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Water treatment plant in Flint, Michigan
Photo by ehrlif on Depositphotos

The water stinks —
it smells like bleach and other chemicals.
Maybe it's filled with lead
to poison the brains of intellectuals.
How could these facilities be
rehabilitative or correctional?
On the outside looking in,
people may ask, how could I think it?
But ask the administrators why
they inform their employees not to drink it.
This water wasn’t designed for them,
not for the people perceived as decent;
it was recycled in a system
that could legally kill a delinquent.
Forced to drink water that leaves corrosive stains on my cup —
if that’s what it does to plastic,
then what in the world is it doing to us?
Water is supposed to flush out waste,
not replace it with more waste
and toxic chemicals you can taste,
knowing logically this can’t be safe.
If the government overlooked Flint, Michigan’s citizens,
who in the world will take our case?
In a prison population where 77%
have a real Black face,
knowing the United States of America
has a real bad trace
of labeling and victimizing the stigmatized,
then conspiring false reports
to cover their white-collared lies
told by a bunch of social engineers
committing white-collared crimes,
drinking their Deer Park water
while we’re in this motherfucker dying
from ill-filtered water.

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.

Jamil Ruffin is a poet incarcerated in Maryland.