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Photo by Alex Iby on Unsplash

Money, drugs, and power made me show restraint.
It blinded me and kept me from taking that leap of faith.
For years I felt my heart was in the wrong place,
Like I built a new identity
And the old one was erased.

Years of suppressing who I truly was
Kept me from happiness and appreciating who I truly love.
When I was imprisoned
I took it as a sign from above,
The Holy One’s guidance truly went from push to shove.

A clouded mind only shows rain and gloom.
When people asked me when I would change
I told them — soon.
Really, I meant never,
I was so lost I couldn’t choose.
I was so confused, even lies became the truth.
I was troubled, but does anyone pay attention to the youth?
They pass the blame to society,
But I refuse to accept their excuse.
I tell them it’s the same old story.
Why don’t you come up with something new?

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.

Gilberto Lopez is a writer incarcerated in California. He started writing poetry at age 18, when he first went to prison.