The Deep 

Freedom is a faraway vessel
rarely boarded,
inaccessible by way of shallows.
The sea is unforgiving.
Waves crash upon the shore,
cracking like an overseer's whip,
striking fear--
generational paralyzation.
No one plunges deep.
Instead, they stand on edges,
live in bones that hesitate,
never making headway.

© Timothy James Young, April 2021

I Am More

Wrongfully convicted,
“socially distanced”

Names are nullified.
Numbers are given–
erasing human existence.

Yet I exist as more
than a tapestry of imprisonment.
I am resistance.

© Timothy James Young, January 2021


I walked through the wilderness
A forest of new dimensions
Asphalt for grass, gun towers for trees
A zoo of rats, roaches,
And the shadows of men.

In this new nature
An enigmatic vision
Roses crack through concrete
And butterflies rest upon
Military grade razor-wire.

Permanently encased
In a matrix, a maze
Creatures of misfortune
Phantoms without names
Exhibits of no escape.

In the wilderness lies the bones
Of an endangered species
Numerical skeletons waste away
Compost for systemic machinations
Black ecology—a cry unheard!

© Timothy James Young, May 2020

Citizen: In Shades of Antebellum Blue

The world is wrong. You can’t put the past behind you. It’s
buried in you; it’s turned your flesh into its own cupboard.
                                                                            ~Claudia Rankine


African body / African amiss
Misery begins in the belly of a slave ship
Skeletal remains blanket the abyss
North Atlantic / bound and delivered
Sold off to the highest bidder
Centuries later they ask if I’m bitter?
To remember one’s holocaust
Is to forfeit American citizenship.


Ancestral cries
Black bodies dot the horizon
Crimson sun
Fingers raw from picking cotton
The moonlight stirs
Freedom is a whisper
Sunrise is genocide
In the eyes of the undelivered.


Immigrants die to come here
I’m dying to leave
It is asylum I seek
From three-fifths continuum
Article 1, section 2
Buoyancy far removed
Second class citizenship
A ship in need of rescue.


My citizenship is bullshit
It is a history omitted
Color based, second rate at best
A community in neglect
Conditions antebellum blue
No 40 acres / no mule
Reparations buried deep
Six feet beneath the daisies.


The abolition of slavery
Is illusory,
For where it ends
A prison nation begins
Manacled history
1863 to the 21st century
No mystery
Orange jumpsuits, blue misery.


They patrolled the plantations
They now patrol prisons,
Poor neighborhoods,
And manmade demarcations
Tangled engagement
Black criminalization
White cops / ebony crop
Mass incarceration.

© Timothy James Young, March 2020

Root of the Matter  

"Struggle" typifies a thousand branches Sprawling from a tree
Each limb an "Ism"
Born of the same seed.
Structural heirloom
A tree bequeathed
Inherited, enabled, enriched
By roots of racism.
"Ism" is a plague
Purge or be ruined
Plant anew!

© Timothy James Young, March 2020

Wings of Friendship 

Here in the dungeon
Amid condemned men
The weather of life Is often inclement
The winds of misery
Blow relentlessly
Fortunate is he
Who dares to transcend
Rising above it all
Fortunate is he
Who can spread his wings
And find friendship beyond the walls

© Timothy James Young, February 2020

Solitary Garden 

For Herman Wallace and jackie sumell
Solitary Garden
Is not just a plot of land
On the campus of UC Santa Cruz.
To the contrary,
It is an installation
An iteration
A destination worthy of gander.
Riddle it a spot
A spot where we grow crops
A spot where we grow thoughts
What kind of thoughts, you ask?
Thoughts of freedom and abolition
Thoughts of tearing down walls
And shutting down prisons.
Will into existence
A Green New Deal
Revolutionary in hue
Justice driven
New landscapes
No prisons.

© Timothy James Young, February 2020 

Do More Than Pity Me

What has sympathy ever done
To rectify historical wrongs,
Or to relieve one’s pain,
Suffering, and misery?
Do more than pity me:
Empathize, take action, avenge me!

© Timothy James Young, December 2019

Behind the Veil

Behind the veil
Lies a familiar face
A race
A particular stench
Stinking rich
Reeking of privilege
Their capitalism, a euphemism
For slavery, sweatshops, and low wages…

Behind the veil
Lies the top 1 percent
The upper echelon of
Capitalistic tricks
International poverty pimps
Bleeding the needy
The need to be greedy
Insidiously killing mankind…

Behind the veil
Lies are told
Propaganda sold
Wars waged
Natural resources siphoned away
Environmental decay
Capital rules the day
Humanity falls by the wayside…

© Timothy Young, January 2017

Featured in OVERTHROWING CAPITALISM Vol. 2: Beyond Endless War, Racist Police, Sexist Elites

Starve The Beast (revisited)

Plantation toil, penitentiary moil,
Where slavery ends
The Prison Industrial Complex begins
Stomach history
1863 to the 21st century
Wanton misery, no mystery,
Statistics quite frightening
Fraught with disparity

African Americans constitute
12% of the nation-----
50% of the prison population
That's mass incarceration
Modern day enslavement
Black lives on a platter
Served up

Forever strange fruit
Courtrooms abound with Black youth
Legal lynching ensues
The gavel is a noose
Freedom dismissed
American justice amiss
School to prison pipeline
Lucrative slave ship.

Dred Scott was the genesis
The aftermath stupendous
Millions of lost souls
Prison, probation, parole,
A dream deferred
A holocaust unrecognized.

A better world is possible
Prison abolition is logical
Proceed logically
Think beyond the bounds of
White supremacy
Starve the beast!

© Timothy James Young, December 2016