Original submission by the author

You are not better than me, I fight hard for my humanity,
You think you better than me, you look down on me, but I know my humanity
The state empowers you to torture me
belittle me in the name of pence
relentless and ambitious living off my misery
but you are not better than me
I know the humanity that resides in me.
My past wrongs are my nightmares, but do you help or am I just a notch in your belt
paraded in front of society that you have to trap the monster
playing magician telling the crowd to watch
You make my soul disappear along with their fears as they stare at me in a cage as an exhibit, but your not better than me, I know my humanity

As I stare back I see who’s the one trap
incarcerated in their lies, a life unfulfilled
my rebellion was my humanity, my fall from grace was because I was living in society insanity, greed and vanity
as a overseer you always believe it’s humane to break the slave
legislate me into criminality to deny my humanity
batter me in psychology
Of your mockery because no matter how much you beat me verbally, socially, virtually I will hold my humanity
censor my humanity

I learned from you war is peace
For sanity I write me free
The more I watch you I see the truth of your diabolical roots
Fruits of your ancestors masquerade in so-called supremacy
Guarding me in your new plantations called penitentiary
My flaws you use to paint me the boogeyman
The new economic plan to empower your low class
Was that why my people were not allowed to read to plant the seed of my rebellion
A Black stallion, who better not buck
Your senility will not conquer my humanity even if it means the death of me to be finally free in my God given humanity.

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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Marcus "Wali" Henderson

Marcus "Wali" Henderson is an editorial associate for the Prison Journalism Project and the editor-in-chief of San Quentin News. Marcus has said he never thought he would find more to his life than just doing time. The day he arrived at San Quentin State Prison, his old cellmate asked him to help cover a baseball game in which the prisoners were playing a team from outside. When the cellmate told Marcus to interview these people, his mouth dried up, and he realized he hadn't talked with anybody besides prisoners and guards for more than 15 years. That was his introduction as a reporter.