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Photo by Tingey Injury Law Firm on Unsplash

The opportunity presented itself
so I looked justice in the face
took notice how she wears a blindfold
so really then
tell me
what is America built on
if it’s not that Confederate flag
from the inside looking out
I see America as a divided nation
as it sits in the hands of mayhem and death
Racism has been woken from its grave
though it wasn’t really ever sleeping
fooling those
who assumed it was buried
it’s always been alive and still breathing
unlike Breonna Taylor
murdered by the police
eight shots in her own home
with no arrest or conviction to this day
How badly I wish
that we could tear racism down
like they done those
Confederate statues and flags
1 John 5:19 reads
We know that we originated with God
but the whole world is lying in the power
of the wicked one
I see eyes, faces, and faint smiles amongst me
casualties of the system
That’ll never see home again
where hugs could only be given on a visit
but who’s more deserving
A chile
for the innocence of not knowing his father
His woman
who gets it out the mud
just to support her man
and his jailhouse habits
or his mother
who’s always in tears
Sitting at her bedside and kitchen table
Day in and day out talking to God
praying for the soul of her child
Making it
I gotta
The strongest part of me metaphorically
are my legs for keeping me up
Dialoguing wit my nephews Lex and Dez
Letting them know that here
In this small cubicle prison box
Your word means everything
building you up
or tearing down who you are
I’m forever
pouring something in their cups
trying to keep ‘em on the narrow and straight
so huge is America
yet so petty at a high
Is its volume of racism
Making it hard to see the truth
in the eyes of justice
cause the ones killing us
are the ones supposed to be protecting us
I can’t breathe
echo the voices of
Elijah McClain and George Floyd
in every American standing for
Black Lives Matter
And against police brutality,
we weren’t the ones that made this bed
of racial injustice
but if we’re forced to lay in it
I hear down in Baton Rouge
they dabble in spells and potions
so let us go down to Louisiana then
and have Nat Turner conjured up
or the charismatic voice of
Fred Hampton
If these streets are to run in blood
then no longer will it just be ours
We’ve turned too many cheeks
Nurturing myself back to health
I licked my own wounds
A different man than I once was
having morals and etiquettes
that stand for something
sipping on metaphors
spitting spoken pieces
hoping to catch the ear of a listener
to help remove this blindfold
from the eyes of justice
to see this war on racism
before we really tear this bitch up…

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.

Sweet is an African-American writer from the Midwest, currently incarcerated in Oregon. He was inspired by poetry, word play and metaphors at an early age but only started crafting his writing in prison.