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Cheleta Tuckson

Cheleta Tuckson’s poem “My Eyes Have Seen What My Heart Has Felt” was selected by Clint Smith, guest editor for Poem-a-Day in February 2019, and published on February 22, 2019, in partnership with Free Minds Book Club & Writing Workshop, an organization based in Washington DC, that elevates voices of those directly impacted by the prison system through creative writing.

Cheleta Tuckson was born and raised in Washington D.C. At the age of 18, Cheleta was incarcerated as a first-time offender and sentenced to serve 8 years in prison. She now works to provide social support and life skills training to women in prison who are dealing with anger issues as a result of trauma.

 

By This Poet

1

My Eyes Have Seen What My Heart Has Felt

Guilty Guilty Guilty for actions that took my sympathy
Shackles around my wrist shackles at my feet
Prom and high school graduation these eyes will never see
My heart said, Oh well
At least you will no longer have to endure your daily home abuse
I grew into a woman unbalanced behind those wire fences
Recall (3xs) that’s all I knew
Always committing some illegal offenses straight to the SHU
These eyes have seen the bottom of boots,
Mace in the face,
The heavy blue dress while people watch you 24hrs a day,
A lock in a sock,
Shall I go on?
My heart was always heavy
when I constantly placed myself back in the same abuse
I thought I would escape
I knew I had something in me worth showing the world, but what?
Fighting my demons was real tuff
A peaceful life didn’t feel so ruff
I opened my mouth and people was shocked
That I could read, count, think, understand, listen, play chess, learn a trade
They started to see my worth
My eyes have seen a life the majority would have failed surviving
Rape, abuse, homelessness, parent-less, drugs, prison, mental health, failure
My heart became strong enough to finally love myself
And I finally looked up to the woman in the mirror