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Early on, injury was never reported
Paving the way for a life retarded
Humanity failed to be imparted
Body, soul, spirit frustration departed
This is why I’m so ill-regarded,

As a degraded Black man demonized
Of the wrong color to be penalized
Physical, sexual abuse soon realized
Self hate bloomed, materialized
Later on injury winks at suicide,

My demise is already written
As bad choices led me to prison
Inner voices stutter in repetition
I tried but received no recognition
Maybe I’ll just give up on living.

The Stars

i look up at the stars
skylights fill empty jars
fire blazes from crashing cars
rich people inhabit mars.

i look up at the stars
from behind prison bars
with a death sentence charged
buried alive no longer at large.

i look up to the stars
trying to see how far
my mind can envision god
when angels applaud our lord.

i look up to see stars
from getting hit hard
head spins circling scars
for breaking man-made laws.

i look down at the stars
on Hollywood Boulevard
night lights appear charred
until I rest from my jog.

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.

Christopher Henriquez

Christopher Henriquez is a writer incarcerated on Death Row at San Quentin State Prison in California.