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A man's hand writing with a pen into a notebook
Photo by joaoscarceus on iStock

As a white man, you know privilege

As a gay man, you know pride

As a felon, you know prejudice

As a sex offender, you know hatred

As a human being, you know conflict
     unconditional love
     universal loathing
     risking trust
     fear of rejection
     sorrow of separation
     joy at redemption
     gift of being chosen
     peaceful nights
     distrustful interactions
     empathetic support
     blessed touch
     emotional dramas
     racing thoughts
     isolation and segregation
     connection with others’ pain
     being heard and understood

As a writer, you know words…

Write as if your life depends on it.

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.

Matthew Feeney is a writer and poet who has won awards from PEN America and the League of Minnesota Poets. Feeney's writing has appeared in journals and anthologies, including The Analog Sea Review, The Pinyon Review, and Evening Street Review. Three of his poems were performed live at the 2019 World Voices Festival in New York City. Feeney is incarcerated in Minnesota.