New Work from Norfolk City Jail: Tahirah Dudley

You Are Wrong

I’m not quiet —



but acute.

Choose not to listen.


Take lessons.

I’m guessing

you don’t understand me

’cause I seem obsolete.

There are no more of me.

I’m replaced with the weak.

I reject

when upset.

I select when offset.

I neglect

the subject

trying to infect my mindset.

I was born to be strong.

Mother built me like Teflon.

If that’s not what you’re thinking,

then sorry,

you are wrong.

Shut Down

I disengage,


I’m unresponsive,


I disassociate,


then contemplate.

I really hate

you trying to relate

or even conversate.

This is no debate.

I just seem to shake

whatever is at stake.

I unwind,

clear my mind,

refuse to bind,

waste my time.

Before I’m bound —

be held down,

without a sound —

I shut down.


Addiction is my affliction.

Has always changed

my disposition.

As of now,

it’s in remission.

No more monopolizing

my attention.

I’ll be consistent.

I be dismissing

any drug

that has existed.

In my recovery —

did I mention? —

the competition

is plain ridiculous.

It’s a race

to the finish.

I’m going to win

this deadly mission.

Surrender Your Weapons

What if my mouth is a gun

and my heart is a shield?

Could my foot be a stone

or my tongue sharp like a sword?

Do my eyes cut like a dagger?

Will my fingers lure you to danger?

Why hide my hands behind my back?

‘Cause my head is used as a torture chamber.

If only your ears heard the screams.

When your nose smells the blood.

If your mind knew the pain.

Would you surrender your weapons?

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