The Prison Poets


By Hyung-Rae (Todd Tarselli) BY-8025 175 Progress Drive Waynesburg, PA 15370-8089




The Present Situation in Prisons all Across America

I stare out under an isolation cell door
onto a three-inch slice of a world
crushed in by barbed wire and chain-link fence
by steel and stone and hatred
and I see you
yes even you
with your back turned
leaving us for dead
without even the humaneness
to cover us over with dirt
and we walk around with our putrid bodies
hoping for the kindness of quicklime
or time
and time

By J.D. Barrett, Sr.

#EF 230647
Dooly State Prison D-3
PO Box 750
Unadilla, GA 31091-0750



Self Reflection

Some nights I can catch a glimpse
of the moon lying
on the floor on my belly looking
through a three-inch space
under the door of my isolation cell
and tonight it is full --
a bright orb with mistakes in black ink
and a few coats of milk
trying to cover them.

My life is that moon.

By J.D. Barrett, Sr.



The End Result

Ninety-five degree heat
and one hundred percent humidity
in a South Georgia prison without A/C
make me drip
and as a drop falls on my lips
the saltiness reminds me
that sweat and tears are the same
only tears come through the heart to the eyes
and sweat comes through the heart to the skin
and sometimes you can sweat
even when you can't cry
and you thank God for it.

A heavy fog settles over me
and there's no wind to clear it.
I've heard that misery
is the stuff of poetry
and I feel I should have volumes
but the reservoir from which I cried
is now no more than dry baked mud
and there's so much left to cry for.

By J.D. Barrett, Sr.



Waiting for Parole

Lightning flashes
across the bars of my window
like life, freezing
the constant world into a moment
of stark reality
and then it's gone;
rain drips, drips
ticking away until drops
become quarts become gallons,
and I am swept away
swirling down a storm drain
choking on, drowning in

By J.D. Barrett, Sr.




Slave to Inmate

Packed on a boat, handcuffed and shackled,
Packed on a bus, handcuffed and shackled.

Traveling across waters to strange lands and unfamiliar faces,
Traveling across borders to strange lands and unforgettable faces.

Given names, Master, and a shack with mud floors to live in,
Given numbers, guards, and a brick building with concrete floors and bars
to live in.

Beaten, spit on, and called Nigger,
Lonely, no hope, forgotten, and called Inmate.

By Willie Williams




The Mulberry Bush (Jeb)

10 to 20 for being addicted to crack
throw in another 5 for being Black
hide the SYMPTOMS to your problems behind a wall
of injust justices who are doomed to fall
right on their face
for what they've done to the human race
to the soup kitchen while the getting is good
to see Nelson Mandela free but what about me
and my people who no one seems to see
us begging for food and digging in the trash
canned babies that we can't afford to feed
us to the wolves who feast on the poor
souls doing time on your three strikes
a blow for the common man
who's doing 10 to 20 for being addicted to crack
after they tossed in an extra 5 because he was Black...

By Roger Gorley
Everglades Correctional Inst.
P.O. Box 949000
Miami, FL 33194




I Done Got Old

Old Head!
Old Head!
What's up Old Head?
Where you from?
S.C.I.-GREENE up in Waynesburg?
Why they got you shackled like that?
You got that "Life" thing?
Haw, that "Death" thing.

Damn, you gonna give it back Old Head?
Try like hell man.
Right on, stay strong.

After 14-year deep in the Penitentiary pushing a Death sentence plus
25 to 50 year on top of that.
I am back in Philly for court.
Come to give some of this time back to the Commonwealth.
Yeah, I was a Baby when I came into this hell -- just 18-years old.
Done grew up behind walls and bars and razor wire fences and
laser sensors.

I think that I am going to play me some basketball!
Yeah, haven't been locked in a cave of solitary confinement for well over
a decade...
I need a good run. You know fill my lungs with some fresh air.

I get out to the yard well before anyone else.
I make three baskets in a row.
One after another, swish - swish - swish.
Yeah, three in a row... I still got it...
The yard fills up fast,
everyone sizes each other up.
Teams are picked.
I am ready.
My 15-footer just hit for three in a row did it not?

My opponent gets the ball... he makes his move...
An A.I. cross over then he tries to hit a Michael Jordan fade away.
In my mind, I am ready to reject his attempt at scoring a point.
I've seen such moves a thousand times on the ghetto black tops.
In my mind I am ready but my body is not able.
Time after time, my body fails me.
I am short of breath,
Out of energy,
my reflexes is slow...
but I don't give up.
During the game, I score four baskets...
my team wins.

But now I am back in my cell and I am paying!
I am paying the Old Man's price of playing with them young bucks.
I got pain and more pain,
I am searching for Miss Ben Gay --
need me some analgesic relief.
If you see her, tell her that I am looking for her,
I'll be the Old Head relaxing in the shade.

The next time that I am asked to play in a game!
Well I am going to take them young bucks for a long walk
and tell them how good I once was
back when I was young.

By Kevin D. Pelzer (Death Row inmate)
BC# 9251
175 Progress Drive
Waynesburg, PA 15370-8082




Shadow of Pain

The winds of the dark collide with my soul
Demons surround the atmosphere intending to destroy me
Visions of mental corpses upon the concrete turned cold
Exploited thru the systems of capitalism the corporate master ignores me
Fiends to view my perspiration and inner pains of slavery
Have you ever observed the cries of a grown man?
Lonely within obstacles of struggle as if the entire planet hates me
I'm fighting, fighting striving to overcome thorns on the sand
Refine me before the pain becomes too steep
Somewhere, someone will appear with a bowl of wisdom
It's difficult obtaining the thoughts of dying in my sleep
From being recalcitrant of my captors within the mazes of prisons
I'm the lion of the jungle, the soldier of the field
Being typecasted due to understanding corrupted political theories
Arm my soul with mass destruction for capitalism I shall kill
But I will machinate these terrains my next series -- Shadow of Pain

By Kenyatta Davis
PO Box 2500 Butner, NC 27509



An Eye for an Eye

An eye for an eye --
Why must I die?
Why must you take my last
Is it enough to be haunted by
the Judgment Day,
or death
by persecution, not lethal injection
nor electrocution.
Why must I die?
Surely not an eye for an eye?
Why must I die!!!?
Can't a person change
or is that too strange?
Forgive me as I cannot forget.
One of the 10 Commandments states
"Thou shalt not kill"
or did it mean
"Thou shall kill"? Bzzz wrong answer.
It states
"Thou shalt not kill."
Why must I die?
Mr. Politician, are you committing murder yourself?
Why must I die?
Surely not an eye for an eye!

By Rick Romanoski
W.V.C.F. -- SHU
PO Box 1111
Carlisle, IN 47838



The Curse

When we were adolescents
Our dreams were so precious
In love with our essence
Our innocence obscured with our penitentiary sentence
To this day in our heart
exist no star-studded place for repentance
Our taxes taken our vote taken
Marginalize us for our past acts
Subtle antipathy because my skin is Black
In vain it is that we labor to transcend
the classification by poor neighborhoods we are trapped-up-in
Success measured by zipcodes
endlessly selling our labor
so we keep popping No-Doze
Generation X touched once twice and three strikes
by the judicial and prison industrial complex
Our plight ambiguous message terse
Ours is a life lived tainted by the Prison Curse



By Bilal Shukr (B. Shelton)
Iowa State Penitentiary
PO Box 316
Ft. Madison, IA 52627



America the Beautiful

They spoke of her as just another face in the crowd
Obscured by deceit
Across the fruited plane she and Happiness twain
Ignore the tears of torn hearts that rain
Deluge of broken hopes and shattered dreams
The agony in the voices social lepers that scream
May I have the next dance under the Star Spangled Twilight
Who else must I be required to sight
For years my dreams have given birth to havoc
I can neither crown King Good
Nor embrace his Brotherhood
From sea to shiny sea I've been hunted
By even those who look like me
No Purple Mountains Majesty travesty is her majesty
America america when will your lady named Liberty
Lower her gaze in humility
A blazen stare her garment soiled with the malignant soil
In which She now toils

By Bilal Shukr



By Hyung-Rae (Todd Tarselli)


The World through a Rearview

I wonder if I could convince you
that this country is not as accessible
for me as it is for you
I wonder if I could convince you
to try walking in my shoes
I wonder how well you would do
I wonder if I could convince you
this life in this cell is hell
for you just as it is for me too
I wonder if I could convince you
that I was despised before I left
the loins of my father's thighs
I wonder if I could convince you
that sweet memories are now
just bitter truths
Incarceration a generation of our youth
I wonder if I could convince you
that my skies have never truly been blue
I wonder if I could convince you
that our worlds are really two
You will never be able to hear my plea
A life closed caption
Always staring at you through your rearview

By Bilal Shukr



Silent Barrier

volatile and lethal and young
they move about the dry path
and stir the summer dust
with their defiant swagger

in the hot, stale air,
ancient eyes scan the false horizon
for the spectacle of death
bodies leaning against a wall,
always watching
missing nothing, waiting

a deep breath taken
amid the summer tension,
prelude to thunder
the great white wall stretching
silent barrier
between two worlds,
containing society's shame

By Muzaffar Khan
Drawer B
Stormville, NY 12582




Bellows Fall

They called me at work
and asked me to meet them at
the police station --
and made a big deal of it anyway --
rough handcuff taunts.

I called her from there and said goodbye --
NO was all she could say.

Our three-month fetus bounced in her belly as
she ran across the bridge trying for one last glimpse or
smell or touch or kiss before I was gone --
and I knew she would do that --
could see her in my mind flying out the door and down the
street across the tracks out onto the bridge spanning
the deep Connecticut, her face tight with the gravity of
loss falling as a sheer cliff face cold, severing
our shared life --

As the car that took me away left town I twisted in
my restraining devices --
and wondered what the agents thought of this man who
contorted in his seat, handcuffed looking back,
to see her, to say goodbye with my eyes, to let her know
one more time that I loved her --
but the timing was not right and we both held
the same empty bridge --
a few seconds apart.

By Marek Jagoda
recently released from F.C.I.
Ft. Dix, NJ



A Moment's Reflection on Judgment Day

So I stood there with the imprints of the cuffs still fresh on my wrists listening to the judge ask if I agreed to go to prison for having grown mushrooms and I wanted with all my heart to say, "No Ma'am, I do not! What I did was not a bad thing, I hurt no one. I believed in what I was doing; I provided a product to those people who wanted it, a product that has brought enlightenment to my society, a product that has been used for this same purpose since maybe the beginning of mankind.

This court, this government has spent incredible amounts of resources arresting and prosecuting me. You have taken all my money. You have taken my two older children away and given them new names and said that I cannot see them or talk to them any more. You ran into my home, twenty agents strong and stood on me with guns to my head and ransacked my house damaging things dear to me. You crated up all that you wanted, all my papers and letters and the photos I had spent a lifetime taking and made it all disappear, not to be seen again. You flew me under heavy guard three thousand five hundred miles away from my family and put me into a small concrete box with no windows or human contact until such time as I would make a "bargain" with you.

Which is the bigger crime here? I wanted to ask her, whose actions should really be considered criminal? My lawyer must have known what was going through my mind, maybe he sees this every day. He was poking me in the ribs whispering urgently, "Just say yes, just say yes...."

And I did

By Marek Jagoda


El Sol Negro

(Note by Marek Jagoda: "The New Mexico state prison exploded in riot on February 1, 1980. About 33 inmates were killed, by each other. I was only 15 at the time but already in trouble, and the law and New Mexico penal system became a big part of my life for the next 13 years.")


In 1956 a construction site
scraped from the mesa the balance of
cactus and small tufts of grass, the sum of
evolution scattered or died in place. A deep hole dug,
cholla spines crushed under treaded blades, spiderwasp holes
eradicated, a non-forgiving steal.
Rebar tied forms foundation concrete pouring and pouring,
pillars and rooms raised in storied pattern of great
warehousic wings ribbed out from a spinal hallway,
the import of steel fashioned as cages, towers
rose with slanted eyes in survey of
killing zones. By design this
projected efficiency; alien upon the granitic terminus of
Rocky Mountains.
in solitude of cedar tarantula continues

What mind, what rooms of a mind drew out these
walls in thought; how to conceive such purpose? Did you
perceive, you nameless 'tech, did you?, an image flash of dusty
light on basement wall abandoned, and my timely passing by?
-- A drafting table's pause; blink, and reach for coffee --
Walls stood and with the passing of its full fillment through
the changing demographics there was grown in place a beast of
bureaucratic human failings, Eater of Souls, fear its sustenance,
it sat beside the highway in growing obesity seen from the back
seat of family outings, undulating gurgling smog monster,
chewing its offal, gathering the chaff with thumb held down
on backbone it pressed and pressed, camels back, heavier by
year in graft and greed.

Was a legend infamous afore even that night; late night
parents TV, house of Usher ing in the eighties, my wrestle
watching interrupted "to bring you this news bulletin...there
has been a riot at the Penitentiary of New Mexico south of
Santa Fe...preliminary reports indicate that" you my boy, will
end up here one day so pay attention, are you watching? can
you picture the reports of ankle deep blood, the bodies savaged,
see the veracity of helicopters tilting in effort, overloaded
with stretchers? Soak it all up, watch as the smoke rises from
the frozen morning. How's it all look from the comfort of your
mama's couch, boy? Can you feel the official panic, the scramble
of the troops as fingers fumble to put the lid back on, for
Pandora's Box is a deep vessel unleashed. Have you considered
unreasoning brutality young man, or the failing of a weak dam,
to be locked in a room with terror while everyone watches.

I was fifteen years old dammit, and I knew
I was going there, already a year and a half down my road,
a smoker of pot.
Someone called it the Hate Factory and I felt
a black body rise up in brilliant conveyance of Navajo
myth, a beaming sun of other purpose and I felt its presence
on my closed eyes, could tell the direction to which it
lay, a destic beacon. There was some basic trait of mine
pre-coded in full flag waving aberrant defiance of the
following of rules, making it inevitable it seemed.
I was a teenage square peg.
with stone in ways of avoidance coyote continues

American Gothic in grey shade pixels;
an old mother, her daughter behind with child on
hip, furrowed dark Spanish eyes, no doubt all satellites of
some number inside, standing bitter in the oh so cold dawn out
side the gate, kept back by the same uniforms, uniform through
out, tears down abuela's cheeks as she pleads her son's name over
and over, not one quivering word of English and I know that
she as me knows nothing of rulers' rules, nothing but their
effects. For three days it raged, a gamut explosive, carnal,
spasmodic. The roadway lined with miles of families, taut faces
in hope of names, human oscillations floating up with the
burning of edifice.

Yo no tengo respuesta para ustedes las mujeres, pero
la tristeza que siempre han conocido.

I have been alone on the desert and seen them walking by the
tens of thousands, every square yard a spider's path, eight hairy
legs and I am just a man. The soft brown shield of thorax and
two tiny hooks on each foot this Mexican brown sub-species,
slim and lighter bodied than its more hydrated cousins, as
desert life must be, conserving in sacrifice to continue. Each
step still seemed tentative even in exodus, like a ground laid
insect wind, to the east, go. I felt like shouting What Is This!!
How could life have taken such turns?, but I know futility's
voice, and rules are just the crisp ice on a morning's stream.
I drove later through a town in the middle of naught with only
one building still standing on a flat and dusty plain,, windows
reflected my passing and I saw inside a gathered crowd of
people, yet no cars in the parking lot.

I did of course end up going there.
I walked that long hallway as a number and saw
the scars on concrete and steel, flesh and spirit, and I
left there with new ones of my own. I met the makers of ankle
deep blood, some of whom turned into the best friends I've ever
known, and in late night cell conferences I learned the dynamics
of a pressure cooker; in grey matter corridors ultimately, the
wisdom of rage. There are spaces inside that have been left
as they were, burnt and full of things never swept out,
whole empty buildings encased in silence but for
the moan of air through bars, the glass melted
away and shattered, a human Chernobyl. As
things go on I am no wiser to the
reasons for life, but I find
my need for answers

The coyote
pauses at top of ridge
and considers the glow from the
man place below, bristling with sharp and
cutting fences as the final indigo layers fade on the
line of western sky. This glow holds a special disturbance and
he knows not why, just feels a menace that makes his stomach
cold and sickly and he slinks left into the boughs of a cedar
tree small and dark green with a comforting smell that pushes
out the place's death odor. There is a wail in the wind and
coyote senses something in that wind of pain and
unhealed spirits, he remembers not to come
here again and backs down the ridge in
hiding on into the night, stepping
as he goes on tarantula's burrow
draining today's cricket who,
feeling the vibration above, freezes in reflex.
the defense of stillness

By Marek Jagoda




friday night

in the big room
institution movie
lots of us

unfolded chairs
the backs of heads
and up on high a cube of color
all focused on

in that square of attention
our hero
kisses the girl
and as his hand moves up her shirt
all these heads they twitch

some cough or clear their throats
some suddenly
find a thing more interesting to look at
the window the floor
a piece of lint

get so tense they don't move a muscle
but you can feel their frequency
like a string of glass
stay away

so out of balance
how do we reconcile the loss of love
of intimacy
of touch
in all these darkened orbs before me
what different dramas play

By Marek Jagoda



Long Life

Close your eyes.
Imagine that you're a federal prisoner
nearing the end of a ten-year-sentence.
If you have to visualize a crime,
go easy on yourself and make it
a non-violent one.
A Bureau of Prisons (BOP) policy states
that all prisoners must take a TB test.
If you refuse the injection,
you'll be sent indefinitely
to the hole. You comply because
you don't want to make waves;
you just want to return home.
Besides this test is beneficial
for your health.

Six months pass by.
In the chow hall one evening, you are
eating supper, mostly vegetables because
you seek to stay fit, live a long life.
At your table another prisoner begins
a conversation with you, explaining
how he just heard on the television
about the TB shot everyone received.
The Army refused it for its troops
because it contained too many carcinogens!
You leave the table
but don't finish your dessert.

By Patrick J. Melvin
#15554 -- 038 6A
PO Box 1000
Otisville, NY 10963-1000




Nothing Else to Lose but Your Chains

So many people from all walks of life
Seem to always ask me have I paid the Price
Having spent my adult life behind these bars
Assuming from all that's been lost and unseen scars
And some how still manage to smile ......

Nothing Else To Lose But Your Chains

Although I remain steadfast and true to form
And stand each morning in excellent health
I can't help but to ask myself what's left
My ancestors' voice whispers in my ear saying push forward.

Nothing Else To Lose But Your Chains

Sometimes I want to react to objects of my anger
Then my focus centers on my family who need me
This calms me to Peace and allows me to in vision
My life outside of all this madness .....

Nothing Else To Lose But Your Chains

An unseen evil robbed me of my freedom
An unseen evil robbed me of a beautiful mother
An unseen evil robbed me of my brothers
Extensions of my Soul a Story that must be told ....
There's nothing Else You can take from me
But these chains of yours ..........

By Bro. Khalfani Malik Khaldun (s/n Leonard McQuay)
P.O. Box 557
Westville, In 46391-0557




I'm Alive You Hear Me

The street had no movement, no lights of any kind, no sound of any animals, or nothing to caress the ears. The moonlight had provided my eyes with a visual, a visual to a short distance. The houses that sat on each side of the street offered no evidence of existence.

I was alone on a lifeless street that was unfamiliar to me. Had I fallen asleep during the bus ride from work and exited the bus at the wrong location, sleep walking to a place unknown? I can't remember getting off the bus. Where am I? I turned around to make my way back to the direction I came and suddenly a woman appeared out of nowhere, whoa! who? what? help some body, you? I couldn't utter any words from my mouth that created a sentence. My voice had suddenly vanished, I couldn't move, my body was motionless, my heart was beating quickly, I felt sweat pour immediately from my head. For what stood in front of my eyes, a woman. Her eyes were florescent white that glowed in the dark, her head and mouth were covered in a black piece of cloth, her hour-glass shape informed me that this was a woman indeed standing in front of me. Holding some type of contraption in her hand. Stay still and calm a deep voice from behind me interrupted the silence. I have no money just some loose change in my left pocket may I please leave? I'm not looking for any trouble, I was on my way home and turn down the wrong street. I found my voice to reply... I want no trouble, I just want to go home, please !!! "Quit !!" the voice from behind repeated, get on your knees and place your hands on your head, you are under arrest. I glanced up at the woman that was before my eyes and then I noticed what the contraption she held in her hand, and why her eyes were glowing. She wore night vision eye goggles that turn night into day and held a MP-5 machine gun. I turn to see the face who was behind me "BANG! BANG!" The sound of the gun erupted, bullets piercing my body. NO !!!

I had awaken and realize that I was dreaming, I had fallen asleep. I was still on the bus on my way home. My heart still pounding fast for I thought that I had just been shot by the hands of some trigger-happy police.

The bus had arrived to my destination, I quickly exited to make my way home, only a few blocks away from my house. I walked patiently, taking deep breaths to calm my nerves enjoying the fresh breeze that caress my moist skin. As I came closer to my home I notice a crowd of people standing in shock, some crying, others with unnormal expressions and holding one another in a loving embrace. Curious to what every one was emotional about, I made my way through the crowd as my thoughts ran wild. I looked and noticed a man laying motionless, no movement of life. No !! It can't be, how? I'm alive, I'm alive!! I'm alive... You hear me ? I'm alive..."


By Eugene Weems
#T40463 (SVSP) B3, 136
PO Box 1040 Soledad, CA 93960-1040



The Dark Hall

Daddy! Daddy! daddy... daddy... daddy...

A tiny voice, filled with fear and dipped in sadness, echoes down the Dark Hall. A man stumbles ahead, blindly following the voice, reaching out, hoping, fearing. Stones, sharp and jagged, tear at his feet. He falls, struggles up, only to fall again. The tiny voice pleads. He begins to crawl through the inky blackness, fighting through pain and tears, determined beyond reason to find a way.


Daddy? Daddy? daddy... daddy... daddy...

The girl's voice echoes unanswerable questions, begs for a now. The hall is cold, dark, but for a dim light in which the girl stands, her arms out-stretched and filled with need.

The stone floor is smoother here, fewer sharp stones to trip unwary feet. He runs. He runs toward his daughter, arms and legs pumping in the blackness. He runs in an unrelenting sameness, his steps seemingly carrying him no closer.


Father. Father. father... father... father...

The young woman's voice is pleasant, hiding shame behind a thin veil of remembered love. She stands far away, in the dim light that grows no brighter, hands folded at her waist.
The stone floor shifts beneath his feet, becomes a deep sand. He shuffles on, lost in half-forgotten yesterdays. Cold air creeps through the darkness, touches him with icy fingers. He dawns heavy clothing and readies himself for the colder nights to come. He tires.


Stranger. Stranger. stranger... stranger... stranger...


By Tim Alexander
P.O. 1000
U.S. Penitentiary
Marion IL 62959




A Distant World

The interloper strutted out. "All done here," he chittered, snapping off his gloves. "Nothing found today, but we'll see what tomorrow brings."

I dared say nothing as the interloper stepped away from the airlock like a doorman at an exclusive club, allowing my co-habitant, Walker, and I to enter our pre-fab world once again. Walker's anxious breaths crackled in my earphone, as if the interloper might have found something that hadn't been there -- which happened to my last co-habitant.

I entered slowly, afraid to discover the interloper's carnage. Of course, I expected his poisonous digits to probe the few manifestations of my memories and the ghostly reminders of what awaited in the unfathomable future (our world is a time machine, though it does not manipulate the space/time continuum), but I was astonished with what laid before me.

"Someone let me out. My bunkie has to use the toilet!" came a stray distress signal from a distant planet. It was a plea that would go answered.

The airlock irised shut. If I hadn't known better, I'd have sworn our inorganic world had a pressure leak. Our bunks were now heaps of rayon, Staph-Chek plastic, and synthetic wool. Whatever may have been in our desk lay in piles beneath it. Instant coffee trailed to the toilet.

"What the hell's the matter with you, you sick fuck?" Walker screamed at the airlock. "I still had a quarter-jar!" An empty container bobbed in the metal toilet bowl.

I also had a place to lay my concern; every picture I had tacked to my bulletin board was now strewn about the floor: Faces once familiar and places I might have been; my son, with his toothless smile, a smile I'll never forget but didn't know when I might experience again; images of my nieces, girls I've never seen and would not see until they were adults; vidcards from ports visited in the drunken haze of my youth; a few people I'd never see again, cut off by barriers extending far beyond the airlocks, motion-sensing laser cannons, electromagnetic disruption fields, radioactive atmosphere, and the vacuum of space; my sister I could not see beyond the one little frame frozen in time because she is seventeen; old enough to be condemned to a world much like my own, but yet not old enough to visit her own damned brother in his.

"Attention! Attention!" blared an incoming transmission from Intergalactic Government. "It is now decreed that applesauce may be a salad as well as a desert, and canned pears are a viable substitute for both tomato soup and chocolate cake. That is all."

"Hey!" Walker exclaimed. "I think I can scrape some of this off the floor. Got something to put it in?"

Probably, but I didn't give a damn at the moment. I picked up the pictures, inspected them for damage. In my mind I could see the interloper lounging in his chair, webbed feet on the control panel, lamprey-like smile beneath his warty proboscis, laughing over his accomplishment. "You have accomplished nothing," I tell him mentally. "You have accomplished nothing to be proud of, for one day the universal law of Karma will catch up with you as well."

By Bryan Hall
777 W. Riverside Dr.
Ionia, MI 48846




Filling an Empty Space

I awoke this morning inside of the Slavery Corporation of america, for some reason I felt empty inside of myself. There were a special something missing from my life. I thought about what it could be but each time I came up with no answer. With my thoughts in solitude, I walked to the mirror on the wall of the Slavery Corporation of america's Maximum Security room of Castration and Niggerization with hope that the Chief of Corporations didn't order the hooded men to get me while I was sleep, but it was not me that I saw. I found myself looking into the eyes of an older man whom I had never saw in my life. In some odd way I felt a closeness to the Stranger. In my heart I understood the brown eyes that stared at me. The face I saw in the mirror spoke to me not, but the eyes of the Stranger gave me a Strong Message with a Spark of Knowledge that overpowered all that I had grown to accept and I immediately realized that the eyes I saw was the eyes of a former product of a People in Struggle who had been enslaved by the Corporate Workplace long before my birth. The face of the Stranger was strong and the eyes were kind and in every way the Stranger was a part of me. The eyes touched my heart and soul as the Stranger continued to stare at me. They were the eyes of the father of a Nation of Revolutionaries who had rebelled against the Slavery Corporation of america but this Stranger died in the Corporate Workplace in order that my generation may understand the end result of sleeping on the corporate bed of Castration and Niggerization. In the eyes I begin to see and understand what it meant to be a revolutionary. I can feel a fire of freedom burning in the place that was empty inside of me and that very fire will be the inspiration of my struggle until I become a great reflection in your mirror....

By Lumumba Shakur (John R. Williams)
2999 US Hwy 61 North
Woodville, MS 39669




Ending of "The Dream"

Gaping holes begin to form
Midst huddled masses
American dream
Turned nightmare

Hope dims
And homeless
Crowd alleys
And scrabble for food

Gullible crowd pews
Seeking escape
Amid rantings
Of false prophets

Deluded teachers
Rant of salvation
Beyond price
Then itemize cost

Babbling of free gift
Without string
Then tell what's required
To earn it....

Misery counted
As requisite to
Selected members
This elite club....

Formed before time
By a sadistic God
Seeking adoration
From victims

Americans crushed
By jackboots of hobnail
And deprivation
Wielded by profit....

Capitalist demand
Reward for slavedriver

Who in greed
Drains the worker
With promise

The great dream
Lies awash
In fallow ground
Sprouting defeat.

By James E. Meier
3060 F. M. 3514
Beaumont, TX 77705-7635



I Am a Slave

I live in North Carolina and I am a slave. Although I am very educated, highly skilled and I once had a sufficient income, good credit and supported a wife and child, I am today a slave.
Picture those sneaker makers in "foreign countries" who work in factories for pennies an hour. They earn more than me. Imagine those who toil, in sweatshops or those who labor by hand in one of those foreign countries. The people featured in news stories about human rights. They get more media attention than me. Now picture me, I live in America, in North Carolina and I am a slave.

I am fed (just enough), housed and kept healthy enough to work (provided I started healthy). I earn as little as forty cents a day -- the price of a postage stamp -- for a seven-day work week. Illnesses which require a medical visit cost me three dollars -- a week's pay. If I can't pay I am Burdened with the debt for medical care. So most times when I get sick I just risk my health and go to work. Sometimes I am so sick I pay for the medical visit but still must go to work. My health and safety isn't enough reason to let me rest one day. After all I am a slave.

I am forced to work, to take a job -- any job they feel like giving me regardless of my education level, skill level or needs. To our keepers we are all the same. If I don't take a job I am punished. If I try to quit the job I am punished. (I can be punished for not having my shirt tucked in. I can be punished for speaking out like this.)

When I am punished I am fined ten dollars (Three week's pay). I can't use the phone, my family is restricted from visiting me and worse, my term of servitude is lengthened. Who am I? I am a North Carolina prisoner and I am a slave. You may think I deserve this punishment. Our Supreme Court in the 1970's decided that we "are sent to prison as punishment not for punishment."

You may think we should be forced to work to "earn our keep" and "learn responsibility." That's a laugh. Prison slavery can never repay the enormous and obscene amount of money to build prisons (instead of schools) for which the tax payers are bled.

And all that I and most prisoners have learned is simple pity for the people who support, perpetuate and then ignore this system of slavery. That's what a slave really learns. I should know. I am a North Carolina prisoner and I am a slave.

By Robert Camara
Box 137
Tillery, NC 27887




The D.A.'s Song

Guilty he called me,
so my freedom ceased.
Now I'm living
in the belly of the beast.
Guilty he said
so I feel degraded.
I've got a new status,
it's called incarcerated.
I had better agree
to the guilty plea
while the D.A. offers me
one and a half to three.
If I let this chance pass
his song will change
to a six to twelve --
isn't that strange?
It really matters not
if I committed the crime
because if I blow trial,
he will triple the time.
Some say it's the mayor
or the crooked police.
Maybe I've spent too much time
hanging out in the street,
but because I'm the type
who likes to get paid,
I better use this time
to learn me a trade.
You're guilty until proven innocent,
that's not the way it should be.
I will never understand this corrupt system,
not even at the age 103.
You're guilty until proven innocent,
so you've got to stay strong,
whenever your freedom
is at the mercy of the D.A.'s song.

By Willie Williams




The Bullshit Flies

Promises are made
and always broken
for a better world tomorrow.
Hear the same old speeches
year after year,
on how they're fixing, curing and lowering
all the people's needs.
Screaming across the land
shaking the people's hand.
For the first and last time.
They'll bust their asses just for us
Look at their faces change
right before your eyes.
Don't listen to the gospel of lies.

The bullshit flies
in our face
every single time.
The bullshit flies
in our face.
The politicians' smile.

By William G. Wright
630 E. Rialto Ave.
San Berdoo, CA 92415




Dear Pigs

Now I love animals
But woe to thee
A pig ain't nothin'
But a pig to me
Great Jesus cast them
To the sea
Like devils crowned
With misery.

By Jaro (Vincent Johnson)
PO Box 316
Ft. Madison, IA 52627-0316




Animal Trainer

Animals, animals, walking all around
They let us parole, just to lock us back down.
They say we don't fit on society's page,
so they lock us in cells and fill us with rage.
They think they'll teach us what's wrong and what's right,
but in order to live you must first learn to fight.
So what kind of an animal do you expect to create
an animal trainer with a shiny new gun
all day in his tower stalking his prey
trigger finger ready for one who runs away.
Yet some of us animals grow proud and grow strong.
Prepared for the day that we've waited so long.
We've made it through hell on heart pure luck,
but the animal trainers don't give a fuck.
So look again trainers and look deep in these eyes.
Behold all this hate that you must recognize.
You'll then be aware of the future that you've laid
as you tremble with fear at this fierce beast you've made.

By Johnnie Thompson
PO Box 601
Pendleton, IN 46064-0601




No Win
(a Haiku)

Murderous minded
Young rebel without a cause
Cage, box, life, or death

By Santonio Murff
Box 4500
Tennessee Colony, TX 75886




Mental Masturbation

In due time
Afrikan nations will put an end to white collar crime
This is not simply a dream of mine, nor is the thought a waste of time
Dead yet alive in the belly of an insidious beast
My soul has not decreased
Not in the least.

Motion is slow
Progress is tedious
For too damn long our cup hath runneth over with a fluid 80 proof poisonous
For too damn long... causing us to act lobotomized
Our gluttony has spoiled us
For much too long.., our behavior has been institutionalized.

Do you see
Can you recognize the predator who see us as easy prey
We're its economic base
We're the apple of its eye
It's been stalking us night and day
With billie clubs and threats of pulling jobs
Chains dragged by pickup trucks
Cops carrying glocks
Bankers and ballooning interest rates
Eviction with belongings on the streets in crates.

There's a white opaque plague blanking this land
Prostitution of minds is prosperous in this land
The lifting of oppression is still in demand.

Do ya'll overstand
Then let me see
A sea of clutched fist hands

What freedom demands
Force... Minds
unified hands

It's not my dream, fantasy, or illusion
It's just my conclusion
It's up to us to punch out
The minorities with much clout

The western euro - peon system is the theme for this rhyme

It's time to put a final end to white collar crime

By Bekitemba Oding Gamba (Tyrone A. Swint)
Ojibway Correctional Facility
PO Box 236
Merenisco, MI 49947




Where I Stand

At this time, I feel disinclined
to award my appreciation --
to the customs and laws
of the U.S. and the United Nations.
'Cause I can foresee
these power-struck figures
leading the world
towards even more tragic situations,
of which I want no participation.
Although I was born in Amerikkka I don't
feel that I'm under any obligation.
Confused by the too few facts,
I lack focus and concentration.
No matter what the media says
I gain no inspiration.
It's like, I've worked too hard to find true facts,
that I'm overdue for a vacation.
Lies are being told to drum up support
with tricked-out simulation,
causing a bunch a hoopla
& false stimulation.
What a terrible nation!
Built off of blood, sweat, tears
and degradation.

This is to awaken
my fellow man!
simply by letting him know --
"where I stand"

By Mike A. Slade
1100 Pike St.
Huntington, PA 16654




Start a Revolution

Time takes its toll the brainwashed masses don't see
everything that's wrong in our society
I'm a casualty of a drug war you don't see
at the cost of taxpayers wasting away in a penitentiary
Start a revolution fuck the Constitution
capitalist destruction the only solution
You want to talk about equal rights why don't you ask Uncle Sam
before he forces a gun in yr hand and ships you off
to terrorize a foreign land
Republicans keep lying while in the streets
are hungry crying children are dying
corrupt city and govt officials the deceit, lies and drugs
while insane long-term for sadistic witch-hunt
prison sentences drug convictions
while the CIA and the feds control the pipelines
of major distributors that feed the convictions
who's killing who and what's the reason why
some have to work so hard for next to nothing for someone else
while someone else skates by enjoying the easy life
I could go on and on I'm just another of the oppressed
but what's the point? doing time in the joint

By Brian S. Chapman
Clallam Bay Correctional Center
1830 Eaglecrest Way
Clallam Bay, WA 98326




I Am Going to Forget

I am going to forget children dying
Widows crying, bombs falling
Streets destroyed, foreign soldiers
Politicians talking, dead bodies

I am going to forget the hospital selling
Bottles of cold blood
And the employees screaming
Payme! Payme!

I am going to forget the Red Cross
The Green Cross
The blue cross
The double cross.

I am going to forget your daddy Adolf Hitler
And your mama Barbara Bush
And your sister Madonna
And your brother Dick Cheney

I am going to forget my salary
The horrible economy
My house in the street
The church with locked doors.

I am going to forget the past
The future
The moment
The unforgettable.

I am going to forget to sleep
To wake up
To eat
To drink.

I am going to remember only the
Last lie my meddlesome Uncle Sam
Told me
And nothing more.



(in Spanish -- en Español:)

Voy a olvidar niños muriendo
Vivadas llorando, bombas caiyendo
Calles destruido, soldados fuereños
Politicos hablando, cuerpos muertos.

Voy a olvidar la hospital vendiendo
Botellas de sangre frio
Y los empleados gritando
¡ Pagame! ¡ Pagame!

Voy a olvidar la Cruz Roja
La cruz verde
La cruz azul
La cruz doble.

Voy a olvidar tu papa Adolf Hitler
Y tu mama Barbara Bush
Y tu hermana Madonna
Y tu hermano Dick Cheney

Voy a olvidar my salario
La economia horrible
Mi casa en la calle
La iglesia con puertos cerradas.

Voy a olvidar lo pasado
El futuro
El momento
El inolvidable.

Voy a olvidar dormir

Voy a recordar solamente la
Ultima mentira que me dejo mi
Mito Tero TIO SAM
Y nada mas.

By Robert J. Zani
Michael Unit
PO Box 4500
Tennessee Colony, TX 75886


By Hyung-Rae (Todd Tarselli)



Time for War

Call out the troops
Oil the guns
Let's play the game once more
There's a country
Who won't play ball
So it's time to go to war!

We may be wrong
We say we're right
Who cares enough to stop?
We will win
At any cost
Stand back, we've bombs to drop.

No real reason
But duty calls
Come now, take your place
By any means
We will defeat them
Leaving not a single trace.

Man the tanks
Scramble the jets
Let's play the game once more
There's a country
Who won't play ball
So it's time to go to war!

By Clifton B. Smith
NSP PO Box 2500
Lincoln, NE 68542-0500





Banging, tapping on doors & desks
for they say "rudimental causes"
Spitting obscene rejections into their faces
Impairment of surveillance & promises of refusal
Snatching toilets, lights & sinks out of the concrete
Unsanitary water sent rolling down the gallery
Hunger strikes, even self-inflicted bloodshed
All provoking material for them
to impose their anticipated brutality
Extreme tactics used by insubordinate partisans
I stand shoulder to shoulder, back to back
Encouraging every revolting step
Opposing, we renounce submission
as an obstinate unit in an onerous struggle
One breath is beneficial, adamantly preaching about unity
The next one is detrimental, revealing an absurd chimera
Openly broadcasting plans to peddle narcotics
Going to assist the oppressors in their transparent
scheme to dominate & suppress
Giving other ignorant ones advisement on how to
support these people
A vociferous contradiction?
You know, you see as well as I do
I confront this
You remain stubborn
& deaf under my verbal melee
Man, Brotha', Comrade, Resister
Can you actually expect fellow inmates to harmonize
when you vow to help kill their families by providing
the noxious chemicals that subjugate many of them
You support their destruction
In all actuality you are not very separate from the
omnipotent tyrants who keep us where we are
Offending is not my intention
If it takes us "falling out"
to succor you into transposing
so be it
Remember tho'
you were the one sacrificing time & words
by expanding my rebellion with the use of pen & paper
Listen to me as I listened to you
Show me the same respect & courtesy
Even with this grave dissimilarity
my unprescribed stance next to you refuses to sway
The enemy & rescue squad
both of them are in us
Recognize & correct

By A Compatriot (Marco Hubble)
PO Box 711
Menard, IL 62259




I Love My Life

I love my life
not because I am here
where none would rather be
nor because I exist
where thrives only misery.

I love my life
but not because of
the oppression I endure
not for the repression
my beliefs incur.

I love my life
not because I am a slave
and have no rights
my captors are bound
to respect.

I love my life
because I can transcend here
where none would rather be
with a liberated mind
I flee.

I love my life
because in misery's den
my humanity

I love my life
because oppression
has only tempered
my resistance.

I love my life
because my survival makes me
stronger than my oppressor
and I am more determined
than ever they expect.

I love my life
because of the potential
I still have
and for my proletarian roots
I pity not the enemy
when we strip him to the boots
and the world is ours
then wouldn't you love to be me,
rather than he?

By Jason Treás
PBSP C-9-119
Box 7500
Crescent City, CA 95532




A Spark on the Tier

A spark on the tier
our greatest potential alit
to contribute to humanity.
Comrades! Comrades!
can you not see our position?!
We have nothing to lose
but the chains of oppression!

By Jason Treás





To put an end to no good two-faced capitalists
you must help increase the number of Maoist internationalists.
If you are sick and tired of American belligerence,
your first step to reform is escaping ignorance.
If you are tired of constantly living in despair,
embrace socialist comrades who truly care.
Though we not may not be able to change the course of fate,
we can guide our destiny by rising up to declare a new state.
With true proletarian internationalists, principles, devotion and unity,
all of the Black people will be treated unbiased equality
because there is no equal rights in American, fake democracy,
just a bunch of cowards hiding behind laws filled with hypocrisy.
They are the sneaky deceiving, heartless imperialist;
we are the brave, sincere, loving humanist.
The only solution to ending the proletariat's under-spread pains
is putting an end to this so-called superpower reign.
So if you want to terminate this relentless oppression,
become a fellow comrade and prepare for revolution.

By Chicago Red (Albert Thomas Coleman)
I-1-13 Adm. Custody
I'line G4 (Eastham)
Box 16
Lovelady, TX 75851-6016





Forget Me Not

Why must I go like dis?
It's definitely not my wish...?
My oppressor choose, dis path...
He sayz I've got to feel his wrath...
I've lived a fruitful life... dedicated my life to uplifting
my people... but now my keeper haz swooped
down on me like a reaper....
I want to fight, cry, or beg; when you strap me to your
gurney... I live on in my people... and may my murderers'
every wakin day be stormy...
Not from sleet, snow or rain.
Cuz his conscience knows dat he haz killed an
Innocent man in vain....
But it probably won't bother him tho',
So with clenched fist salute, I say

-- UHURU --

....Is something now, dat I truly know....

(In memory of: Brother Ziyon Yisrayah)

By Billy Brown
#855988 SHU-A309E
Indiana Department of Correction
Wabash Valley Correctional Institution
PO Box 1111
Carlisle, IN 47838-1111



With My Eyes Closed

As I set in this cell, I close my eyes, but yet I still see, not the visions that the naked eye sees, but the mind's eye, the visions are beautiful, all the colors are so bright, no smog, you can see for miles & miles. People walking with their kids, greeting each other with smiles of joy, for it is a most glorious day, the sky is all blue, the flowers in full bloom, the greens were so green.

Everyone was in harmony with nature, they were as one. No need for police, cause people here governed themselves, no need for guns, cause people talked out their differences, and came to a solution, solvin' problems without violence. Hunting was not allowed, cause they seen animals as a life form which deserved to live also.

People shopped in shops without the worry of debts, nothing was sold or bought, for bartering was the norm, capital was not the ruler, the people was. People enjoyed going shopping, without being followed around the shop, as if they were going to steal something. The shopkeepers welcomed all who wished to enter the shops, for they knew that the people was really the shop owners. He/she was merely the keeper.

As the sun start to set, and people start to head home for a nice hot supper with the family, or families, for everyone here was as one. As the night wears down, people settle down for a good night's sleep. No doors windows or shutters was locked, no need, because "crime" was nonexistent here.

But then I open my eyes -- BAM -- back to reality, the sky is no longer blue, but gray from all the pollution, money was the ruler of all evil, no one on the streets for fear of drive-by shootings, the bricks are going up on the corner shop for his/her prices was high. All doors, windows, and shutters locked tight, can't sleep in beds cause somebody might shoot in the house, and the bed is too high, so we sleep in the floor cause this is a little safer.
-- Ah shoot -- I think I'll close my eyes again....

By Billy Brown




My Voice in Vain

My voice echoes over the range, drowning out all other voices, cuz I am trying to get a point across. The point of UNITY amongst prisoners, that unspoken law of respect, but do anyone hear me? It seems that my voice is being vain. Tho' I keep talking cuz I know that other prisoners are in tune, so I push on with my spill of prisoncrats, and their politics, and OUR best defense against this virus. There are a few prisoners that are truly interested, then there are ones who using my voice to pass time, or what ever their agendas may be... my voice in vain.

I understand that a lot of prisoners wish I would shut the fuck up, cuz they would rather be talking about "dicks and ass," or talking about each other in other wicked ways, but here comes my voice, pushing this hard-line of consciousness, of self awareness, OUR story, about nation. Things are quiet as I speak, my voice booming over the ranges, questioning this unnecessary bullshit that is flooding the airwaves, is this the best we can come up with? To discuss another man's / woman's anatomy as if it's an eight-course meal? Is this the best OUR great minds can produce? If so, then this prison struggle which we are engaged in, is in ruins. WE are in for a rude awakening.

Never the least, my voice pushes on, searching for potential on this set. I know it's here, for I've seen the fire in the eyes of these prisoners, and my voice will bring that fire to the surface, and point that energy in the right direction, focusing on the upliftment of self, as well as others that's in the same situation (servitude). We must make a choice: either we want to remain subjected to this dehumanizing cycle laid down by these demons! Or rise up as men / women, as prisoners and say: UHURU SASA!!



By Billy Brown



Is My Enemy -- Yo' Enemy?

I see my enemy as de Rockerfellow's, Rothchild's, Trump's, Ford's, Forbes & DuPont's of dis earth. I see my enemy as de Army, Navy, Air Force, Marines, Drug Task Forces, DEA, ATF, Prison Task Forces & all other agents of oppression.

I see my enemy as de opPressdent, Senate Men & Women, Congressmen & Women. Legislators. Governors. Mayors. District Men & Women. and anyone else who feels dat integrating de people with dis imperialist state is for de "best. good. etc." for de people.
Now you may ask who does dat leave?

It's simple.

My comrades & allies are. Revolutionaries. ghetto men, women & children. rebels. guerrillas. de homeless. shantytown mans. PP/Pow. de proletarian. anarchy. political dissident.

All people who live with genocide, menocide, suicide, as a daily "norm". All people who face oppression, repression, racism & de right to self determination, dat is being put down by my enemy....


By Billy Brown



By Hyung-Rae (Todd Tarselli)



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