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From Cell To Cell...

Bennie and Patricia combined cells and made me
Buster and Bert did their best to raise me
At Norcom, Alpha Chi for damn sure hazed me
But all that's helped me become who I am

To Nashville I went, off to Fisk for college
There I studied, and people watched from the Tree of Knowledge
Walked the same paths as the Ancestors and paid them homage
And learned the history I'd been taught was a sham

Back to the Commonwealth I came when it was time to return
Still so much to do, experience, accomplish and learn
There were now men to date, and there were more trees to burn
But I had a goal, so I tried hard to stay on track

My 20s were like the twister that took Dorothy to Oz
I fell in and out of what felt like love and found that I was Poz
But I was still determined that I could beat all the odds
So I dug in my heels and did not look back

For a few years I tried avoiding fate
But eventually enrolled myself at Norfolk State
The green and gold hood on me, it looked and felt so great
But I got locked up the day before graduation

But I had met this guy who I liked a lot
He was handsome and thick, and I thought he was hot
He had cornrows, held me down, and had his own spot
So when I got out I stayed in that situation

It's been almost 7 year since I met that man
October will make three years with this ring on my hand
He walks beside me in the rain, and with him through fire I'll stand
Because he's my husband, and our vows were not pretend

His job moved us to Richmond, we found a place on the Southside
But soon I fell into depression, and battled suicide
And the worst day I remember was when Darknis died
It was his dog but at that time he was my best friend.

The problems didn't end there, my issues didn't cease
We even moved into a new place, and he signed a new lease
But I was still feeling down, because my mind had no peace
So I wore the mask, while I hurt deep inside

We both needed a break, from the pain and the hurt
So I came back to Portsmouth, to be home with Aunt Bert
But the depression got worse, I felt lower than dirt
And that's when the Devil came disguised

The enemy came to me posing as a friend
With a nice crib, cute dog, and pockets with no end
And freely shared it all, backwards I didn't have to bend
But looking back, I see where my mistake lay

I'd stopped loving myself, and no longer cared
I was wearing the same clothes, and not grooming my hair
I had said, "Fuck the world" because it all felt unfair
Basically, I had given up and lost my way

Then one day the Devil did something that plucked my last nerve
And I thought, "How dare you fix your mouth to say such words"
So I packed up my shit and put my shoes to the curb
But I was a fool to think Lucifer was not clever

I was hooked, having cravings, I couldn't go home
Bertha would see my face and know something was wrong
I didn't want my friends to know, so I'd ignore my phone
But I could't avoid them forever

So I dialed up my friend, and she picked up her line
I told her I was close by and that I needed a ride
She didn't ask any questions and was there in no time
Thinking back she probably saved my life

We ran a few errands then went back to her house
She let me wash my clothes and stuff food in my mouth
We laughed and joked until I passed out on the couch
Because I hadn't slept at all that last night

I felt good when I woke up after a short stay
And I called myself an Uber to take me back out the way
But before going home I got a text saying "Come smoke a J"
And that offer I was not going to decline

By the time I got there they'd already rolled up
We smoked, went to Friday's and filled up our cups
Then they tried to convince me to go to Broadway and turn up
But I passed because for me it was bedtime

So I stayed on Tazewell that night, and didn't go home
I watched ratchet TV and Instagrammed from my phone
I drank on some warm Pepsi, and fell asleep all alone
Yet another homegirl had looked out

Things went back to normal, at least for a while
Spent my days in my room chillin, barefoot, African style
Bert served breakfast every morning, feeling like an only child
Not aware that would soon be turned inside out

Days later, I walked to the Doc on Airline
She wrote me a prescription, but my Medicaid was declined
I'm instantly pissed because this is NOT the first time
So I go on Facebook to vent, rant and preach

So in typical fashion I light up the keys
And I'm not typing words, like "thank you" and "please"
But after my rant I felt a bit more at ease
Because it's Facebook, and I have freedom of speech

Well I was dead wrong because there was a snitch
And I know who she was, an Eligibility bitch
Like a snake in the grass, or a rat in the ditch
She gossiped and got me caught up

So the following day, or maybe two
Aunt Bert calls my phone, asking "What did you do?"
"The police came here to the house, looking for you."
And I'm just like "What the fuck"

Scratching my head thinking, Do I turn myself in?
And I answer myself, "Hell nah nigga, it's the weekend!"
Might as well make it count and roll up with my friend
This bullshit will just have to wait

So the weekend goes by, and it's now Monday night
I've picked up my meds, and got two sets of whites
Drank on Beam, at some chicken, and got high as a kite
All the while praying they give me a break

But 85 days later I'm in jail writing this rhyme
It's been 85 days of very slow time
I've lost 85 days of life and I can't press rewind
39 of them spent in segregation

I didn't intend for this poem to sum up my life
But it highlights the good moments and those of strife
If this were a filmstrip I'd edit it, cut and splice
But this is live like a local news station

This is my life and it's my story to tell
About how I went from being born, to being in jail
Hence the word play in the title, "From Cell To Cell"
I just pray my words don't fall on deaf ears

Because we never know what path life will take
Like a driving school lesson, life can slam on the brakes
It can leave us stranded with big decisions to make
So gain wisdom and make good use of the years

I hope this poem has managed to entertain
And at the same time, create sparks in your brain
And make you think twice before you complain
About life, because each of ours is different

Then maybe you'll see that we've all come so far
We used to catch the bus, but now drive our own car
So thank all the people who remind you how special you are
Because it's life, and you don't live it alone


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