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Echoes of a distant summer
twenty some odd year before
images of what could have been
done differently.
But the regrets of time
are a temporal place
designed to trap the dreamers
and reality is a cold embrace
that is held closer than the storm
that rages within.
Plantation-Pyramid, Prison-Project
envisioning, histories past
and times present.
Slave-Master, Asante-Fante,
wars where we enslaved ourselves,
enslaved ourselves; to a ships hull
across the Atlantic.
From a Gold’s Coast,
to a Cold’s Coast, long before
the encore of language was eviscerated.
No longer does he recognize his brother
unable to comprehend the tongue
of her mother.
Colonial distance and conquered space
have plagued a providence sacred
and serene into nothingness.
Only a mocking irony of the fate
of the dispossessed,
where appropriated scholars debate
and mine for the mind’s obscurest truth;
and for now, lies lye like seeds sown
in the field as far as the third I can see
and calloused hands fondle hardened hearts
to escape dystopia.
No Tubman’s, Brown’s, Turner’s, Truth’s.
So we Sojourn a millennia
searching in vain for a vein
to lead us back.
Before Heroin, Crack, before the whip
that whistled with its whining crack,
across scarred tissue.
And a pound of flesh is the price
when inspections at auctions
issue deeds of ownership.
An American’s most inherent right: Property. 

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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Sheldon P. Johnson

Sheldon P. Johnson is a writer incarcerated in New York. He is a graduate of the Cornell Prison Education Program, a member of the Phoenix Players Theatre Group and a contributor to Prison Writers.