Poetry by Farah Lawal Harris

Incarceration


i desperately want freedom.
i perspire to cool myself off
from the heat of being imprisoned
by mental bars and walls.
the correctional officers are clocks
and the keys on their waists go
tic…toc…tic…toc
as they walk down D-block.

“Who we rep?!”

“Diligence…”

“Who we rep?!”

“Disappointment…”

“Who we rep?!”

“Determination…”

“Who we rep?!”

“Damnation…”

we waste away our youth in jail cells
and tattoo our dreams on ourselves
for days when we’re not feeling well
so we can look down at our skin
to remember the inspiration within.
sometimes pictures are all we have
because our commissary consists mainly of
could have, should have, and would have
which keeps our stomachs empty.

why oh why
is time working against me?
the judge gave me 15 to life and sometimes
i fear i’ll be a prisoner until
i can retire at 65.
the other day a lifer laughed at me
and said i’ll never get out
and i shook my head and smiled.
he doesn’t know that when the lights go out,
i stay up and plot my escape.
one day they’ll wake up
and i will be traveling far, far away.
i’ll shed these prison clothes
and today will be yesterday.

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3 responses

  1. Like the sounds, rhythms, and images thorought this one.

    Elizabeth

    October 24, 2008 at 1:54 pm

  2. The rythm is really nice. I know how you feel as I used to work in County Jail. Have a good weekend!

    October 24, 2008 at 2:30 pm

  3. This is an amazing poem! You have great talent. You should definitely enter the Lives In Focus Arts Competition. We’re taking submissions from those effected by a loved one’s incarceration. Here’s the link:

    http://livesinfocus.org/prison/2008/11/03/arts-competition-to-offer-prize-money-for-works-that-depict-impact-of-incarceration-on-family/

    If you know anyone else who would be interested, make sure to pass this on. Hope to see your submission soon!

    November 5, 2008 at 9:56 pm

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