Truth Is… By Alisha Coleman

Alisha is a Fired Up! inside member. Her poem, “Truth Is…” was read outloud to the crowd at the February 20th San Quentin protest organized by Occupy 4 Prisoners.

Truth Is…

The picture I’m about to paint can only be heard,
so listen closely to every word.

Innocent until proven guilty?
They can’t be serious,
In a system where
Drug dealers get more time
than serial killers,
juveniles get tried as adults,
before they become one.
I guess nobody musta warned’em
about playing with knives and guns.

Guilty by association?
That’s what it’s called
then they get hauled
off to the pen,
where some girls become boyz and some boyz
become women.
Sitting around
unaware of who they are,
wounded while in the belly of the beast.
I call’em invisible scars,
the kind that can’t be healed
by Neosporin and stitches.

Went in walkin’
came out switching.

Could you imagine what it’s like?
Being told that the beginning
is really the end of your life.
3 strikes and you’re out!
Some think it’s a game,
but it’s really outta my hands.
Lord knows, I’m not tryna do life
on installment plans.

Everybody wanna be a part
Of the occupy system,
I need to occupy my life and
find something to do with it,
otherwise it’s useless.

Some may mistake my words as verbally abusive,
But the truth is…

How do we expect our kids to grow
from concrete,
accept defeat,
have to fend for themselves
in cells where it is dark
and hot as hell?
More parents come to see kids in jail
than they do at graduations.
That’s cuz the new diploma
is parole or probation

Fucked up situation
No contender.

“Now I’ll be gone until November”
Listening to a public pretender
telling me to plea
Y?
Cuz I’m young, black, and sell crack in da streets.
Babies committing robbery,
1st degree.

Even with blind eyes
I could see it ain’t cool.
They building prison programs
and tearing down schools.
We all got an opinion
just like we all have a choice.
No one can hear you speak
if you don’t use your voice!

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About FIRED UP!

Fired Up! is a grassroots network of people who have been or are currently, behind the walls of SF County Jail building community with others who are committed to breaking down the barriers those walls produce. In September 2011, two former prisoner members of California Coalition for Women Prisoners began a weekly "Personal Empowerment" group for women and male-identified people at SF County Jail. Six months later, nearly a dozen people go inside weekly and several members, who have been released, are part of our collective as it takes shape on the outside. There are members in the jail who have attended Fired Up! meetings every week since it began. Together, we seek to build a vision of community rooted in principles of healing, self-determination, and social justice movement building.
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