New Poetry from our Norfolk City Jail Project


I don’t know why the world is so cruel.

Maybe the government uses violence

as a tool. To eliminate our race. Our genes

and our traits. Violence tears apart families

and hunts us down like prey. The way

they treat us blacks from everyone else

is like night and day. I’m tired of living

in a generation where you can’t even

leave the house without wondering

if you’ll make it back alive. I’m tired

of living in a generation where through

our pain, suffering and misery other people

thrive. This is not a game. This is not a joke.

It’s time for us to get serious and be with

all the smoke. I’m from Norfolk. Shark City

is its alias. I’m from Norfolk where

all people are biased. Mothers burying

their sons way too soon. Their caskets

littered with tears. I’m from a generation

where young girls are having sex

just to be accepted by their peers.

Black on black murder seems to be

the new style. We kill ourselves

without hesitation and are put in front of

the jury for trial. We as a race are constantly

in denial. Could we be racist also?

We as a race think that if you don’t have

the same skin color, use vulgar language

and talk like us, or listen to the same genres

of music that they aren’t normal.

We also need to take responsibility

for what we do. We need to educate ourselves

and stop adding fuel to the fire.

Knowledge and success should be our

only desire. Why is there so much hate

in the world? Are our lives not more

valuable than diamonds and pearls?

Are our children not more important

than seeing who has the most girls?

We only have one life. Make the most of it.

Zachary D. Branch



Here I am sitting at the table,

all by myself.

My thoughts are scrambled.

Not sure how to begin my day.

As you can see

by the look of me:

my hair is straggly.

My lips are beginning to chap.

My eyes are growing dark.

I sure can’t eat a thing.

I’m tired and weary.

I can’t seem to set a foot outside.

What’s wrong with me?

How did this all begin?

My life’s a big jigsaw puzzle

shattered to a million pieces.

Not sure how to put it back

together again.

What do I do?

I guess I’ll just go back to bed again.

Laura Konnight


My Window

A window should be a place

where you can see beauty. A

place to see the trees sway in

the breeze. A place where you can

ease your mind. A peace of mind

that your kids are safe. But no.

Outside my window is nothing of beauty.

My window is bars upon bars.

Watching fellow criminals like

myself coming in, having their

lives stripped, and animal survival

mode set in. Nothing about my window

is pretty.

Danielle Hughes



photo credit: Mackinac Center

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