All of the poems on this website are written by incarcerated members of Free Minds Book Club & Writing Workshop.  This blog is a valuable link to the external community and an important outlet for their voices to be heard.  Every week, we print out the comments you leave and mail them to the writers which is a huge motivator for the new poets.  Unfortunately, none of our members have internet access while in jail or federal prison, so we are not able to share your “likes” with them.  If you “like” a post, please also leave a comment on the poem!

Thank you for your encouraging words!


Constantly thinking about your love
Has my heart tied up in a knot
Because besides my family
Girl, you’re all that I got

Constantly thinking about your smile
And all the beauty in your blush
And all the love we made
After we’d argue and fuss

Constantly thinking about your style
And what makes you so unique
Constantly thinking about how being with you
Makes me feel complete

Constantly thinking about all the things
That I know were meant to be
And the most important of them all
Is the thought of you and me


If I ever had the chance
I’d fly you to the moon
Align the stars to spell your name
And say “the ring’s coming soon.”

If I ever had the chance
I’d tell you to be ready by three
Tell you we’re going somewhere special
Then take you to KFC

If I ever had the chance
I’d buy you a big bouquet
Kiss you, then whisper in your ear
That I am here to stay

See me and you
Could be something great, boo
On an island, sipping wine, eating grapefruit
Twenty stories up, in a penthouse with a great view
Anywhere you wanna go
Baby, I will take you ….

But I just need a chance


Who want to hear my thoughts?
Who want to know my pain?
To hear my thoughts you must listen to me
To know my pain you must understand me
My thoughts are home, family, and being free
My pain is being away from my family
That’s the main thing that crushes me

People want me to write poems
But it’s not easy when my thoughts are on other things
People say everything is going to be ok
But I’m the one going through it and they’re doing fine
People say I’m a good person with a good heart and mind
So why am I still doing time?
All who want to hear and know my pain…
Hurry up because it’s a long line

True Love


You’re in my thoughts, my dreams
When I open my eyes
I can’t wait to see you
Can’t wait to hear your voice
Your laughter makes my day too
We joke, we argue
But that’s just what people in love do
You’re my friend, my partner, my lover
I’m glad you’re with me until this journey is through
You make me laugh, I make you laugh
Because that’s what friends do
I hold you up, you hold me up
Because you’re my partner too
You’re my lover
You attract me and I attract you
Don’t doubt my love for a second
Because my love is true
Besides, you’re my heart
I couldn’t get rid of you if I wanted to



Upstream, upstream
I have to make it upstream!
The current is so strong
I don’t know if I can make it
I’ve been swimming so long
I don’t know how much longer my body can take it

Mentally and physically weakened
Upstream, upstream, can I make it?
I just want to be at peace
I just want to rest
Can I make it up the stream
Where there’s freedom and no distress?

Sometimes I just want to stop
And just go with the flow
I can drown to a watery tomb or float to freedom
Who will ever know?
I close my eyes as I relax
And pray for the better

Don’t give up, you’re almost there
Don’t give up!
My family and friends believe
They cheer me on!
I open my eyes and jolt forward
And push and push and push!

Upstream, upstream
I will be free
I will make it up stream!
Tough situations only last for a minute
But tough people last forever
I am forever tough
And this stream is a little obstacle
And I will hold together
Upstream, upstream
I will make it and be free of the forever!

Dedicated to Tyree, a Free Minds member who lost his life to gun violence November 8, 2013

What good is a reputation
If it demands the lives of millions of young black men and women to attain it?
Surely we have forgotten that our blood is sacred
And our youthfulness is pure
At least it was before we picked up the sword

What is the sword?
The sword is drugs, violence, money, and guns
These are the things that hold more weight in our heart than love
We are weak to the pleasures of this carnal earth
When our passion should never have ruled over our lives
Because sometimes your passion could bring misfortune to your front door

So how can our action be right when we have no rule of our lives?
Nothing can be just if acted upon without reason
What is life for such a man, but the phantom of a dream?
Maybe the truth is we are our own worst enemies
We are so concerned with people’s general opinions
When half of the generality of young men are ignorant
I mean, will it kill us to look in the mirror?
Or are we as scared of our own reflection as a groundhog is of its own shadow?

Matter of fact, I want you to close your eyes
And imagine that you are a working 25 year-old young man
I want you to imagine that you have a 7-year-old son
Who is the spitting image of you
And loves his Daddy dearly
For once in your life, smile at the fact that you are trying to better yourself

Now, open your eyes
Only to see a bloody shirt as screams echo through the air
This was Tyree (before the sword)


Violence is life
Violence comes from bad decisions
I see violence every day
It looks like a tornado
That destroys everything in its path
It smells like garbage juice; a sewer
It sounds like thunder on a quiet night
It tastes like a bitter lime
It feels like a knife going in your side
Violence lands you in here
I wish there was no such thing as violence
I will change the world
Be a good influence by spreading the message:
Violence is not the key
Violence changes lives forever


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