by Inmates
January 2009


Black Mother — Anonymous

I ask that you forgive me for the pain that I may have caused your heart to feel. Please forgive me for giving up my dreams and my will. I will never forget what you taught me, because now I understand that it was real.

Even when times were hard you tried still, always making sure that your seed wouldn’t miss a meal. You taught me how to be a gentleman, but you could not show me how to be a man. God has my destiny all made up and within his plans.

You’ve showed me in so many ways how this cold world could be so trite. And that a real man living in it will never put any limitations on life.

You’ve done all a “Black Mother” could do under so much stress, and one day all that you raised me to be will be gone reflecting. Never blame yourself for the path that I chose, because I was the driver who took the course down these weary roads.

So, continue to hold your head up, and rest at ease when you lay down in bed – because this is not forever, and could never be the end….

I love you Momma and I feel so blessed because there is no one in the world like you.

Can I Trust You? — Bender

Can I trust you
You left me
I was only one
Too young to see
My mom found a man
He took your place
I looked at him
I didn’t have his face

Can I trust you
I spoke to you at age 19
Agreed to meet you
Sight unseen
When I met you
You promised me it all
Said you’d be there
Anytime I’d fall

Well I’ve fallen
Where are you now
Mom’s been here for me
When there’s no way – how

Can I trust you
You’re my dad yes I know
I wish you would have been there
To watch me grow

Can I trust you
I don’t know but I’ll try my best
You’re my dad after all so I’ll put my trust to the test

Why? — Monique Coe

On August 18, 2000, while incarcerated in a Jacksonville, Florida facility, I was told that I was H.I.V. positive. When I heard this news all I could do was cry and ask, “Why?” When my whole outlook upon life began to change, I asked, “Why?”

I wasn’t too educated then, but I knew it was a fatal illness – why?

I acted as if I no longer cared and I wanted to the world to die with me – why?

Did I continue to do what I needed to do, or did I even care about what happened to me – why?

I told the man that gave it to me and all he did was dog me even more. Why?

Do I continue to be hard-hearted, unjust, and in the void, or do I become humble, immense, or victimless. Why?

Does God allow this to be upon me in order to help others, or for me to sit in agony and pain. Why?

Why does all this have to make sense for me to understand that this disease can’t make me or break me. That I can still hold my head high and live the way God intended for me to live, because I’m not H.I.V. I am a (House) being built from the ground up with new things inside. (Inseparable,) can’t anyone stop me from reaching my goal. V.I.P. (Very Important Person)

Love Is — Donnie F.

The blind man says, “I can’t see.”
But, if you listen I’ll tell you how life can be.
Love is the grandest wisdom ever to be learned,
something to believe in, something to yearn.
Love is something all should know about;
love is something no one should be without.
Love is the joy of one child’s birth;
love is the universal language of this earth.
Love is a rare flower, beautiful and true –
love, simply coming from within you.
Listen, love is in the air,
and love is everywhere.
Love is in the sunshine,
and love is in your heart and mine.

Taking off my Disguise — R.H.

I am somebody
Now I realize
Seeing who I really am
Taking off the disguise

I used to pretend
That I really loved myself
So I’d play myself short
For the men to want me

Getting drunk until I passed out
Or staying off for too many days
Using no protection
With the men that I would lay

Plotting, scheming, and scandalous
Are what I was known as
As long as I got what I wanted
They could all kiss my ass
Ready to rob anybody
Is what I had in my plan
Didn’t care who I hurt
As long as the money was in my hand


Today I Have a Dream — R. H.

Today, ladies, I speak for us.
Let’s stop tearing down each other and start building trust.

Today I have a dream that we, as women, will stand strong, that we
learn to stick together even when we’re wrong.

I have a dream that we will finally teach each other how to be
the best we can be as nurturing mothers.

I have a dream there are no more drugs in this world that destroy
the hopes and dreams of our own little girls.

I have a dream that violence comes to an end and our children
can play freely without hiding in a den.

I have a dream our once-fears will turn into success – we must
overcome what’s held us back from being our very best.

I, ladies, have a dream that we can sit among each other and
recognize the beauty inside. And stop focusing on our color.

I have a dream that we will let our pasts go – they only destroy
our determination in where we need to go.

Sometimes there is pain in thinking things over, and it really hurts
to be in here and remembering these things while sober.

I have a dream that we can all learn to be real about the things
that bother us and say how we feel.

I have a dream that somehow we’ll all learn to unite together
as a family.

And fight for what is right.

I have a dream that, when we finally open the door, we’ll have our heart’s desires and what we’ve been striving for. Today, I thought I’d take my time and tell you ladies this. We must believe that we can achieve, and we can overcome today – we have won. We do have heart, we know where to start. We know what to do, we just have to choose. Which way to go? Only God knows. He’ll lead the way. Don’t run from him. Just let him mold you. Never let another soul tell you that you’re dumb. You may be in prison, but your heart has freedom. You’re free from your pain, and you’re free from your abuse. Now, go out there and show the world your time was of good use.

I Trust — Dawn Staples

There are days when I wonder
why I keep going.
            Because I have to.
There are days when I wonder
why I press on.
            Because I must.
There are days when I wonder
why I have faith.
            Because I need it.
There are days when I wonder
why I continue.
            Because I trust.
I trust in the goodness
I see in myself,
and the strength
that I know is inside.
I trust in the courage
that I know I possess,
on the days
I want only to hide.
I trust in the love
that fills me to brimming
and spills over
for others to see.
I trust all of these things
and so many more,
but my trust
is not only in me.
I trust in the people around me,
their capacity
for kindness and love.
And I trust, most of all,
in the One that surrounds me.
My Lord who comes from above.

Angels — Dawn Staples

I’ve been a mom for many years
Kissing boo-boos and wiping tears
Changing diapers and learning to walk
Pushing strollers and learning to talk
Raising the neighborhood, one kid at a time
And even they weren’t all of them mine.
But, now that I’m a Mother, I don’t feel like one
I should be with my daughter out there laughing, having fun.
I feel so numb and so void inside
I want to run away and just curl up and hide –
It breaks my heart that my baby doesn’t know me.
An eight-month old girl that I’ve never gotten to see
She’s getting so big in the pictures I get,
Yet unfortunately nobody has custody yet.
And the county won’t bring her out here to the prison:
It’s not their job to provide transportation.
So, I sit and I wonder, I think and I cry.
She’s my little angel.
I can’t wait to see her fly.