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Photo by Jens Lelie on Unsplash

I just walked out of jail,
And after 6 months of burpees
What can I say
I’m feeling well.

Job applications all turned in,
Just hoping to get called
Telling me when to begin.

Instead I get a call from the homie,
Telling me he’s on the way
To pay me back the money he owes me.

Only the fifty that he brought
Didn’t come in green bills
But instead in a crystal rock,
Just looking at it gave me the chills.

Heart beating fast
I had a decision to make.
Should I kick this fool out?
Or dive in and partake?

I grabbed the rock and turned it into smoke
Throwing out everything positive in my head,
Grabbing a gun and looking for broke.

Now I’m back in the county jail
Getting my picture taken,
While mentally preparing for that cell.

I thought I’d never return,
This time lasting 64 days
But through my decision I’m back,
Reminded again that crime never pays.

Author’s note: Thinking back to every time I have come back to prison, there was always that one bad decision, big or small, that facilitated the worse ones to follow. I don’t remember ever getting released from jail or prison with the intention of going back; yet after turning 18, I have never been out in society more than three months at a time.

Everyone in here who has ever tried to “make it” out there has at least one story similar to the one in this poem. Now, I’m in no way making excuses for myself, or anybody else for that matter. What I am trying to do is point out that you can want to succeed in society, but without the tools and understanding it is merely impossible. Life will always throw you obstacles, which is a given; but it is those decisions that we make that allow us to overcome them.

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.

Fabian Garcia is a poet who uses writing to express his feelings and share his story. His first poetry book is expected to be published in January 2022. He is incarcerated in California.