My Community

by Brandon

Right outside my narrow penitentiary window is a vibrant never-ending landscape just beyond my reach. Every day, I sit and watch the world move and shake with the grind of living in this new day and age, and I remember.

I am almost two decades removed from my era and the world that I knew. I remember a time when things were different, when my parents listened to grown folk music like Al Green, Sam Cooke and B.B. King and threw late night house parties and got drunk. They did dance routines while I drew pictures and told jokes, and it was all good fun for everyone as I wafted through liquor fumes and cigarette smoke. I remember a time when kids were made to go outside and play. I remember my sister and I would debate all the awful things that would happen if we dared drink.

Then, I remember when it all ended: when court-cases heartaches separated my friendships, when gang banging became my way of life, when the Department of Corrections became my plight, where guns transformed into knives, and wrongs replaced my rights.

I cannot forget solitary confinement and realizing how far down the rabbit hole that I went. Surrounded by the suicidal swings of being buried alive and someone still trying to keep a glimmer of false hope inside, even after my Daddy and sister died. I struggle on, remembering where I came from, what I lived through, and the future that I’m headed toward.

I am meant for greatness. I’m meant for more. I can’t wait until the day I can only remember looking out of this narrow caged-in window with the shitty view and instead embrace the feeling I had leaving behind a mountain of misery that kept my soaring spirt shamefully glued to the floor and having pride with my head held high, leaving out the oppressive penitentiary door.

Brandon A. is an inmate currently living at Plainfield Correctional Facility. He is a participant of Indiana Prison Writers Workshop. Once released, he plans on pursuing a career in culinary arts by operating a food truck while continuing writing.

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Under the Mat

by Phil

Two inches of cotton wrapped in plastic, formed and fitted to resemble a mattress placed on top of a steel frame is where I lay my head every day with two sheets and two blankets and a pillow that wasn’t issued. Nope, I had to make it. That pretty much describes every bed in prison – just to give you a little insight on how we’re living. But, what makes each bed different? It’s not how the bed looks. It is what’s under the mat: a lot of legal mail and paperwork from the courts, pictures of loved ones showing support, swimsuit magazines and hood books of all titles, state envelopes, newspapers, some version of the Bible, a fairly new jumpsuit only to be worn to visits that is creased and neatly folded to give that “fresh” appearance, request slips to counselors that will never get a reply, broken down razors for a haircut and a line. And there’s that one thing we all hate to see: a calendar. But for some reason we still take a peak – that itself gives us a reason to never come back and put the things we cherish most, under the mat.

Phil is an inmate currently living at Plainfield Correctional Facility. He is a participant of Indiana Prison Writers Workshop. Once released, he plans to start a not-for-profit for performing arts helping minority youth. I’d like to show them the alternatives to running the streets.

Happy Birthday

by Phil

Can you believe that at age 29, I’ve never had a birthday party? Sucks, right? Imagine being seven or eight years old, going to your sister’s birthday party, or even a friend from the neighborhood and not having a party of your own. No cake or ice cream. I’ve never made a wish. I’ve never blown out candles. I don’t know what that feels like. I’ve always wondered: what do people wish for when they blow out the candles while they’re making their wish? I wish I had a birthday party.

Phil is an inmate currently living at Plainfield Correctional Facility. He is a participant of Indiana Prison Writers Workshop. Once released, he plans to start a not-for-profit for performing arts helping minority youth. I’d like to show them the alternatives to running the streets.

Perfect

by Foosie

I’m only human but that doesn’t diminish my perfection in the slightest. When I was born – I was perfectly loved – and nothing has changed since that day. So, let me be one of the first people to ever tell you that I’m perfect.

Born out of wedlock to an OG who already had two kids by two different Dads…perfect. Born a tone of brown that hasn’t always been held in the highest esteem when it comes to pulchritude…perfect. Big nose…perfect. Big lips…perfect. Gap tooth smile…perfect. The water beads off my skin like candy paint fresh from the carwash…perfect.

Tattoo of a lost soldier on my arm…perfect. Gun powder dust on my sleeves…perfect. A mug shot instead of a graduation picture…perfect. Blood on my hands forever…perfect. I woke up this morning…perfect. I have hope for tomorrow…perfect. I’ve got a story to tell…perfect.

Perfect…Not in thought or in word or in deeds but in reality. Perfectly flawed and perfectly loved. And He is. So am I in this world.

Foosie is an inmate currently living at Plainfield Correctional Facility. He is a participant of Indiana Prison Writers Workshop. 

My Mind

By Krazy Dave

My mind never stops running. Constant traffic created by racing thoughts in a city with thousands of intersections. Thoughts move with a million different topics, opinions, and insane ideas. I am called “Krazy Dave” for a reason. A fate placed on me since birth. Intersecting thought without stop signs or lights. Traffic light thoughts that are constantly on a collision course within this demented city. What am I to do? If I fight it, it only gets worse. Therefore, I chose to adapt and to live in a city of madness within my mind.

Krazy Dave is an inmate currently living at Plainfield Correctional Facility. He is a participant of Indiana Prison Writers Workshop. Once released, he plans to spend time with his children and help people who are struggling with mental health.

The Show

By Brandon

I watched it all like a Broadway show from the sidelines of my front row seat, wanting to be heard but unable to speak. The courtroom became a stage – I felt scared and alone. So, this is justice? My trial was filled with more theatrics than the actual shootout I endured. This can’t be real. As I think back, I realize how much I’ve changed. I look out the window and I see life floating by, and I ask myself, “Where will I go from here?”

I see the crime scene. It fills me with disappointment even though it was years ago. I was shot, man-hunted, caught, attacked by a K-9 before I was made to walk the humiliating mile to the ambulance -knowing my life would be forever changed while suffering from injuries that still sting deep into my heart. I recall the verdict coming in as I awaited my fate by people appointed to give their opinion on matters of my case. I sat through testimonies of eye-witnesses for and against me, telling the judge and jury their recollection of an incident we all experienced from different lenses.

So this is my life. Charged. Convicted of attempted murder. With no wife, I can only embrace my worst fears of being locked up. I am alone, reduced to tears. No applaud – just the dimming of lights on the final curtain call.

Brandon A. is an inmate currently living at Plainfield Correctional Facility. He is a participant of Indiana Prison Writers Workshop. Once released, he plans on pursuing a career in culinary arts by operating a food truck while continuing writing.

Rise Through My Fall

By Brandon A.

“Thank you” is a phrase that is often underrated. We say it to let people know they are appreciated. But what do you say when gratitude is not enough? When words can’t express what you feel, or who you’re touched. If I could rewind back through my lifetime, I would cherish you more than my own lifeline. The things you taught me I could never forget. The mistakes I made I will always regret. Family is a word we don’t take lightly. It lights fire to our soul that strikes like lightening. Because family means more than being related. It’s about the pain, joy, suffering. My big sister, to me, is more like a Mom, or a friend I depend on; my supreme icon. After 17 years of confinement, she is the only one who knows where all the time went. A voice of reason through a sea of treason. When all other supporters were leaving, she never missed a season. So now at this intersection of my life where I’m nearing my sentence, I dedicate my future to being more present because I believe I will rise through my fall.

Brandon A. is an inmate currently living at Plainfield Correctional Facility. He is a participant of Indiana Prison Writers Workshop. Once released, he plans on pursuing a career in culinary arts by operating a food truck while continuing writing.