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A series of graffiti-covered arches inside a dilapidated Philadelphia building.
Photo by Ashim D’Silva on Unsplash

Times are treacherous & absolutely unforgiving,
our ways are erratic with a torrid way of living.
Nature struggles to survive man’s hands,
order has bowed out gracefully while chaos still stands.
The thought that “love hurts” is so embedded in our brain,
we have become hesitant to trust for fear of pain.
Our grandparents passed, our parents tired, our children lost,
l woke from America’s dream because I couldn’t pay the cost.
Congregations are misled & misguided by pastors & preachers,
we cut funding to programs & refuse to pay our teachers.
Even with a degree, students struggle to find occupations,
we have poor education compared to many other nations.
Instead of rehabilitating them, we incarcerate our youth,
we rely on TV, news & social media as valid sources of truth.
Taxes, inflation & the cost of living are impossible to avoid,
our seniors can’t retire, they must remain employed.
Politics are corrupt & politicians are underhanded,
this nation has more inmates than cattle being hogtied & branded.
Officers & soldiers are ordered to kill innocent civilians,
crime, addiction, disease & famine claim the lives of millions.
The sky is full of poison that rains down acid,
we embrace turmoil & avoid what’s peaceful & placid.
We chop down trees & fail to provide their protection,
what fire doesn’t destroy suffers from various fungal infections.
The Earth is angered & the winds blow so violent,
life is so desolate & death is voiceless & silent.
Our oceans & waters are surely severely tainted,
“THE PORTRAIT OF NOW” is surely poorly painted.

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.

Charles Mooney is a poet incarcerated in California.