Every Monday afternoon, I teach a group of kids at the Allegheny County Jail. Termed "juveniles" at the jail, they have a separate pod than the adult population, but are still awaiting trial as adults. Each kid is energetic, creative, and intelligent in his own way. One student, Kenny, is somewhat shy in class, but at the end of last semester, he handed me a book's worth of poems scribbled on yellow composition paper for me to type. I was very impressed with his work, and honored that he wanted to share them with me. Today, I asked him if he wouldn't mind me posting a poem or two on the blog, and he barely hesitated to say I should post "The Power of a Felony." Without further ado:
The Power of a Felony
Just brainstorming all the wrong I did in my life, and barely did anything nice, and mentally I’m broke, I can’t pay the price. That’s why I keep a mask on with a smile, ‘cause showing my true feelings isn’t allowed in this situation by myself.
No COD’s to roll with me cuz I’m my own hope man.
In this cold cell thinking about what this man dressed in black is going to say to me? Wonder if he’s going to say screw me and throw away my freedom key?!
How is a man responsible for how many years another man do?
But never took one step in that man’s shoes?
Why are reporters so quick to make you look like an animal in newspapers or on the news?
More money? More views? I don’t have a clue.
And unfortunately that picture that painted about you sticks like glue—eww.
They painted a picture that made you look like you belonged in the zoo.
And to make matters worse your record follows you too and people are more likely not to hire you,
even though you have kids to feed and turned your life around and you’re trying to do good deeds but they ain't trying to hire you ‘cause you have a felony.
Now how you going to feed your kids? Rob a bank?
Without harming anyone but that’s not how the man in black is going to think!