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Line drawing of birds flying away from hand holding a pen
Photo illustration by Teresa Tauchi (Source: Depositphotos)

I didn’t cry at my birth; I entered the universe in silence.
I wasn’t born in a cage, yet a slave enraged by violence.
I didn’t understand my creator’s plan. I yearned for my mother’s hand,
Yet that hand smacked me back to the motherland.
I’m a blood diamond; my life came at a price.
The debt was paid by Nazareth; now I’m living twice!
Harriet Tubman speaks from the depths of my soul:
“Pharaoh, overseer, correctional officer, let my people go!”
Nat Turner picked up the gun and showed me the way;
In silence I obeyed.
He said, “In order to free your mind, you mustn’t be afraid.”
Who said I was afraid? I’m ready to die.
Frederick Douglas chimed in, saying, “You’re afraid to ask why?”
Asking why made me wise; it opened my eyes.
Now the devil wants my soul because I finally realize:
The key to liberation is found in a pen …
While I remain silent, the revolution is televised from within.

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.

Brandon J. Baker is a writer incarcerated in California. He is pursuing writing and public speaking as a way to make amends.