Photo by Eddie Herena
Photo by Eddie Herena

Some days I can’t stand to look in the mirror
Tryin’ daily to find relief through written scripture
Even though the melanin in my skin tells me I’m built to win
This battle within
And what about where the desires truly lie
Or could the lies ingested on the inside be a personification of self hate injected by the media?That today, yeah today — is a good day
only if it’s brought to you by Coca-Cola
seems to me
everything’s a marketing scheme
maybe even me

I’m just hoping you buy in
into this intelligent introvert 
a heaven sent martyr
with the ability to people please
or is that only when the people are pleasing to me

Welcome to my world
where imperfections are systematically picked at for the purpose of identifying the why
why we stop pushin’ for
the why we stop fighting for 
the why we on this earth for
to take up space?
I doubt that’s it 
Remember Jim Crow and segregation
Remember the back of the bus 
Remember civil and human rights 
REMEMBER!

I guess we forgot
or got cool with what we got 
or was that a given? A given to pacify the times, not realizing we barely scraped by
As for me 
enough is enough! 
I refuse to sit down or stay down 
I understand that generations follow after me. We got enough robots and workers 
So I’m the sacrifice
Cause I want my babies proud of me 
So their babies proud of them 

But understand this
the armor of the most high upon this son, so through my walk 
this life light will be what my children mirror 
And in their reflection, the hate I proclaimed earlier will be released 

So I guess this is a mirror no one sees 
the tormented soul of a man 
within a man 
breaking foundation for the future man to present himself and you can say he’s been here the
whole time
right here in the heart and mind’s eye
waiting for the other to step aside. 
Blessings from the most high.

 
Disclaimer: The views in this article are those of the author. The Prison Journalism Project has verified the writer’s identity and basic facts such as the names of institutions mentioned. The work is lightly edited but has not been otherwise fact-checked.

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Steve Warren

Steve Warren is a writer incarcerated at San Quentin State Prison in California. He is the father of two daughters, and outside of prison, he worked as an electrician in IBEW Local 340 in Sacramento. He said he was the product of a dysfunctional family upbringing, but he has chosen to change himself and dedicate his life to helping people. Steven hopes his writing paints a better picture of people who are labeled violent.