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Red grunge abstract painting
Image by Jessica Hyde on iStock

they gag me
tie me down
lock me in this cage
but they still can’t silence the rage
of being chained and shipped
sold and whipped
forced to perform manual labor and stripped
of the cloth of dignity
tricked me
though I be blinded by the need for justice
when it is just this that I receive
no mercy am I shown
of flesh and bone
but it’s my soul that reaps the pain
done suffered so many losses
another corpse in waiting
lays breeding for the sake of slavery
and today I see our babies chained and carried away
to the industrial prison plantation
millions of vacant cribs that used to hold the future of our people
the percentages show that the incarceration rate is so unequal
it’s impossible to dispute that they discriminate
and the few representatives that we have in place
would rather have their face on live t.v.
than to oppose this injustice
that hinders and oppresses those who live
in these urban communities

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.

Ron O'Neal is the self-published author of "Prisoners Of Poetry." O’Neal, who writes under a pseudonym, is incarcerated in New York.