Charles Bassett 


Redemption is Real

A Poem by Charles Bassett

I once inhaled freedom like a breath of fresh air Carelessly taking for granted that it would always be there Wasting time at the intersection of Reckless and Stupidity streets Where poor decisions and thoughtless acts often meet The era that I’m from, people in the streets spoke two languages, broken English and firearm Spewing out metal words like copper jacks didn’t inflict deadly harm Diagnosed by street shrinks with a Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde personality To survive in my madness, I adopted I don’t-give-a-fuck ideology My parents being proud of me imagine that I kept my distance so they couldn’t bear witness to my decline My mind, in retrospect, I was on some dumbshit Trapped like a fly in the mix So sick, I didn’t think my behavior was all that rough But then again, why did I find myself in the back of a police car handcuffed? Charged with taking a life Suddenly, awakened to reality of forfeiting my own life What a life The judge sentenced me to life 23 years old No longer so bold Glaring in the judge’s eyes so cold Speaking of eyes How do I look my mother in her teary eyes Silently asking why Her only son French kissing the world he once knew goodbye How do I reconcile in my mind of how to do this time The first prison cell they warehoused me in wasn’t fit for mice or men A three-stained mattress upon a rusted cot broken toilet and no sink nothing to do but think I now inhale incarceration with each breath I take Choking on confinement like carbon monoxide My hands are up, but not in surrender, I can’t breathe A 40-foot prison wall encloses me, I can’t leave Prison air suffocating me I can’t breathe But I won’t give up, there’s too much to achieve The idea that a person can’t be redeemed needs to be discredited All I have is my life left, for a second chance, I’ll bet it Time to rebuild this broken soul Take responsibility for the poison I sowed Journey on the trail of tears you cause That terrible sin Human loss Never again will I be labeled a “public enemy” Or adopt an unflattering identity Repentance is offered not because one got caught, or being sentenced to a heap of time But rather feeling shame and the guilt of the sin one left behind Rehabilitation, is it possible? Can a person be renewed? Yes, as long as you’re sincere, there’s goodness that can be pursued Redemption is real Even when you’re confined by concrete and steel I will never stop making amends What you predict to be my ending, I shall begin “Lock ’em up and throw away the key,” the hardliners love to stick to this stance But who wouldn’t give themselves a second chance?


—– By Charles Bassett

Charles”Lil Charlie” Bassett, 27 served, 1991

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Smart Communications/PA DOC Charles Bassett BV2576
St. Petersburg, Fla. 33733

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