By Sasha Carlisle 

Poetry, Heard/Alexandria Detention Center writing contest, August 2021


Never thought I would be grateful for jail – but –

What can I say?

I clearly see how I’ve failed

I recognize my mistakes

My life got knocc’d [knocked] off the rails

I’ve learned to channel my rage

There’s no missteps in my rage

It’s my time to be in this place

Meditation has brought growth

I finally love myself

Nature’s displaying her motions

She labors in my cell

Silence followed the storm – like –

The tropics I’ll rebuild

So I write what I know

The vision is mine to sell

Opportunity’s what I feel

Exactly where I stand

I now find it daily

Since I’ve lost all I’ve planned

My horizon at my feet

My mirage in my hands

In deserts souls deplete

Gotta move through the sand

My oasis is my work

I’d suffer if I’d sleep

Through the streets I would lurk

I’d starve and I’d feast

At least I didn’t get merked

Although I sowed what I reaped

God revealed the jerk

I no longer will be

Once this winter is over

And I stop this hibernating

The grizzly’s gonna emerge

The world’s mine for the taking

Through faith I endure

I’ll make up these days I’ve been wasting

My eyes are filled with vigor

Patience gained from frustration

Through this all we keep advancing

We will pass Satan’s tests

Been to Hell and beyond – shout out –

The homies out west

Incidental circumstances

Prove to me that I’m blessed

Considering how it could’ve gone

My life’s been its best!


Marc Williams 

Poetry, Heard/Alexandria Detention Center writing contest, August 2021


Started off social wasn’t really drinking like

Turned into a habit

Now I gotta have it

You saw you was my weakness

But you ain’t take advantage

I’ll slow sip your love and let it work its magic

I left my first addiction and ran to you

And for a minute I was juggling between the two

But your intoxacation was so strong

I felt like with you

I could do

No wrong

At my weakest point you made me feel so strong

But now you are so gone

And I’m on my own

All in my zone truly yours

My precious patron

Now let me get inside it was just me and you

I’ll drink you all night I’ll be sweatin’ when I’m through

See that’s just what you do

Put me on another level

You cater to a man make a nigga feel special

That’s why I never left you and I never would

I had a lot of problems and you always understood

And when I went to jail you waited till I got out

I took you straight to the crib and drunk you all

Through the house

Out now hmmm…

You are so gone

And I am on my own

Truly yours my precious patron

Now time rolled forward you got a lil older

I started to notice you got a lil colder

I would shrug it off like maybe I’m just tripping

Give you a lil minute then I’m right back to sipping

I was Ray Charles boo I couldn’t see the ending

You found another sipper but he don’t drink you same

He mix up with cranberry he a real lame

You say he different and I don’t wanna change

I guess all the drinking just clouded up my brain

Cuz now you are so gone

And I am on my own

Truly yours my precious patron

And sometimes I still reference you in my discussions

You left my mind stuck like a million concussions

And sometimes I hate you just for being

Wishing you was gone and I could continue breathing

Then I get to thinking like am I still in love with

You and wonder if that’s the meaning

But hey my thoughts twisted and I guess I’m still

A dreamer yes I’m still a believer

Pray for peace but keep a nina

Keep it shaking like a seizure

Tried hard to please ya

And my feelings still strong

But now I know you never know what you got till

It’s gone

Mine Still

Marc Williams

Poetry, Heard/Alexandria Detention Center writing contest, August 2021


You mine still

Sometimes I lay back and cry still

Love kills time heals and I haven’t had time to

unwind still

I mean for real you still be on my mind still

But I digress

And they say you live and you learn

and since you left I haven’t lived

The world gonna turn and for your love I will give

but yet still take

and our past dictates every decision that I make

The effect is quite prolific

And our union was explicit

And since you left I been feelin distant

Moment came but I missed it

But girl you got it

I just want peace, I don’t want problems

It’s like you gave up cuz things got tough

Either that or the love I gave you wasn’t enough

Felt the pain of your blows got the scars and it shows

And my heart’s on my sleeve and I wear it like clothes

And the pain still grows

Easy come, easy go I guess that’s how it goes

And it’s like I’m stuck in that moment and I’m froze

Icebox where my heart goes

Relationships won’t start those

Because my insecure intuition parts those

But it’s like you never missed it

Found you another but my heart’s in a prison

Waiting for you to release it

Or maybe I’m just trippin

See, the lessons that you gave me was cold to the touch

And I ain’t a quitter so I’ll never give up

You got peculiar expectations and I’ll never live up

And honestly that makes it worse

So I’m on the road to riches sexin every woman on its course

Hoping that I’m forgiven for misleading women

Offering it all and I didn’t have intentions

And I’m not blaming you it’s just one of my imperfections

And yes I have many and you thought that they were precious

And I just want to be the one that gains from my progressions

Celebrate my successes

And yes, I get the message

And naw I ain’t messy

So don’t worry about me coming for your boo and try to stretch him

Cuz you know I be the one to see slim and get to lunchin

And I know it’s not becoming

But for you the limit’s nothing.

Sweet Sacred Blackwomaness

by S. Amir Farrakhan 

Fiction, Heard/Alexandria Detention Center writing contest, August 2021

Her pulchritude stimulated my primal appetite, as I observed the arresting rhythmic gyration of her picture perfect gluteus, in her ambulation down wind, leaving her redolence in its wake, bringing to my nostrils a fragrance very familiar to my taste. She was something of a sculptural opus, that only the Almighty God could fabricate, in a spiritual realm where perfection is prominent & dominant. I ached for a closer inspection of this dynamical collection.

            Stopping before a small stream of flowing honey, in the midst of fruit trees & candied flowers watered by sweet showers, she kneeled to take a drink. I’d never witnessed such elegance of configuration enveloped in such flawless epidermis, as if she’d been dipped in a robust dark chocolate, with hair like sable stringed layers of refined silk cascading to the small of her back.

            Shifting my body to improve my angle of observance, I stepped on a twig & startled her. She stood and faced my direction. Her eyes located mine and seized them. I shuddered in embarrassment & attempted to flee, but my legs would not respond & I couldn’t take my eyes off of her.

            Her thick, well contoured lips did not move & yet I knew that it was she that I was hearing in my head. Then again, maybe it was her alluring dark eyes speaking in silent modulation, whichever I received it. She held out her hand to me & grasped it, shocked by how cool & comforting it was, its softness like unto nothing I’ve experienced, however simultaneously there was a surge of warmth that shot through my being. And with more intensity in her gaze she asked,

            “Why are you afraid of me?”

            Although I wanted to respond, my lips refused to obey.

            “Surrender your mind to your heart, stop thinking,” she said.

            I did not know how to accomplish that & as if she heard that thought, she came close to my ear. I felt her soothing breath on my ear & she wispered,

            “Yes you do. Just feel it & let go.”

            She came closer, her ebony eyes never leaving mine. As she did this, I felt an invigorating flutter of butterflies in my stomach. My legs flacid, I felt drained & yet elated. I heard beautiful R&B slow jam melodies, saw orange birds & river cousins dressed in green. There was joy & pain, strawberry snow & purple rain, when lo, all that remained, was she & I, somehow transported to a desolate place, that moments before was thriving with life, color & wonder. Now it was as if we stood in a white world from top to bottom & end to end with just us in it. She was still holding my hand.

            Placing her head on my chest, I found her aroma was sweet and smooth like an assortment of rich, expensive chocolates. She looked up at me seizing my gaze. My heart throbbing, I gently pushed her away and mustered the will to remove my gaze from hers to see all of her & found her to be a symetrical brilliance of moving parts, that were orchestrated by the omnipotent hands of my imagination & faith in my prayers & wishes. Every aspect of her was exactly the way I wanted it to be, needed it to be.

            I kneeled before her, took her hand & placed a kiss upon its palm. I looked up into her eyes, she smiled & bid me to rise & walk with her hand in hand. I heard a loud metalic sound. I opened my eyes & was greeted by the funk of a prison cell. It was all a dream.