As always, the poems created from lines shared by the women in the writing circle can knock the breath right out of you. It’s not enough that the writing is immediate, uncensored, raw; the found poem combines the immediate, uncensored, raw words of a dozen women in one place. Their words tumble over one another, weaving wisdom from the depths of herstory, from a higher power, from the most ordinary of circumstances — all converging within the confines of a state prison.
Vulnerability is the birthplace of fear;
I feel fear, I want to be numb
numb because I have to be
explained to death, justified.
I never had what it takes
to step into the unknown without knowing the outcome.
Numbness has become my disease;
empty and broken
the living of life, gone.
Her heart lies naked, dying proudly
from a waning of trust.
It’s better to feel hurt than pain;
easier not to feel anything than feel everything.
Weakness is her failure, the slayer.
I look at what’s wrong with you so I don’t need to look at me;
your weaknesses may be the same as mine.
The entire mouth droops
trying to hold onto lies,
truth overwhelming her
beating back the dark.
What do you have to hope for?
Courage – unapologetic courage –
a quality we all possess
to cover the gap
of what lies beneath.
Courage is acting against fear
to be in truth in the midst of lies.
I take courage like food
allow myself to try
regardless of the outcome.
Change is a difficult concept.
Without hope I would not have gotten through.
Hope is the seed of intention
helps me think outside my constraints
to build something new on something old.
Hope is a beautiful field to a prisoner;
the places you find yourself can be exciting.
Hope is at the heart of every struggle;
struggling makes us appreciate it even more.
Struggle is the road sign.
Without challenge I have no way to know my own worth.
So try regardless of the outcome.
To be me is a sweet thing
no longer weak but a warrior.