Pushing Forward

by Dortell Williams

If you’re anything like me, you’ve made some mistakes and even bad decisions. I am a man of many regrets, but someone once told me that it isn’t where you’ve been, but where you are going that counts. It’s true. No matter what we done in the past, as regrettable as it may be, we are like books – waiting for that next chapter to be written. The great thing is that we are the authors of our own books. What is said in each chapter is up to us. One decision at a time each its own chapter.

For instance, when I decided to quit smoking, that was a new chapter. When I decided to learn Spanish, that was a new chapter. When I decided to start teaching myself to draw, that was a new chapter. The more major decisions the more chapters. The next thing you know, your book is going in a completely different direction. People are reading your book in a new way. Haters even must admit your story has changed. Truth is, your story didn’t just change – YOU changed it. read more

Lies

by Jooglord

A lot of lies, the truth is silenced
I really wanna know, who’s behind it The greed feeds, the ruthless violence People don’t care,
All this useless silence
Speak up, get loud
You should try it
The truth is vibrant, it’s time to shut down The stupid tyrant
Because I walk through
Man rooms get quiet,
Speaking my mind
I can produce a riot
A lot of propaganda
And you losers buy it
Wake up world!
The truth is silence

Sharing Our Deepest Scars

by Keith Erickson

The scars of my childhood are the very parts of me that so many men like me, incarcerated men, want to keep locked away from the rest of the world around them. The Alternatives to Violence Project Workshops bring out the courage in men that you would never expect to witness within a prison. This weekend was like a whirlwind of emotions and laughter that left many of us crying, yet with the realization that our personal af ictions are so much bigger than just ourselves—they also belong to so many others within and outside of these granite walls.

Fatherhood/Parenting: this was the focus of this weekend’s workshop. New faces, some familiar, yet uncharted territory for many of us to share due to the scars that are concealed beneath the billboard display of tattoos that take up much of out bodies. It is a well-known fact amongst us prisoners; the Alternatives to Violence Project is designed to make you comfortable in order to make you comfortable. There is no growth without the pain of nally beginning to confront the damage that’s been done to you, including the damage we’ve all been guilty of dong to others. That’s the beauty of these workshops: we learn to love, trust, and support men around us regardless of where it is that we’ve been, all within a crash-course un-fold of three days. In the bigger picture, we’re restoring our humanity while helping one another heal. read more

Solitude? More like Solitary

by Quani

After being in here for a moment, you think about life, about how things could’ve been better if you never made your move.

But it’s different in your cell. As soon as that door closes, there’s like a whole different life waiting for you. It’s like a nightmare because you’re only thinking about how long you’re gonna be in there, how long you’ll be staring at that locked door.

Then boredom hits. Instead of being stimulated, that isolation makes you cry. You think about your mom, about what might be happening to her. When you think about so much at one time, eventually you start to shut down. You can’t sleep. You stare at the walls and they start closing in on you. The space gets tighter, so you talk to yourself inside of your head. After a minute, you start to hit your push-ups. You physically tire yourself out and then you end up passing out. read more