Archived from April 2017

When we wake up in this spring season and see the sun creeping through our blinds, many of us quickly open the window or check an app to see what the weather is. This is especially true in NYC where we have one shot at nailing our wardrobe before setting off on foot for the rest of the day. Sweater/umbrella or nah?—can make or break an otherwise pleasant afternoon.

When I arrive at Rikers, my students size me up: they see the sun shining outside the window but since the officers wear the same uniform throughout the year, they look for my clothes to signal what it feels like outside.

“Is it warm?” two of the girls asked in response to the sweater dress and leggings I had on yesterday.

“It’s chilly,” I told them. “Just looks warm.” I need a better weather app.

It’s easy to take seeing the sun and feeling it’s warmth for granted. Joni Mitchell never lied, “You don’t know what you got til it’s gone.” What little freedoms might you miss?

(currently-incarcerated students’ work has been taken down, pending department approval)



I don’t wanna die

or go to jail

Cause inside here

this shit’s like hell

Look around

and what do you see?

Darkness outside

and inside of me

If I was given a chance

I would change

Tired of this life

tired of being estranged

Lock-In Thoughts

By S.

I feel alone

Lonely and young

Is hope bringing hope

Is faith bringing faith

Love don’t bring love

Hate bring hate

And freedom…

Freedom is taken in just a snap

How you flying with no wings?

How you think with no brain?

But I won’t be alone

Won’t be lonely or young no more

I bring hope and faith

I am a shining star

I shine brighter than the sun

I overpower love and hate

I bring power and strength

Don’t worry I got family DTB! DTN!


I’m sorry for not being the best mom. I promise I’ll change and be better for us. The streets dragged me in; I love fast money and violence. Mama isn’t giving so I gotta get.

A. C.

It’s supposed to be 84 degrees tomorrow—but don’t take my word for it.

Gigi Blanchard