Written Work

Featured below are poems, essays, fiction and non-fiction pieces from our many contributors, both the incarcerated and the free.

 
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Incarceratedly Yours, issue i

A Prison Renaissance project, in collaboration between artists in San Quentin State Prison and Stanford.

 
 

Good Apples by Alan Devenish

Poetry

Reading Macbeth’s monologue
in the women’s maximum security
prison, the room goes quiet—
those petty tomorrows tumbling
toward a furious nothing—until
a voice among the lowered heads...

Forced Out by Juan Meza

Poetry

Forced out
Out of my land
Out of my people
Out of my friends.
Of the constitution...

Philadelphia by Eel C. Jesus

Essay

Some hopes and dreams are like trees. Across our seasons, they blossom, sway, lose all their leaves, and stand bare, lacking – something. Yet for the most part they are sturdy; deeply rooted within that quiet purity I’ve held so tightly, the innocence we’ve lost but try desperately to touch again. Meanwhile, other hopes and dreams are like breaths. We bring them in...

 
 

Notes From An American Prisoner: An Ode To Fyodor Dostoevsky by Brandon Loran Maxwell

Fiction

I am a loving man, soulless by disposition; a forgiving man, vindictive by circumstance. I am an innocent man, but I am a monster. Another might say I am two men, or even say I am no man at all. But what another says is of little consequence. Do I believe good exists in the world? Not proportionately to the injustices...

Stopping Animals by Rahsaan Thomas

Fiction

A bear crept down Boyland Avenue, scouting for shade and food in broad day. Urban expansion had pushed in on his habitat, drying the waterways and killing the fish. He had been roaming for hours. The inside of his throat felt like dirt...

Objects in Our Rear View Mirror by Donna L. Roberts, Ph.D.

Essay

he popular rock personality known as “Meatloaf” is by no means a trained psychologist. Nor is he a qualified researcher in the social science arena. He has not attended graduate school. He has no clinical experience. His message is poetic and anecdotal rather than based upon statistical and psychometric standards. He is simply a musician. And yet, his lyrics “Objects in the Rear-View Mirror” reveal the profound effects of traumatic life experience...

 

Sin of Kingdoms by Emile DeWeaver

Poetry

There’s a golf course.
Man in white shorts wiggles
bum and measures his iron
against the task. Swings. Club
and dimpled ball clunk. The sound is like
a single knock on a door, the back door...

The Philiad by Eel C. Jesus

Poetry

O How Phillip wrenches out his heart as
his beloved betrayed thee; she went off
and married another at thirty-three.
A promise once set in stone is now washed
away by tears wrought with anguish and groans...

2016 by Rahsaan Thomas

Poetry

I-Phones
selfies
Mass Murder

Bugattis
Trump Towers
Genocide...

 

Nobodies by J.S Long

Fiction

The dog at the back of the cage is snarling, head and tail low, ears back. My gag reflex momentarily kicks in, and I notice the cage floor is covered in shit. The dog bowls are turned over...

Sons of Sisyphus by Emile DeWeaver

Poetry

Have you seen Spartans train their youth away:
oak trees beneath a ridge, 200 boys
broken into 20 files, 20 pound
shields that have never touched ground, 5 pound helms
packed with wild grass to fit growing skulls. “Spaaaar-

A Writer's Block by Rahsaan Thomas

Essay

I’d rather die than serve the rest of my life in prison but fear of God kept me from committing suicide. But I could provoke someone else who had nothing to lose to kill me. Standing behind my cell door, I glared through the round holes that made the door look like metal cheese...