Dom Barber




In 2012, I was 20 years old. It took 17 short days for someone to release my inner idiot. I was born, “Ashley,” but I go by Dominic, I am a transmale inmate serving Death by Incarceration. I had no prior record, did not actually kill anyone, and am expected to never get a 2nd chance. I made the mistake many young people do, trust their first love. I’ve spent nearly 7 years wishing, praying, I’d never met her, should have stayed in college, I could have stopped all of this, before it ever happened. I would easily trade my life for my victim to come back. I am haunted by the conversations I’ve had with her in my mind; I never meant for this to happen. They say you control your own destiny, now the “you” is a place called corrections, that’s never “corrected” anyone. They didn’t even allow me to see my mother before she passed, the only real love I ever knew. For her, for the truth, I will never stop fighting this sentence, never let them get what they want out of me, I will not submit. I am currently on a PCRA that’s at Superior Court, base on my 1st attorney’s coercion of getting me to sign a plea to life, a month before trial, and 2 weeks after my co-defendant singed one. No one in their right minds signs away their life.


My life consisted of pure rage before I was old enough to remember how it began. Born and raised in the Northwest or Ohio I could easily use “struggle” as the area description and be on point. They say love is the best thing in the world, whoever “they” are obviously didn’t live my life. I was the product of simple city poor white trash and it took me too long to figure out that road was my choice to follow. Every time I tried to escape the fate, she drew me back.Love? Well, it can drive a man to ruin his life. I met her 15 years into my days, and she spun me like a top, round and round. My mother raised a wise man, but damn if I didn’t fall into the rabbit hole every time I took a step.

I had never felt love, weak or care about someone, let alone have it returned. When she said jump, I didn’t even ask how high, I just did it until I couldn’t move. My feet scar’d for life. That’s my life now, Life. It takes on a whole new grim depth when you know I got it at 20 years old. 6 ½ years later, it feels like my life ain’t mine, I don’t even recognize this sober independent man I see in the mirror. I finally know this, I fucked up.

God knows I don’t see the light at the end of the tunnel. Prison raised me. Struggle created me. The young and hopeless, where’s the glory in that? My freedom is my religion; one day, some way, I’ll go home, right?



Rain, rain, go away.

Don’t bring me this reflection again, today.

Razor wire towering high,

Electric fences trick me to try.

Top of the hill morning crying,

It’s the reform I’m not buying.

Chestnut to grey in a blink,

Now my shoulders slink.

Rain, rain, remind me,

What’s left in the past behind me.

Who I used to be, took a chance to believe,

Let lies lead and cut the rope thrown to me.

Puddles subtly kill me deep within,

Strain to breath again, pouring.

Must not be worth it,

Not a letter, no love, fated to sit.

Rain, rain, I see now.

Here to wash away the dreams,

To fill in the holes, chase away the ghouls.

Rain, rain, rain,

Go away!

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