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A shadow of a bird in a cage is cast on a wall.
Photo by Cristian Siallagan on Unsplash

Aren’t we all born
non cognizant,
with no preconceptions,
with our destinies
by anything
but experience?

Isn’t it simple
cause and effect
that laid the path
to these prisons,
absorbed in a plight,
that which the writer writes:
the structural arrangements?

An identity
non white,
the below-the-surface cause
of mass incarceration
that decimated
an entire
aimed at those
to whom poverty
is akin,
and the worse part
about it is …
they did it to kids.

Sentences handed over
were gratuitous
while white supremacists
grew hubris,
for the system is so keen
by controlling the images on the
TV screen,
to make it seem
we live in an equal opportunity

Yet it’s divided
into classes,
races and ethnicities,
so we’re trained to
see the crime
rather than the adversity.
They divert
the attention
from the under-funded
drug addictions
and childhood scars.
They aim for the heart
and control the narrative.
These motha* think
it’s inherited,
but isn’t it our minds
that are
caged, locked within
a cycle of perpetuating pain?

reasons why
why the
stays high
why our communities
are plagued with crime
why those same
communities are mere confines,
resembling a prison,
that cater to the division.

We’re talking about the hundred thousands
in prison because they had
no direction, no vision,
cause the tiny box,
in which revolves the thought,
inside which lies the plot!
So what does reformation mean
when we’re stuck within the
belly of the beast
whether caged or free?

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.

Peter Sierra is a writer who is determined to change his life, provide a voice to the voiceless and address issues around incarceration. He has published a poetry book called “Walking Metaphors,” and he’s currently working on a novel about incarceration. He is incarcerated in California.