Photo by Road Trip with Raj on Unsplash

Externally, I appear to be
A leader of those, whom God has placed
Near to me 
But upon closer inspection 
With your own eyes you’ll bear witness, I lack direction
See, inside these impenetrable walls
Of my stubborn mind
Lies a way of thinking
So narrow and defined
With a singleness of purpose, I seek to find
New ways to solidify my demise
My thoughts have held me captive 
My actions shape reality
A prisoner of my mentality 
On my knees I beg, I plead
Lord!, won’t you come set me free?
I never think the thoughts I should 
Neglecting those who wish me good 
A prisoner of my own mind
And unless I change, Then here I’ll die
Nevertheless all hope is never lost 
If I change my thoughts, I’ll break these walls 

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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Manuel Pagan Jr.

Manuel Pagan Jr. is a writer incarcerated at State Correctional Institution Fayette in LaBelle, Pa. He is the father of four amazing kids and a passionate musician. His music can be found on Apple Music and other online platforms under his artist name “Zona.”