Zach, 31

Zach, 31

Zach

Meet Zach…

“When I walk, there is a grace about my stride that my clothes can’t hide.”

Zach, 31

Incarcerated: 2 years

The Black Man

I am a man. I am a black man. I am a black man transported from Africa, transformed in America. I am a black man whose roots stretch across the seas to the very land that gave birth to human-kind itself. I am a black man with a spirit and strength in my soul. When I walk, there is a grace about my stride that my clothes can’t hide. While I was building great civilizations, others were still in caves. I used complex equations and methods of construction to build pyramids to marvel. I’m a pacesetter, a record breaker, a co-creator with the creator. I performed the first successful heart surgery. I planned and designed Washington, D.C. I was the first man to set foot on the North Pole. I have scored more goals in basketball than any man in history, and I even broke Babe Ruth’s unbreakable record. I invented jazz to free my imprisoned soul. I was rappin’ before rap, and tappin’ before tap. Rhythm and Blues, I invented that too. The rhythm I received in Africa. The blues I got in America. I was forced to come to a land that was not interested in my strong body. Some tried to kill my mind with ignorance, but I became a master of survival.  I’ve been through slavery, separation, castration, miscegenation, so-called emancipation, Klu-Klux-Klanization, separate but equalization, civil rights legislation, frustration and I am still looking for complete social liberation. When I died, my tombstone read, “Free at Last, Free at Last, Thank God Almighty, I am Free at Last.” I am a black man who had to die to truly be free. I can read, I can write, I can speak and oooh can I preach. You see, I am so strong that I can afford to be weak, but so weak that I cannot afford to be without God. For I still have battles to fight in the hearts and the minds of those who would enslave me if they could. So you see, I am a BLACK MAN, but the question is, who are you? 

Spencer, 44

Spencer, 44

Spencer

Meet Spencer…

He saw cool waters gleaming, and a sweet green oasis

 

Spencer, 44

Incarcerated: 6 years

Housed: Texas Department of Criminal Justice, Hightower

 

Love’s Mirage

 

Midway upon the route, he paused a thirst

And suddenly, across the wastes of heat

He saw cool waters gleaming, and a sweet green oasis

Upon his vision burst

A tender dream, long in his bosom nursed

Spread love’s illusive venture for his feet

The barren sands changed into golden wheat

The way grew glad that late had seemed accused

She shone, the woman wonder on his soul

The garden spot for which men toil and wait

The house of rest that is each heart’s demand

But when at last he reached the gleaming goal

He found oh cruel irony of fate

But desert sun upon the desert sand

This is love’s mirage

 

Timothy, 46

Timothy, 46

Meet Timothy…

I wanted to remember my mom with good memories, and the good person she was.

Timothy, 46
Incarcerated: 27 years
Housed: San Quentin State Prison, San Quentin, CA

The Butterfly
The butterfly represents
Your beauty,
Your beauty carries love.
Don’t let nobody take your love away,
And you will always be beautiful!

Her Majestic Dignity
This poem is to honor my mom, who passed away from cancer. I was in a prison while she was dying of colon and cervical cancer. Even though she was really sick, she still didn’t want me to worry about her. She told me to make her a list and she’d send me a package, which I’d never gotten before. She told me, “Jesus had healed me.” But my sister said, “What are you thinking? She has no hair. She’s dying.” The package never came, but a dark time did. I went into solitary confinement where I was really depressed. I started doing an enhanced outpatient program and with classes and medication, I got to a better place. I wanted to remember my mom with good memories, and the good person she was. She raised four kids by herself, and she did the best she could, what was needed.

Arise, for your highness is now here.
Do favoreth honor and fear.
For her, within all purity is absolute royalty.

Excellent in appearance, such glorious beauty to behold,
Her countenance is of greater radiance than shiny gold.
The splendor of her mighty acts tell all
Her great fame and strong pride mounts up in triumph.
No soul could ever forget such a victorious name.

Her greatest grandeur
Not the ornament of her beauty compared to shiny gold.
Nor is it her majesty’s strength which is exceedingly more
Powerful in abundance being multiplied more than a hundred fold.

Nay, the glory of her greatness,
You’ve seen it a thousand times over,
tis, that true heart she possess –
for you and for me.
I call it
Her majestic dignity.

Jon, 42

Jon, 42

Meet Jon…

In a place known for death and destruction, I found life and meaning. Along the way I have found my voice and discovered my academic abilities that are now leading me towards a whole new future.

Jon, 42
Incarcerated: 6 years
Housed: San Quentin State Prison

This photo means everything to me, my mom is my biggest support, love and motivation. She lives in Mexico but comes and visits, and also brings my son. I am sharing with HoSQ to give back and hopefully share some smiles, positivity, and inspire others. Never give up! With patience and peace good things will find you. You are worth it. 

“Quentin Crumbles”

Walls crumble like hourglass sands, 

Time melts away desperate past love, 

Lost hugs of Mother, Father, Brother, Son. 

Breaking the hearts of chained memories, 

Bars hold me behind the day’s light. 

My soul free to roam in only dreams, 

Reality what can be once was will always, 

Remain hidden seeking to find meaning. 

Solar views under darkened skies, 

stars diluted in light polluted pain, 

Planets below moon beam Horizons, 

Setting mountains of hate filled minds, 

dissolving into walls of truths forgiveness, 

controlled but never held back, 

steps etched in sand filled shoes blowing through. 

Beaches of crumbled walls and broken chains

as Quentin crumbles.

I am in San Quentin somewhere I never imagined life would lead me. In a place known for death and destruction, I found life and meaning. Along the way I have found my voice and discovered my academic abilities that are now leading me towards a whole new future. I found passion in psychology and self-help. Prison gave me a chance to take inventory and change things about my life I have always been less than proud of. 

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