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Photo by Ken Cheung via Unsplash

I look up to the stars, only see the sky falling,
I listen in my mind, and I hear wind calling:

Awake to realize,
It was my dreams telling lies
Oh, how I agonize

I slip into despair —
For these eyes have not seen stars,
In how many years?

Tears build up,
Fears fill up,
My mind
Will I ever have my time?

Will I ever be able to live these thoughts in freedom,
Behind steel doors is where they tell me I belong,
Along with leg shackles and handcuffs.

“To help me right my wrongs,”
Shock therapy, systematic abuse,
To make sure they keep it in my mind.
That I will never be of use,
Freedom, it’s a constant struggle.

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.

Mwalimu Shakur is a writer incarcerated in California. He writes under a pen name.