I’m always surprised how many inmates have artistic talent. Over the years I have received artwork, literature and poems which speaks to the despair they feel. This poem, by inmate Brett McKeehan, currently incarcerated in Trenton, New Jersey is one of those.
How long is long enough, years, decades, quarter of centuries?
Are tears, heartaches, fading memories what you crave?
Will you only be satisfied with me in the grave?
Am I sorry? All apologies do I regret? You bet!
Am I repentant? You can depend on it.
Do I have sympathy, feel empathy for all I’ve done, all I’ve wronged? Certainly.
Strongest of words can never convey the indelible damage I’ve done in my day.
Imbuement, I do not resent the price that I’ve paid.
I accept that, for wrong things need to be made right in the sight of we.
For all that you’ve punished and extracted of me,
you, society have committed the same unjust crimes against we.
You have taken the body, oppressed the mind, stripped of dignity, humanity.
Isolated from sight, violated and separated from love of family, monetarily exploiting those
Devastating the middle and poor even more. It’s now big business, a ticket to riches.
How very clever, ever inventing new ways to enslave.
Depraved indifference, so I ask once again, how long is long enough?
It’s tough to decide I’m sure, but fifty to hundreds of years has never been a cure.
Scientific fact has shown that it hasn’t changed anything. Not one iota or bit.
I’m sick with regret, sick with grief.
I feel bad. I feel terrible.
I just long for release.