My poems from April 2016
My Graterford Prison Experience @Temple University
The outside world doesn’t really understand the inside blues. We walk around angry ourselves, not understanding that we are in our own prison trying to make it on a daily basis. We feel just as condemned and invisible to others that have less cares in the world, but more money in their pockets. I wouldn’t say I feel locked up, but I am not as free to be as most people. But my perceptions about inside people were skewed and I admit I was behind a lot of the policies that locked our black men and boys up back then, and I didn’t need that life to mesh with mines. I was a good girl and to me inside people didn’t fit in my circle, nor would I want them to be. But at the same time I was given the opportunity to see if my perceptions were their realities 22 year later.
- I expected anger, but received calmness.
- I expected violence, but received hugs.
- I expected rudeness, but received kind words.
- I expected lies, but received honesty.
I expected to walk in and be a savior for the inside students, but they taught me something instead. They taught me resilience, courage, hope, and patience. The outside worries that we experience is small compared to their community and understanding them left me feeling like I needed to humble myself and experience a day in the life, in their shoes. I write to you all because I have grown to care. I see you! And even though this started out as just a course, it was a lifetime experience for me and us. Your stories will be retold and shared through us. Your kindness will be remembered through us. Your hugs will be good memories of your warmth. Your honesty will be replicated through us. I see you…and as we sit down for the last time and experience our mutual connection and affection for each other, I will remember that this was not only a Temple course…it was an experience in humanity. The destruction of stereotypes and the call to be the change that’s needed because we have people with emotions, families, and hearts on the inside that need us to speak on the outside for their behalf. – AcademicHustler1975