by Justin Beckett 

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

In the beginning we are wild and free

Being young, having a life of fun.

As we grow we learn about life,

Developing our feelings and personalities on

the life we don’t understand.

We create[e] a prison around ourselves, with the

Attitudes and anger we create[e] in ourselves.

We believe our ways are true and real,

but still down deep, we don’t know what to feel.

We continue to live in our own built paths,

runnning and running, putting on our masks.

We want to believe, but just don’t know how,

that the ways of life are not what they seem.

Some have come to realize and made the change,

and some of us, still live in our own built cage.

Blaming the world and everyone else,

not taking responsibility for our own true self.

Living life of chaos, mistakes, and destruction,

Until one day we hit rock bottom and have to

deal with repercussion.

Doing the time, some come to see,

that living our way of life, we were not free.

The pain, and guilt, and the shame,

we come to realize, we ourselves are to blame.

We learn about ourselves and what we want,

But sometimes too scared to ask for help.

The demons we have are here to haunt,

But we will not, let them taunt.

Finally, we make a choice to change our way,

having to put the past at bay.

It’s not an easy road to pave,

But day by day, we can be saved.

We learn that life is what we make it,

To understand we cannot fake it.

We have to find our inner self, we have to

change, and ask for help

It will always be a daily battle, but if we fight,

we won’t have to walk in the yard like

heards of cattle.

Giving our life a new chance to live,

We can live in freedom, and learn to give.

Being the person we were meant to be,

living a life of peace, and being free.

Challenges of life are not easy to flow,

But sticking TOGETHER,

We can learn to GROW!!