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Photo by Edrin Spahiu on Unsplash

State prison, where all inmate faces lack emotion,
and medicated bodies move in slow motion, a place
where your name is just a number, and your CDC
ID is your plot; honor and respect is all you got,
sentenced to twenty years to rot; sensory deprivation
a prison within a prison. Insanity inspires
my creative poetry vision, life in prison a chaotic
scream, please wake me up from this horrible dream!
I’m not going to give in, but I was sentenced to die,
if I wasn’t a grown man I’d surely cry. State prison
where anything on the yard goes. There’s no we or us,
and you can’t misplace your trust in anybody. God
please release me from all this pain, because I’m always
shackled and chained. I know you come to me in prayer
to set me free, to help me be the good boy you want to see.
I’m not me; in prison I’m trapped and tormented,
myself I even hide in my cell lying dormant —
just like the outside, my heart even has walls. God,
while I’m living in state prison, do your work
upon my soul, build it up and make me whole, I
give you all control. As I dwell in the great unknown,
fluid, beautiful and prison-free, ecstatic just to be
alive among the planets and the stars, ocean waves
and the sea, for I’m unbound by chains, eternal and free …

Disclaimer: The views in this article are those of the author. Global Forum Online has verified the writer’s identity and basic facts such as the names of institutions mentioned.

King Gilliand is a poet incarcerated in California.