This poem was one of two 2nd place winners in the 2019 Words Unlocked poetry contest hosted by the Center for Educational Excellence in Alternative Settings.
I’m locked up, choked, covered, and tied by iron and steel chains,
Chains that cannot be fought by strength but by brains,
These chains have bound around my body, mind and soul,
Two-to-three years of my growing adolescence have they stole,
Too many times have I had these metal snakes biting into my skin,
Sharp teeth digging at my wrists and ankles digging deeper within.
Too many times I seen another like myself having turned and made mistakes,
Wishing they could go back and change their ways,
Looking for someone else to blame and who should pay,
I remember when I was that same way a few years remain.
But, I understand I’m riding this road alone; if want to pass their will be a toll,
Luckily for me, I’ll soon be home and free,
But many others are not able to say the same,
Some have chosen to stick to this life and claim it for themselves to be,
Others plead and cry and hate themselves for joining their friend’s stupid “game”.
One mistake will change a life more than they may think,
Our choices will lead you down paths and roads you will either love or hate,
Only very few make it out without being pushed to the brink,
I hope my words have gotten through to help, before it’s too late!
Anthony attends school at the Pinellas Juvenile Detention Center in Florida.