Writings Straight from the Pen

Writings posted on this page are intended to help those from the inside to have a voice on the outside, by posting their writings here for all to see. Enjoy and appreciate the struggles and difficulties those on the inside have to get a manuscript ready for publication and submission to whoever gives them an ear.

My Ears Hear Their Cries and Shouts of Joy.

Straight from the Pen

About Breaking Free Poets by Michael Newman

Breaking Free Poets is a group of writers, thinkers, and activists which formed at FCI Petersburg, VA in 2017. We started out with the simple idea to bring people together to produce a poetry slam in the prison chapel. The turnout and response was so powerful and far beyond expectations that we couldn’t stop with just one performance! From there, we went on to produce more shows and eventually created a poetry blog with help from outside supporters. Since then we’ve connected with some amazing organizations like FairShake, Free Minds D.C., and others.

Our weekly meetings have been an outlet for us to process, write, and talk about issues within the prison and in the outside world. This breaks the cycle of negative interaction that can take over in a prison environment, and provides a sanctuary. The group also offers us a small slice of autonomy and individual expression in an environment where these are suppressed in so many ways.

As members of our original group are released, they hope to continue the work we started here. We know that people without a voice disappear from a democracy. We want to make our voices heard on the inside and outside of prison to advocate for the freedom of our imprisoned brothers and sisters everywhere. We currently making partnerships to produce media content, live performances, and speak publicly to tell our stories and advocate for people and communities negatively impacted by the criminal justice system.

Mike Newman

Founder, Breaking Free Poets & Breaking Free Media
connect with us:
On Instagram: @breakingfreepoets



Love Makes the World Smile

LOVE by Johnnie Burns

I remember, back when I was a young impetuous adolescent. Me and my girlfriend were arguing at each other. Then I angrily shoved her by her face. I had instantly regretted putting my hands on her and thought how foul that would be if the females of my family would have seen that, and on top of that her response to my action was so profound and disturbing. I would never forget it! She said, “Nigga, don’t put your hands on me, you don’t love me!”

Now that I am grown, I see other grown men and women alike with that same mind frame, as that impetuous adolescent had all those years ago. Grown people being controlled by their emotions. As opposed to acting like they are grown and controlling their emotions! Yeah, I know that is a radical idea. But, bear with me? As kids and small children, we lack the mental tools of working out problems, and/or being self-reliant. So, they cry and throw tantrums! Any way to act out, because they need the love and guidance of adults (grown people)! And I find it very disturbing to see grown people acting as if they are kids and small children.

So, ‘we’ as grown people are unable to understand the simplest and purest aspects of love. So, we distort it, control, and abuse it. We become dictators and place every imaginable condition on love, until it is unrecognizable. No wonder we believe that there’s a thin line between love and hate. Please think about it for a moment. If love was supposed to hurt, trap you emotionally, mentally scar you, or to take advantage of you then why would you need enemies?

On the contrary, love is supposed to make you fly! It releases your greatest potentials. There’s not a thin line between love and hate, there is an ocean between the two. You cannot stifle love by placing conditions on it! Because love is supposed to breathe and flourish. Love is simply this, in its truest form, giving and asking for nothing in return. So, when our hearts and minds allow this then we have truly found that ever-elusive LOVE! Then and only then would we stop acting as kids Рallowing our emotions to control us Рby throwing violent tantrums in a fit of jealous rage! All in an effort of controlling our significant other. As if we had the authority to control and bully others.

Yes, we must grow up and release that impetuous adolescent that’s within. Then we can start to release the true power of love.

Peace, love, and blessings.