ACTION WORDS

Poetry


by Inmates
September 2008

A Friend's Testimony — Genevieve Frazier

Some needles, some drugs, some pills, and a couple of drinks
A pimp, a trick, a prostitute, and no sleep
A demand, a beating, and back to the streets
O my God, girl, you can’t get sick!
Somebody has to work those streets.
Now, you know he’s going to be angry
When the money for his fix doesn’t come in
He’ll choke you, he’ll shake you, and he’ll slap
You around. I know because he once had
Me wrapped around his finger. But
When I got older I made a choice and
I decided to leave him, and I’m doing
So much better now. And you can change your life, too.


The Reflection of Innocence — Latasha Humphries

Who?  Who caused this pain and suffering without end, pure innocence, who
and when.

As I gaze at a reflection I feel I barely know, from a child to a woman I see
this image grow,

A reflection of laughter, a reflection of peace; and yet a reflection of a
hopeless beast,

Pain rooted deep within hidden tears and soft cries, acts of rebellion seen by
blind eyes,

Cries for help fallen upon deaf ears, but hide all emotion so you can’t show
your fear,

A beautiful little girl with dreams of a brighter day; dreams shattered by a
beast that took her childhood away,

Innocence gone, the punishment for being bad – yet a naïve child still calling
him dad.

The seed has been planted for a beast to emerge; trying not to be like him,
but too close to the edge,

She once was a ripple, but now she’s the pebble in the pond, still a child herself
yet another’s innocence gone,

Bringing forth life that evil takes away, she stays strong ‘cuz she knows it’s
just a test of her faith,

Her searching for peace and love only to find pain, her family torn apart living
life insane,

Insane with emotion a lot of the time, ‘cuz what you can’t give you surely
can’t find.

What you don’t know you cannot receive, so she lives her life an emotional
thief,

Theft of herself, her joy, and her love; now living in fear, praying to God
above,

Guide me and teach me help me find my way; the innocence lost to be
regained,

As I pause to catch my breath, distorted reflections I see: pain and hurt
accepted

Now know the who? is the reflection a reflection of me!


The Damage is Done — R.H.

I want you more as a mother
But I feel you more as a friend
In my deepest times I needed you
You never held my hand

We partied all the time
But that seems to be it
When I wanted to stop using
You never helped me quit

I need you as my mother
Not just as my friend
When I tried to tell you how I felt
I felt as if you ran

I really love you mom
I just need you to see
It takes you as a mother
So that I can learn to be

The Mother I longed to have
So my children can be the best
Please get clean and be my mother
So my heart can finally rest

Running from myself
Seemed what was best to do
Didn’t want to face the pain
Of really hurting you

It’s been a long time
Since I’ve held you in my arms
I’m supposed to be the one
To keep you from all harm

But now here it is
And it’s already been a year
Since I’ve been away from you
And someone else wipes your tears

I’m living with so much guilt
And wonder what I’ve done
To let something become more important
Than being a mother to my sons

I know there’s damage done
And this is very strange to say
I know it was best for me
To turn and walk away

I didn’t want to add to
The pain that you were feeling
I was doing so much damage
By thought of killing, even stealing


To Be — R. H.

When is it time to move on
From the man who put you down
Will you hold your head up high
And stand strong on your ground

There’s got to be a way
To say I somehow will be free
Free from all the pain
That he has done to me

To be smacked around so hard
And you couldn’t even cry
He said that if he’d seen a tear
He’d make sure that I die

To be kicked in the back of the head
And even in my face
I still had never wished for him
To somehow take my place

To be choked around the neck
Until my eyes became red
I believe it was his way of love
So I remained in his bed


Butler County Jail — Dawn Staples Jones

They cage me they starve me
They break me down inside
They make me feel inhuman
‘Cause I got scared and told a lie.
But they’re all human just like me
They all tell lies too
I don’t understand, I can’t find reason
Behind the things they do.
They call me bad and a criminal
When I was wrongfully accused
But in their eyes that justifies
The ways that I’m abused.
I’m sick inside I need real help
But they don’t want to help me
I try to explain I try to tell them
But they refuse to see.
They don’t know me and the way they act
As if I die in here so be it.
They’d turn their heads and walk away
And pretend they didn’t see it.