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Showing posts from July 30, 2015


The report of the death by suicide of twenty-two year old Kalief Browder haunts me.Hearing a story about a young man who has been incarcerated at the age of 16 is not new to me.For the past 16 years, my mailbox has been flooded with letters from incarcerated men who are Fathers from Maine to Hawaii asking me to publish their poems and articles who tell me that their journey to prison began at age 16 or 17.The horrors that they have witnessed or have been the victims of, their dehumanization, and their deep spiritual, emotional, and psychological pain are always unspoken. Writers, like musicians, “speak in code”.It is the “code” – the “unspoken” --that I see and hear.I seetheir tears and hear their silent screams in every comma and in every empty space between every word and paragraph of every poem and everyessay that I read and publish.
Kalief’s life was turned inside out at the age of 16 when he found himself incarcerated at Rikers Island --one of the global village’s largest correcti…