Photo by Aaron Burden on Unsplash

A lonely man sits
At a desk full of papers,
Thousands of words
Trapped between lines.
He wonders, “Why?
Why do I write? 
When I die, 
Will these words die with me? 
Is there any point 
In writing these lonely words?
Will they be remembered
When they turn to dust? 
Do I write for you,
The reader? 
Or am I simply
Writing these words for myself? 
These piles of paper,
A collection of thoughts.
Who will understand? 
Does it matter? 
As long as I live,
I will spill these thoughts
With a dull pencil,
Until the time comes
When I will be 
Just a memory.
But my thoughts 
Will live on paper,
An echo of me.”

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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Ian Shaw

Ian Shaw is a writer of morbid/horror poetry and short stories and is currently working on self-publishing a collection of his writings. He is incarcerated at California Rehabilitation Center in Norco, Calif., and is publishing under a pen name because he feels that his incarceration hurts his chances of being a successful writer.