Photo by  Cooper Baumgartner  via Unsplash
Photo by Cooper Baumgartner via Unsplash

I need a reprieve.
The world is illness and violence.
I can’t breathe.

The news is full of dead received.
Test sites are stop-and-frisk with medical science.
I need a reprieve.

Prisons need to be relieved,
but Governors refuse to get in compliance.
I can’t breathe.

Police have found new places for their knees,
Storming ghettos like military giants.
I need a reprieve.

Rallies and gatherings where more cases retrieved
Because masks are ignored in defiance.
I can’t breathe.

Systemic racism and police brutality never believed,
even when filmed on a smartphone appliance.
I need a reprieve.

I can’t breathe.

Disclaimer: The views in this article are those of the author. Prison Journalism Project has verified the writer’s identity and basic facts such as the names of institutions mentioned.

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Mesro Dhu Rafa'a

George Coles-El, better known as Mesro Dhu Rafa’a, is a contributing poet for Prison Journalism Project, who is also a writer and graffiti artist. When Mesro is not tutoring GED students and writing, he enjoys role-playing games such as “Dungeons and Dragons” and “Magic, The Gathering,” and writing science fiction and fantasy stories. During this pandemic, Mesro has completed an anthology of writings called Unsung Hero. Mesro Dhu Rafa’a is a pseudonym, which means “stand with the sun, master of the ascendants.” He is incarcerated at San Quentin State Prison in California.