Janine's Articles From the Soul From the Outside Poetry Corner Prisoner Letters

Finding Light

by CR


What comes to mind when you think of prison?  I’m sure it’s an assortment of labels describing those confined there.  The adjectives range from drug dealers, rapists, murderers to undesirables and what not.  It’s the home of every type of criminal element you can imagine; waiting to re-enter society once the powers-that-be determine a person has served their punishment and has been rehabilitated.  then there’s the portion who have been sentenced to death or to  life imprisonment.  How much hope can one hold onto with these sentences?

My views automatically differ from yours because I have first-hand knowledge of such a place.  When I think of prison, its purpose and design are what come to mind.  Its true purpose and design is to crush you mentally and vanquish the fighting spirit.  It’s obvious this is a place of lawbreakers, but it doesn’t mean patronizing overseers have the right to inflict a harsher penalty not consistent with law.  O yeah, before I forget, let me mention how a major aspect of its design and purpose is to exploit our families and friends at every opportunity.  We’re sent to prisons hundreds of miles away from home. The distance takes away the positive reinforcement that would help in one’s correction of self.  It strips you of meaningful contact with family and friends, especially our children.  It deprives you of the chance to play a significant role in their lives by steering them away from the pitfalls you fell into.  And believe me when I tell you that a letter cannot replace the impact of such a visit on those involved.    If all this wasn’t enough to drive you to the brink of insanity, then you have to battle the concentration of so much negative in here.  In short, the design and purpose is clear to those who open their mind to it.

Can the purpose and design of a prison be one and the same?  It’s ALL a matter of perspective.  The only difference with purpose is a prisoner’s grasp of it.   Does the prisoner succumb to the contagious misery of the environment?  Does he concede, crumbling morally, and continue on a path of self destruction?  Or does the prisoner see beyond the technical purposes of the structure that contains him physically to find his own purpose?

Light can be found in such an abysmal place.  Personally, I consider myself to be a burning light in the sea of darkness that surrounds me.  A solar powered being making it through any weather.  Know what I really love, though?  When the sun comes beaming trough the window of this cell.  I love how it reflects off these dull gray walls designed to bring one gloom.  Its brightness illuminates the cell so much I feel enveloped by it.  Instead of feeling despair, the heat of it energizes my spirit.  I don’t give the misery moving about within these walls power to dim my light.  I let my brightness shine through it blinding the negativity that lingers in the shade.  I choose to not let this negativity weigh me down or break me.  I choose to be an instrument of light rather than darkness.

The Rose That Grew From Concrete is one of Tupac Shakur’s many poems.  (read it on this page).  It speaks of beauty that can rise up out of a harsh environment.  I believe there to be plenty of roses growing in concrete around this nation.  they can be found in the roughest concrete jungles, otherwise known as The School of Hard Knocks.  They are the children who desire and strive to succeed agains all odds.  I also believe there to be roses blooming behind the walls and fences which confine them.  These people aren’t doing time.  They aren’t slaves to their situation.  they are using time!  Using time to rise above the madness.  Am I a rose in the concrete?  Nah, not in the least.  I’m just a seed looking to grow.  Give me life!  Give me liberty!  Give me light!


Dear CR,

I hesitate to contradict you but.....

I do see a rose!

Blessings, my friend


Prisoner Letters

Latest Issue: 92