Cell

by Teal H.

23 Upper is the cell I’m locked in,
I’m used to being a free man, not always boxed in
Sometimes it gets so hot in the cell, it’s hard to get oxygen

Going to court locked in chains and cuffs
Working for 26 bucks a week,
Come on, it’s modern day slavery

Mama always told me tough times don’t last forever but, tough people do

In jail, you see brothers work harder in here than they do in the street People are not writing no more, either you getting jumped or your face cut

In jail, family and close friends forget about you
Out of sight, Out of mind
So, don’t expect them to send money or answer the line

Everybody expecting us to fail as a felon,
You grew up with me, dog. I never knew you was tellin’

Take 19 or go to trial,
that’s court lingo

Don’t jump off the couch, straight into the streets
Ain’t nobody trying to fight no more, they packing heat
You can catch a cavity on the pavement thinking things are too sweet I’d rather ip burgers before I ip a pack
The thing about time, once you lose it,
you can’t get it back.

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How Can I Be Fortunate?

by Landon W.

I’m unfortunate due to my incarceration
I’m now part of New York’s jail population
I won’t let this hinder me
There’s too many resources out here you see.
For all the substances I use,
there’s a drug program for this substance abuse.
If I possess healthy skills and I’m seeking work,
there’s job readiness services that I know I can work.
Education is an option, achieve knowledge that empowers you Acquiring a high school equivalency diploma is the right thing to do Eating healthy and staying in shape
Health care is another thing put on this plate
This is all I need to be fortunate in this society.

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Don’t Plea Bargain With The Devil

by Hubert C.

Don’t plea bargain with the Devil.
The Devil is the most beautiful image you’ve ever seen
– money, pretty car, pretty female or real good get-paid scheme

The deals and relationships can cost you dearly
– prison, death, multiple jail bids and
a lifetime of darkness

Be prepared to stay sucker-free and maintain your innocence,
do not fall for the deal.
The Devil is waiting for you

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Tranquility Haven

by Miguel Alverio

When the beer and the smoke was gone
and it seemed all hope was gone
She welcomed me with open arms
giving me a place
where I can feel safe
Starting off with intake
and its warm embrace
Loving a creature from the wild
like the nurturing of a child
Building my self esteem
letting me know I’m worthwhile
I return to the jungle
a bit more humble
Instead of a hate for me
I could tell myself
I love you.

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Real Talk (Modern Day Romeo & Juliet)

by Ireal K. Jacobs

Real talk:
Why art they pursuing my wife
Cuz my life ain’t for thine eye, Naomi.
Why for sake our honest love?

Naomi talks:
Oh my strength, my equal
I’m silenced by thy ways,
not comfortable with your troubling heart,
But you still my throne.

Real talk:
I’m opening my spear to you
I present my ow to increase
in thy mind my fortune.
My gifts are my audition for you.

Naomi talks:
I pledge to support you
Recycle and rebuild my kind spirit.
United we will be forever.
And peace, sharing art and passion
will be in our veins.

Real talk:
As I rest my head upon your angelic chest,
taking in your magical warmth,
Boiling down my temper and
raising up my awareness yet again.

Naomi talks:
I am thy peach.
I am thy queen of queens.
I say this to to you cuz my life is yours
eternally, unconditionally.

Real talk:
You are my rock.
You complete my heart.
As I battle to keep you in sight
this night, at this moment, I’ll give you mine all
with no strings too loose.

Naomi talks:
My king, I heard you then, but I’m still uncertain,
not clear about the things you’ve done.
Don’t be alarmed –
You will always be my
knight in shining armor.

Real talk:
I appreciate thy belief in me,
thy courage and understanding.
I will not walk on my queen’s toe’s no more.
I will keep thy faith and fullness.
I’ll love thou forever.

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