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Original artwork by Mark Cumbess.

Dear Black men,
Your life is absent,
your presence is already forgotten.
Prison solitude is what California has to offer you.
The life you hope to live is only for a chosen few,
oppressed and hung
I can see the souls in incarcerated Black men who died of Covid,
Amiss in the morning dew,
dark grapes that bleed on rainy days,
look at the burning face of a modern day slave,
a concrete slave ship slave.
Soon LA county courts will have more to hang.
We hate your Black skin,
we hate the air you breath,
but we “love” your women.
You don’t need an almanac to see who is the endangered species.

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.

Mark Cumbess is a writer and political artist incarcerated in California.