by Jerrell Copeland

Poetry, Heard/Arlington County Detention Facility/OAR writing contest, August 2021

As the soul cries
within the eyes

that look through the windowpane

enslaved caged thoughts think freedom really bring better days.

To be the answer or not to be

the easy way distracts one from the question.

Helpless, time comes and tosses

those whom are doomed not to elude the catcher.

Free dumb taught by the Master

sale the Black

you know what comes after.

Father time fatherless to my kind oh what a disaster,

for he runs out not to teach the seconds that passes.

As the clock watches hour tic toc vanish

the minute we find happiness it’s banished.

Behind barbwire fences concrete cinder blocks steal bars

and doors that are locked where our loves eventually love another

brothers forget brothers and the hearts torn,

punish, crushed belong to our dear mothers.

This is Black reality

the dark life savagery
its cold in that hole where we go,

so sad to me.

Our pupils envision this is how it has to be.

23 and 1 hour or Sun do what’s right so you don’t have to live like this please.

I beg you to listen so that you may gain understanding and take heed,

a wiseman had a nightmare revealing a ghost dream.

There was a beast called the system

an vicious organism

that couldn’t exist without cells.

Have you heard of it?

It’s Jail.

Unmeasurable in size

it resides wherever there’s a mind,

even in front of our own eyes

we see it not trying to hide