By Eddie Williams

I’m rougher than any thug. I don’t do hugs, there is no room for love. I’m free of all prejudice. I hate everyone equally. Consumed by the isolation and the same old routine, I breakdown the weak so easily. Empowered by the thirteenth amendment. I own you slave! Ankles scarred, wrists swelled, handcuffed and shackled, never again will you be without a blemish. I’m the only subject in your sentence. I’m a graduate school for the dropouts. And I have given out more degrees than a university. I’m a genius. Capitalize on your bad decision. And once I take hold, it’ll be worse than any drug. Dependent broken soul give up hope all ye who enter here. Like gravity I pull the nefarious toward me. And even if he does make a break, it won’t matter to me. I still remain full to capacity with all the coming and going like cavities. So, give me your tired, your rich and poor. No, I’m not America, just it’s addiction, mass incarceration with no rehabilitation. I was here before Jesus and the masses have tried me before they have tried religion. I go by many names, but you can call me prison. ■

Originally published in the Fall/Winter 2018 edition of Stateville Speaks.

Upcoming Fundraiser for Stateville Speaks and Parole Illinois

An evening in support of two outstanding social justice organizations — Stateville Speaks and Parole Illinois — will be held on Saturday, June 15.  Featuring screenings of the documentary “Stateville Calling,” artwork by incarcerated artists, inspiring words by lifelong activist Bill Ryan and formerly incarcerated speakers, and special performances by locally based and nationally acclaimed performance artists, Kuumba Lynx and Kwyn Townsend Riley. Purchase tickets here.

Date And Time

Sat, June 15, 2019
6:00 PM – 9:00 PM CDT


The Home of Leonard Goodman
3000 N. Lake Shore Drive
Chicago, IL 60657
View Map

Purchase tickets here.