A purple-cast evening sky is filled with moving stars, a composite of several long exposure photographs.
Photo by Mike Lewinski on Unsplash

I told myself,
Once upon a time,
That my purpose
Is to help
Humanity
With math and rhymes
Interest picks up.
My magnetic field draws,
And gravity holds,
Like a cup,
Planets
Needing to warm their flaws.

I told myself
That someday,
Some way,
Everyone else.
This is not a display.
I read that a man
Cannot have
Two hearts,
That my soul demands
One force
For my broken parts.

I told myself
My work
Is not for others
Seeking wealth beyond health
And camaraderie,
Sisters, brothers.
So I focus in,
Blind,
To my crumbling form
As I see
Successful minds
Use my geomagnetic storms.

I told myself
I would fix me
Given the chance
But
As if by stealth
Apathy
Found a home
On my ranch.
Now it feels wrong,
Like I’m wasting
My time,
If I help
Myself too long
With math and rhymes.


I wrote this poem because I came to realize that I spent my entire life putting other opinions, other ideas, other lives before my own. I am coming to realize that it is not wrong to make sure I’m OK. I say this to say it is OK to make sure you’re OK, too. This is your life! You have the power to make your life better. You have the choice.

I remember my loved ones telling me that if I kept telling myself that I didn’t matter, I would start to believe it. They were right! So start telling yourself that you are a good person and worthy of a life of peace and love. Stay strong!

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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Mesro Dhu Rafa'a

George Coles-El, better known as Mesro Dhu Rafa’a, is a poet, writer and graffiti artist. When Mesro is not tutoring GED students and writing, he enjoys role-playing games such as “Dungeons and Dragons” and “Magic, The Gathering,” and writing science fiction and fantasy stories. During this pandemic, Mesro has completed an anthology of writings called Unsung Hero. Mesro Dhu Rafa’a is a pseudonym, which means “stand with the sun, master of the ascendants.” He is incarcerated at San Quentin State Prison in California.