The Last Bus

by Rodney Johnson

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

Lord I can’t feel my feet!

One more block till I get to this seat.

Lord I can’t feel my feet!

I’m still thinkin what will I eat

As I walk down this street

Lord I can’t feel my feet!

I finally made it to this bench to have a seat

Lord I can’t feel my feet!

I sure hope this last bus has some heat.

I wish things were different in my life

So many thoughts.

Lord I can’t feel my feet!

I have so many bags around my feet to keep in the heat.

Lord I can’t feel my feet!

I wonder how much time is left,

I really need some food to eat.

Lord I can’t feel my feet!

I think I better ask this person walking by

can they help me get a bite to eat.

Lord I can’t feel my feet!

I want to take my bag off my back

I have to unhook this strap

I’m just to cold and weak.

Lord I can’t feel my feet!

This must be for me

Let me get up for he roll pass me

I hold out my hand so he won’t miss me

As I want for my face to intake this heat.

Lord I can’t feel my feet!

I made the last bus so cold hungry and weak,

I wonder where this will land me as I sit on this last seat

I sit at the back of this bus thinking about the last stop saying,

Lord I can’t feel my feet.

Generation, Incarceration – Anticipation

by Horace Williams 

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

My first time of incarceration started in 1979

Back then it was such a different time

And considering where I am today

Should have been enough to make stay away

Please be advised that my age is 69

While a good conversation is so hard to find

Feel like I’m lost in a capsule of time

Young men pants below there waist trying to

Feel their shrine

7A was my first unit in proven ground

Cocaine & heroin still in my system please let

me go lay down

My C.R.U. She’Ro appeared and set me down

Man – this may direct me to my cap & gown

Work shops & group programs gave me a edge

Dome how some days I miss my Bed

Generation, Incarceration Anticipation

Whether its Jews, Spanish, African – Ethiopian

Young men chewing that fat – and I hear is

Nigga Dis & Nigga Dat

Now these young men seem to have created a bond

This is what the Rap Music Industry spit out

and called a song

I share in the groups hoping these young men will

feel my shame

Hopefully when group is over they will feel my


After 39 months here I’m finally walking down

this number

Shall I say say thank you God fore there were

days I wonder

Yall know I’m old enough to become a A.A.R.P


Hopefully I’m release in the month of December


by Betsy Stewart 

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

I spent each day just searching for my purpose here in life

and still i could not find a reason to survive.

I struggled through my childhood without a loyal friend,

And every broken heart just [n]ever seemed to mend.

My parents didn’t have time to tell me they cared,

They never came to comfort me those nights when i was scared.

They told me to toughen up an’ don’t cry,

All i want to do is break down an’ just ask them why.

Soon my life fell apart,

All i wanted was there heart.

they couldn’t understand.

I turned to anything that could numb and bury all of my pain.

When my glass felt empty,

I’d fill it up again.

Over the years I drifted through many different towns.

Longing to find something to turn my life around.

I spent many nights alone, cold, hungry, and ashamed.

Desperate to find a warm place to stay.

As I lay on the concrete steps of a church to get some rest,

I felt the presence of someone gently kicking at my feet.

As i open my eyes a stranger stood and smiled.

I brought you something to drink

You’ve been sleeping for quite awhile.

He reached a sturdy hand to me an’ helped me to my feet.

I thanked him for his kindness an’ my heart began to weep.

This stranger gave me so much more than a drink to quench my thirst.

He taught me compassion and the value of self-worth.

From that day on, I grew to love those concrete steps much more.

For one day as I reached the top, I opened the door.

I held on to my tattered coat in hand and searched to find a pew.

I heard the voice of someone saying there is a seat right here for you.

For on that day my life began

an’ soon would understand

that even though i’ve made mistakes I was still worthy,

An’ this will always be my story.

This church Became my loyal friend,

the home I never knew!

I will always now have HOPE!