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Painting on canvas of an empty prison cellblock
Illustration by Biktor B

Every day, impatiently waiting to get to my cell, No. 261, I look down from where I’m standing and see how crowded my prison unit is with inmates. Some of them are gang members, standing guard and ready to fight or defend their turf. I’m not a gang member, so I’ve always felt alone.

This routine of waiting and watching inspired me to paint this artwork. In this rendering, I chose to leave the people out. 

I wish I had a camera to take a photo. Instead, I used a canvas, two paintbrushes that I acquired because of my job as a hobby clerk, and extra paint I received from a maintenance worker. I did this illustration in about a week. It was my first time painting on canvas.

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.

Biktor B. is a writer and published poet incarcerated in California. He writes under a pen name,