Maya Angelou's legacy: stories that make us whole

Dr. Maya Angelou is famous for embracing and sharing all of her life experiences – the good, the bad, and the horrifying. Her philosophy was that all experiences are important parts of making a complete human being. In that vein, SCSJ offers you the poetry of formerly incarcerated people and their families. Because while these may not be happy stories, they are still important stories. They are stories that make us who we are today, and that makes them invaluable.
Maya Angelou's legacy
Your Daddy bought you a bicycle?
And he walked you into class?
Well my momma always told me
That “Daddy thing” don’t last
He read you a story in bed last night?
And then he tucked you in?
I thought that was a movie scene
Where them actors played pretend
Are you sure yo Daddy goes to work
And that he aint tricklin’ out that dope
Cause my Daddy too, was a good ole boy
Till them handcuffs stole his hope
Yeah, my Daddy gone
But its alright, cause I’m fillin in his shoes
His peeps they call me “Jr. Rock”
And they makin’ sho’, that I don’t lose!
Written by Nadiah Porter – Poet, SCSJ Intern
May Angelou
New Days Are Coming
I wouldn’t mind if the Sun chose to shine on Renee
Every day in her life it seems to rain
A little bit harder every single day
And I’m singing where the blue skies go
Cause lately her skies are nothing but gray
And I pray that through the grey skies she still sees the Sun
I pray, that through the grey skies she still sees the Son, o
Of our Heavenly Father
Telling her that God wrote for her life to go further,
Although it seems like the end of the road it is not
This was just the wrong turn,
A bad decision, a pit stop
Dear Renee, this time for God to sit you down and talk to you
New days are coming and He has much more for you to do
He wants to use you as a messenger
Tell your story of how you’ve been through the fiery pits of hell
And you made it through
Tell the world how the whole time God had you!
He had your back and He still do ‘
Please know He already prayed for you.
The victory, has already been written for you
You win!
You get to come home to your kids
They miss their mom and I miss my friend
The rain ends
A new chapter begins
You get to try life anew
The sun is shining on you!
Son is shining on you!
And I don’t mind because I love you
God bless you
Written by Regina Johnson – Poet
Once Upon a Time
Once upon a time
 I was locked in a cell 4 years, 24/7.
No windows.
I saw the “MOON”.
As if for the first time…….
Written by Tico Porter – Former inmate
The valley of decision
He will have them in derision
Because of the prisons
Where the souls are dwelling
We hear them yelling for more to be built
To be filled with filth
That they relate to our race
As we blindly fill up the space
….I’m hollering wait
Stop the nonsense
Being convicts
Slaves to the system
You can’t resist them.
Find the simplest thing to do
You chose it
Don’t let It chose you
Life is a big road
With a lot of signs
Open the mind use what
You got
Fill your
Own slot
With a slug not from a so called thug
Trying to get props on a block
That’s already hot
……..I’m hollering wait
stop the nonsense
Being convicts slaves to the system
You can’t resist them
We are ALL victims
Even the slick ones
They tricking them
Keep it TIGHT
with the Right
And you can’t go wrong
What is strong is strong
You know steel(Israel)
You cant get over it
But you can get through it
So lock it down In your town (your state of mind)
….You can resist them……
Written by Shebah Irie – Poet
How does the story go… Listen to the rain against my window…
Under estimated, never congratulated, through the struggle He still made it..
Forced to kiss the hand of another man.. Spirit unbroken, still able to stand…
BLACKMAN, BLACKMAN run as fast as you can…
Run from the gangs that enslave our youth…
Run from the hatred to get to the truth…
No more sitting at the back of the bus, United we stand the world will hear from us..
One Man can’t change all, but divided we fall…
BLACKMAN, BLACKMAN can you take my hand?
Together as soldiers we fight in a war that equally isn’t right..
So break free of the pain we afflict one one another… And come together for change my Brother..
One Man had a Dream, together we can make it come true…
BLACKMAN,BLACKMAN that dreams starts with you….
Written by Jeron Jackson 2009- Former Inmate (nephew of Tico Porter, also former inmate)
when it rains it pours
“When it Rains it Pours”
I shed tears in my dreams, because this world won’t let me cry…
If I blink to slow, then the world just might pass me by…
Wishing I could break free of my chains and fly…
I wish I could run from the Day to find my Tomorrow…. Leaving behind the pain, leaving behind the sorrow….
Sometimes Life can be a bit too much,
Most times it’s not quite enough…
I wish I could time travel, but would I just get nowhere fast… In a glitch of minutes trying run from my past…
Feeling like an itch within a cast….
Unable to scratch away my scars….
Longing to break free of Life’s imprisonment ,unlocking these bars…
We spend our Lives trying to make it better… unable to escape the unclaiming weather…
Feeling our Life and time with objects to restrain the pain..
But no matter what is done there’ll always be a drop of rain…
So stop trying to close the doors…
Because everyone knows when it rains it pours…
Written by Jeron Jackson 2009- Former Inmate (nephew of Tico Porter, also former inmate)
beginning anew
Beginning anew
Beginning anew
And the things I now choose to do,
require much effort and energy
And focus on my part
But mostly exercising my free will.
The choice is mine, and no one else,
If I’m left behind or stripped away from freedom,
It’s because of self.
It is I who can only hold me back
Where’s the productiveness in that.
The code I once lived by was that of a lower nature and negative
And plenty of suspended animation and procrastination
But to continue to live without change
The result is MY
Producing mass incarceration
   By: J.F. Davis