Sharing our Poetry with Voices Unbarred and The Justice Arts Coalition

We created a little magic with Voices Unbarred and The Justice Arts Coalition! First, allow us to introduce our friends: Voices Unbarred is a nonprofit theater company whose actors were all once incarcerated. Lori Pitts created this amazing nonprofit, and will perform double duty in January as their founder and as the Artistic Director of the Ally Theatre Company. In October and November of 2021, Voices Unbarred actors read and performed at events hosted by The Justice Arts Coalition, run by the amazing Wendy Jason, throughout greater Washington.

We were thrilled when we contacted Lori and she asked us to send some of our favorite poems for the Voices Unbarred actors to read. It was hard to choose among all of the great poetry on our site, and eventually we sent “I Cry“, “Tough Love,” and “Untitled” – all prize winners written by authors from the Alexandria Adult Detention Center and the Arlington County Detention Facility.

Lori was gracious enough to share these photos with us, and we want to share them with you.

On the left, actors perform during the “We Belong Here: Reclaiming Space through Art” event on October 24 at Rhizome DC.

On the right, Lori and four Voices Unbarred actors strike a pose during The Justice Arts Coalition’s “Incarceration and Creation: Art as a Human Need” on November 6 at the Sandy Spring Museum.

This is not the last time you will hear from us working together to help the formerly and currently incarcerated be heard…stay tuned!

I Cry

By Anthony Talbert 

First place, poetry, Heard/Alexandria Detention Center writing contest, August 2021


Some cry when things seem to whirl wind out of control

Or cry when they want to be held,

But there’s no one to hold.

Growing up I was told that the eyes are the windows to

The soul.

So I cry to cleanse my soul of all the torment it


I cry for that man doing time because another man told.

I cry for that bronze complexioned sister who doesn’t

Realize that her body is gold.

..I cry..

I cry for the victims of nine-eleven.

And I cry for those Bishops, Priests, and Reverends who just can’t

To keep their hands off of those little boys who are

Nine, ten and eleven.

I cry for the homeless who endure winter nights.

And I cry for those who refuse to walk with their heads

Held high because they are afraid of heights.

I cry for those who are looked over because of a felony


Or those of you battling addiction,

Or that abused child who is scarred with afflictions.

I cry for that bastard handing out a million years all because

He’s in a position

To judge.

But one day he too will be judged.

I even cry for that gay population who is judged.

And I cry for Jesus because,

Not only did he cry, but

He died because he was judged.

I cry for you because I was once you.

A man who is too cool to cry for me too.