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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.

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.