By Marshall Jones
Felt like a movie playing the day he sentenced me….
Time stopped as I laid my head on the table,
tears battered the carpet beneath.
Tears laced the face of my brother,
told me “Don’t cry”,
like life imprisonment wasn’t a good reason.
Still remember that day…
Glad to say the memory still follows me,
words conveyed, but construed as “expedient”, strangely,
everything I promised, I completed.
You see, I’m nothing similar to the miscreant I used to be;
I can be seen engaged in Bible study,
counseling brothers, mediating conflict,
appealing to their humanity.
Questioning the ingrained skepticism
rendering a prisoner stagnant,
combat the pundits who don’t believe opportunity exist.
I sit with them until they envision they own lies diminish
from the war against truth,
until they boldly defy statistics.
The prison system “need” people like me
as a balancing point,
managing the temperaments they don’t understand.
Entrusted to discreetly calm these wounded spirits,
to help transform the thoughts of these men.
When asked, they pat themselves on the back,
taking credit for my efforts,
all while telling others I’m still a threat.
Every morning presents a challenge;
a decision to wrestle freedom from my captor’s hands,
look beyond the razor wire fences to what truly lies ahead.
A forest, dense with life,
affecting the viewer with limitless pictures of blessings replenished.
Endless fuel for my journey over ranges of mountains;
some climbed for preparation, others for restoration,
yet others mastered for the purpose of strengthening my legs.
Cause I’ll never tire….
20 hour days struggling to reach others before they suffer,
some days I feel my harvest hasn’t reaped enough.
Reaching after the goals I’ve set
while battling disappointments,
proudly admitting this grind gets tough.
Drawing from the inspiration of people that broke through;
the Roderick Bankstons, the Alice Johnsons,
the Myon Burrells, the Cyntoia Browns,
all found themselves crashing through their glass ceilings.
What did they do when their our strength couldn’t accomplish it?
When assistance seemed so unlikely?
How did they fight when they were too tired to swing?
What kept their hearts from breaking?
Tearfully fatigued, I remember the day he sentenced me,
“Don’t cry” echoing, the haters retreating,
because I’ll never stop beating until shards of glass fall upon me.
One day, they’ll ask how I disgraced the impossibility,
how I’ve been set free……
Read more by Marshall Jones:
A Raven’s Meal: Book of Poetry