Beyond These Walls

Beyond These Walls

by VE

 Heard/Arlington County Detention Center/OAR writing contest, August 2020

Beyond these walls lies love that envigerates the soul and peace that surpasses all understanding.

Second chances to the once broken and incarcerated men an opportunity at redemption,

another chance to choose right from wrong in the midst of temptation

desperately urning for instant gratification.

Beyond these walls millions of people are held captive,

metaphorically they are prisoners like us but yet free without these walls.

Though we are trapped physically they are prisoners

psychologically, emotionally and spiritually to

circumstances, society’s standards, family expectations, relationships that clearly states red flags DNR, do not resistate, greed, narsacism, materialistic objects.

The need to out do others, living above their means to keep up the Joneses,

spending money that they haven’t yet earned,

perpetually cycling this vicious cycle of accumulating debt.

Addition to social media likes masking pain entertwined with pleasure and reciprocity,

fear to take risks, working jobs that they are overworked under appreciated and underpaid.

Systematically we are programed to spend one third of our lives working for different companies investing in acquiring capital gain for the companies,

thus we are restricted or time to work on creating our own businesses or companies to gain fanancial freedom.

Give them just enough to survive, but not enough to prosper,

so they’d live paycheck to paycheck and acrude debt.

So theoretically were all doing time

weather it be psycially, pschologically, emotionally or spiritually.

Beyond these walls comparison is the thief of joy and the cousin to misery.

Beyond these walls achieving anything you want is 99% intentional and 1% mythology.

The greatest moment of achieving success most would think it is the actual moment of attaining success

but in all actuality the greatest moment is when we decide.

Every Fortune 500 company or wealthy individual all began with an idea which ultimately transmutated to financial independence.

Beyond these walls if you don’t plan appropriately your asking for a disaster.

Be willing to allow changes to occur that are not what you invisioned your exact finish to look like.

Beyond these walls you don’t have to get it perfect, you just have to get it started.

Beyond these walls choose the habits of successful people if you want to be successful and choose the habits of happy people if you want to be happy.

The only things that satisfies the soul are gratitude and love.

Beyond these walls your destiny awaits you, the impossible is obselite,

their are 24 hours in a day which equals 86,400 seconds,

a week equates 168 hours the eqivilant of 604,800 seconds,

one month equals 2,419,200 seconds and

31,536,000 seconds in a year

but it all starts from within these walls.

Make every second count and what we do with it within these walls

will determine what and whom we become beyond these walls

Drawing by Herman McDonald, inspired by VE’s poem “Beyond These Walls”

Clean, Laugh, and Pray

Clean, Laugh, and Pray

by Aaron Bunche

Heard/Arlington County Detention Center/OAR writing contest, August 2020

I am convinced, with a zeal of a crusader, that I’m in the safest place, a twelve by four cell. I’m a recovering addict addicted to Fox News, and I fear knowone but God. For I have with me the whole armor for germs. I have on my gloves of laytex, my mask which is the preparation for the virus, and a bar of soap and water which is sharper than any two-edge sword; may you find yours today.

I have my own swag, I wear nothing but clean. If you want what I got on then you gotta pick it up at the showers. I’m a year sober from narcotics but I picked up a mean habit of washing my hands. I told the nurse my issue, she showed me tough love, she said “you’ll live.”

My hobbies are mopping my cell and scrubbing down my toilet and sink, but on the seventh day I rest. I can say then that my quarters were pleasing in my sight.

For sport I watch Trump reflect and dodge questions during briefings; if you say he won’t make the championship then you decieve yourself and reality may have passed you by.

On my shelf I keep many books. I have literature on the respiratory system to pass the time. I read articiles about how the Caronavirus swept Rome. I practice distance-learning, I stand exactly six feet away from the television as I watch the forcast’s temperatures decline like our stock market.

I look out not only for my own interests, but also for the interests of my mother. She would always tell me “submit to God, resist the devil and he will flee. I’ll tell her “commit to using hand sanitizer, resist touching your face and you will live.” For this is the victory that will overcome the virus—stay home.

Also, bless those who are not cautious like you, and pray for those who spitefully go out and about. What profit is it to man if he goes out to gain income, and looses his health and dies.

I have no vociferous rebellion to the state law anymore. When I leave this safe place, I press on towards the next safe haven, my home. Once I make it there I can truly say, I have fought the good fight, I am home and safe, I have kept the faith.

I Am

I Am

by Derrick Barnes

 Heard/Arlington County Detention Center/OAR writing contest, August, 2020

I am a colorful bowl of experiences and

A mosh pit of circumstances

A cosmic collission of parents and a micro drop

Of seemen defined

I feel no one should be able to judge me because

I’ve walked alone through time

I have been shown that remnants of ancestors

Coated the pedals of eternity on this earthly


My existential knowledge has many of those

Who don’t understand me thinking I’m completely


But I would venture that none would be willing

To carry the water of my life’s pain

I was never alone in the realm of physical


But my deamons were real and shielded me from

God’s grace

I am a firing of synapses that have awaken

Electrons trapped in my mind

A simple realization of abandonment in hopes

Of the sublime

I’m a singular organism bound by my environmental


Filtered by worldly renditions guided by

DNA preminition

My so called memory of ideals that are

Encased in predetermined events as destiny

Had molded me

I am a zygote by identity, an embryo by

Determination, a fetus by choice, a boy

By birth, and a prisoner by a mistake

But yet I am still Human