Poem from the <3 Heart by myself - Balance of Life

by Thomas Carlos Felder, Jr.

Poetry, Arlington County Detention Facility/Heard/OAR writing contest, August 2022


They see balance and they want to challenge or damage.

Thy heart <3 wants thy mind can’t percieve,

Bring in this state of pandemic a lot

of people run off envy and greed.

Our children look up to us

To balance their lives,

but from sitting in a 4×6 cell,

They can’t see how much we cry.

A true balance of life metaphoricly speaking

sometimes our heart <3 will die within.

We all miss our kin

Sometimes we have to tell our children,

beautiful lies to keep them happy inside.

Once is all it takes to upsetting thier normal lives,

That’s why it’s a must to have balance of life! 😊




A Black Boy Born the Fall of 1980, What is Blackness

A Black Boy Born the Fall of 1980, What is Blackness

Aaron Connelley

Heard/Arlington County Detention Facility writing contest, August 2019

A proud influence and example of success gained was right in front of me the whole time, Blackness.

The Contrast of a Gold Nugget Watch against Midnight black skin

was a silent way to say I’m Proud

even though times for me have been trying.

The Black suit work to work

The Polished dress shoes

The Pride earned from years of hard investments

The limousine drove for a successful thriving Black Owned Business

For me to Embrace a Culture which has produced

Generation to Generation of Strength by

Standing on Faith and the Strong Willpower of Black Men/Women

with tight jaws facing injustices, that smile even though,

is my pain misunderstood also silent.

A lot has been unsaid.

Schools filtered what about my Blackface,

the sufferage, the Family dynamic that was disrupted and broken

enslaved never to be set Free

also to be Equal given a fair change after Emancipation.

No one wanted to explain the reason I was found in a common law adoption

probably never to know of the Lands of Ancestors originated.

The truth that they were brought Literally to an adopted Land themselves.

The Gold bracelet that was worn on the right wrist

A picture, Black & White of a Mother and Father posing side by side unsmiling.

Their chocolate skin draped in the nicest dress wear

A Black couple could obtain in the year, 1912

A Dollar Bill Enclosed inside the frame below

Serious melancholy Faces which sat atop a Bookshelf

Inside the zen inside our home

A lighter Hue my own complexion told Another secret.

Never, was I told I was weaker or that success couldn’t be mine.

This Ethnicity I Embrace, my Blackness

For all the unknown Silent messages

my immaturity wouldn’t allow the communication

from one Generation to the next did I miss a lesson, yes.

While I grow with interest for coming Generations

kissed with a Blackface,

concerned because the struggles will be real,

beginning to Erase ignorance within myself I too must pass on

A Silent message through action and example

Rather than not tell colored babies about their Black History,

Strengthen their knowledge about the Building Blocks

which from visions formed

the Pyramids in Africa

to the design of stones used to create the Washington Monuments

created within Black and Proud Minds

Rather than hold back because of Pain or Hurt.

Let’s empower the strength the Negro Skin exemplifies.

The Sacrifices, the torn Backs, the inequalities, the non-violent movements

in time against a Profound ignorance,

the stands took, the sit downs to disrupt injustice

was the Silent Cry in the Eyes of A Black Proud Man

right in front of me the whole time,


I Ask that you Smile knowing the Silent message has been discovered…