Archive for August, 2009

Virgin Islands Prison Project Awarded Grant

Posted in Prison Poetry & Other Writings with tags , , , , , on August 7, 2009 by viprisonproject

The Virgin Islands Prison Project was recently awarded a grant to participate in the annual meeting of the Alternate ROOTS organization.  Alternate ROOTS is a Southeast based organization whose mission is to support the creation and presentation of original art in all its forms, which is rooted in a particular community of place, tradition or spirit. Their annual meeting, which will be held in Arden, North Carolina from August 11th through the 16th, will be a coalition of cultural workers all committed to social and economic justice issues.

This year’s meeting theme will be “Re-birth of a Nation: Using art to navigate the intersection of oppressions.”  As part of its mission to promote prison reform, the Virgin Islands Prison Project uses the original artwork and writings of Virgin Islands’ prisoners as an integral part of its communications strategies.

“We are honored to receive this scholarship and be able to participate in this event.  Our project is a relatively new one and we wouldn’t normally be able to compete with other, better established organizations.  However, the folks at Alternate ROOTS found our work with prisoners and prisoner families compelling enough to give us a seat at the table,” said Kim Lyons, Project Coordinator of the Virgin Islands Prison Project.

“It is a tremendous opportunity for us to collaborate with other non-profits and grassroots organizations involved in similar campaigns – whether it involves criminal justice reform, environmental reform or other social justice issues,” she said. “We will no doubt benefit greatly from participating in these movements on a national level, and bringing what we learn back to the Virgin Islands.

“Your Children Released From Captivity (Babylon)”

Posted in Prison Poetry & Other Writings, Prison Voices with tags , , on August 7, 2009 by viprisonproject

“Thus saith the Lord;  ‘Jah’ refrain thy voice from
weeping and thine eyes from tears;  for thy work
shall be rewarded saith the Lord ‘Jah’; and
they (your children) shall come again from
the land of the enemy (Babylon).  And there is
hope in thine end, saith the Lord ‘Jah’ that thy
children shall come again to their own
border.”  – Jeremiah 31: 16-17

Submitted by

-Arturo Cruz Sr.
#390999, Wallens Ridge State Prison

“The Cold Within”

Posted in Prison Poetry & Other Writings, Prison Voices with tags , , on August 7, 2009 by viprisonproject

We are so tender and loving to our oppressors, off springs,
especially to the females, inspite of how they are still
treating us after four hundred years: Yet we are not so
compassionate no loving towards our own brothers and sisters.
Why? Are our conditions immutable? I should hope not.

Let us spread our love around, loving our brothers and sisters
and loving ourselves as God plan it to be and this could be
the Integral Part we been looking for all our lives.

We are to have no one, but we must be on the alert for our
lives depend on it, so we may not, perish from the cold
within.

This is why I have chosed this Poem.  But before reciting it…
I have decided that the author and the editor be considered
Anonymous.  It will eliminate ulterior motives and ultimately
the contents of this poem, should be taken for what it worth to
each and every individual here.  You will then be your own
judges, and evaluate yourselves;  Halo’s or Pitchforks.

“Six humans trapped by happenstance
In black and bitter cold
Each one possessed a stick of wood
Or so the story’s told.

Their dying fire in need of logs,
The first woman held hers back
For on the faces around the fire
She noticed one was black.

The next man looking cross the way
Saw one not of his church,
And couldn’t bring himself to give
The fire his stick of birch.

The third one sat in tattered clothes
He gave his coat a hitch.
Why should his log be put to use
To warm the idle rich?

The rich man just sat back and thought
Of the wealth he had in store.
And how to keep what he had earned
From the lazy, shiftless poor.

The black man’s face bespoke revenge
As the fire passed from his sight,
For all he saw in his stick of wood
was a chance to spike the white.

And the last man of this forlorn group
Did naught except for gain.
Giving only to those who gave
Was how he played the game.

The logs held tight in death’s still hand
Was proof of human sin.
They didn’t die from the cold without,
They died from the cold within.”

As read by Mr. Charles Felix at GGACF for
Haile Selassie Birthday Celebration 7/26/09


“Many Moses”

Posted in Prison Poetry & Other Writings, Prison Voices with tags , , , on August 7, 2009 by viprisonproject

Many of us either heard or know about Moses and the awesome story surrounding his life:  How God used him for a great mission, sent up against the Pharoah, King of Egypt.  His mission to seek the release of God’s people from slavery, and lead them into the Promised Land.  When summoned for this task Moses was, at first, lacking confidence.

Throughout history we’ve had many men used to lead, and displayed great leadership in many areas of struggle.  And so, I salute the sooo many Mr. Moses.  I call attention that we must also fully acknowledge the sooo many Ms. Moses, too!  O yes, the ladies, queens, empresses, princesses, etc…  History bid us no to forget the Queen Marys, Harriet Tubmans, and all such alike.  Remember Esther in the Bible? She was met with going before the King on behalf of the Jews.  Regardless of knowing she could be put to death for approaching the King without being summoned; she said, “If I perish, I perish.” Esther 4:16.  Fearless wasn’t she?

Yes, women was created to be a helper comparable to man.  But helpers can be strong, wise and in many case endure great, great hardships too.  I can go on and on so to make my point, but I think, message received! Let us “men”, and some cases “women,” not stifle or suffocate the strength and wisdom in our women.  But let us nurture and encourage them. They were not only created to be good housewives, homemakers, good cooks, and clothes and dishwashers.

And so, I want us to not forget that amongst us there are many many Ms. Moses, and we must not fall short in our duty to encourage and stir up our ladies, queens, empresses, princesses and such unto whatever things are true, whatever things are noble, whatever things are just, whatever things are pure, whatever things are lovely, whatever things are of good report.  If there is any virtue and if there is any thing praiseworthy, encourage them towards it.

– Iamah Servant 06/04/09
Wallens Ridge State Prison

“I Love King Haile Selassie I”

Posted in Prison Poetry & Other Writings, Prison Voices with tags , , , , on August 7, 2009 by viprisonproject

Marley say: “Give us de teachings of His Majesty, for
we no waan no devil philosopy…”

Below is a quote of the greatly loved, His Majesty Emperor
Haile Selassie I. He is honored and revered by Rastafarians
as the Godhead of man.

“WE IN ETHIOPIA HAVE ONE OF THE OLDEST VERSIONS OF THE BIBLE, but however old the version may be, in whatever language it may be written the Word remains one and the same.  It transcends all boundaries of empires and all conception of race.  It is eternal.

No doubt you all remember reading in the Acts of the Apostles of how Philip baptised the Ethiopian official.  He is the first Ethopian on record to have followed Christ, and from that day onwards the Word of God has continued to grow in the hearts of Ethiopians.  And I might say for myself that from early childhood I was taught to appreciate the Bible and my love for it increases with the passage of time.  All through my troubles I have found it a cause for infinite comfort.  “Come unto Me, all ye that labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest” – who can resist an invitation so full of compassion?

Because of this personal experience in the goodness of the Bible, I was resolved that all my countrymen should aslo share its great blessing, and that by reading the Bible they should find Truth for themselves.  Therefore… I caused a new translation to be made from our ancient language into the language which the old and the young understood and spoke.

Today man sees all his hopes and aspirations crumbling before him.  He is perplexed and knows not whither he is drifting.  But he must realise that the Bible is his refuge, and the rallying point for all humanity.  In it man will find the solution of this present difficulties and guidance for his future action, and unless he accepts with clear conscience the Bible and its great Message, he cannot hope for salvation.  For my part I glory in the Bible.”

I would like all the Rasta people to ponder the words of His Imperial Majesty enclosed.  Ponder them deeply and seriously.  Ask provoking questions: What is He saying, or trying to convey? What did He believe about the Bible/Jesus? Was He a Christian? Was and is He echoing words in the Bible? Such as 2 Timothy 3:16-17; 2 Peter 1:21″

I think it is profitable to give serious attention to the teachings of His Majesty.  Our very Soul may depend on it.

Respectfully,
Iamah Servant

Wallens Ridge State Prison

“TRAGEDY’S TRIUMPH”

Posted in Prison Poetry & Other Writings with tags , , on August 7, 2009 by viprisonproject

I kept dreaming while they told me the ghettoes the only home
for me
In dire need of diplomas we lacking ghetto diplomacy
I’m oil for the wheels of justice, now I’m asking you to roll with
me
I provide flashes of lambency so the lambs can see the lions

Wake up, get off the fantasy and you’ll see who the phantom be
Randomly?   Nah, it’s synthetic but seen through the canopy its
faded their jaded motives
Through my knowledge now they mad at me
The streets is a college but it ain’t comfy like a cottage

They promising us tranquility when all I saw was carnage
I pour liquor on the concrete in homage, mind in bondage
Eyes closed so nobody saw it
Silent martyrs to be honest
Crying mamas grieve while the streets bleed green injustice
to be modest

– Jahlight Delsol
#391023  – Wallens Ridge State Prison

“HEADLINES”

Posted in Prison Poetry & Other Writings, Prison Voices with tags , , on August 7, 2009 by viprisonproject

Pick up the paper, read the headlines, time is running out quick
and nobody knows the deadline
I need a rest because my head tired and as time gets by its
getting more harder and harder to get by
So much wars, I don’t get why
It seems like everybody got nuclear weapons
Politics come first and people come second
Its either they tongue tied or they gon tell us lies

They whistle dixie, to the doo wop dance, fresh-pressed in
suits they still the Ku Klux Klan
No time for childhood, we grow up fast
No guidance, only the forces they try to fight us
It seemed like cops was our nemesis
We were never taught that we were chosen to be leaders
from the Genesis
We never thought we were the last of a dying breed
I now perceive our wasted time as a kind of greed

There was drug paraphernalia and empty lighters on the
playground where the crackheads lay down
I felt like “I’m gon die any day now but I’ll try to stick
around,” hoping that the sun will shine
We lived low and demoraliozed, never taught to prioritize, our
thoughts never organized
Through the eyes of our orphaned lives we saw homicide ignorant
to knowing it was genocide.

Pick up the paper, read the headlines
“Sold Dope Within a School Zone!” “Caught!” and that’s
Fed time
“Black Murders 2!” and that’s bedtime: on the highway of life
some get high to get by
I smoke a spliff and take a shout, why? – cause as time get by its
getting more harder to get by

Pick up the paper and read the headlines
Pick up the paper and read the headlines

– Jahlight Delsol
#391023, Wallens Ridge State Prison