On January 22, 2017, Inside Out – A Poetry Reading was held before a sold-out crowd at Vino’s in Little Rock, Arkansas. This fundraising effort by decARcerate, (a grassroots community group focused on reducing the prison population in Arkansas through smart legislation and community action) benefitting Pipeline Documentary Film, a feature-length documentary film exploring Arkansas’s “Cradle to Prison Pipeline”, directed by Zachary Crow.
After asking for poems from inside prisons, statewide, more than 100 entries were received. A panel of local poets and a film director carefully sought out those that best fit what they sought to do and, in the process, tell a story about the diverse experiences of life and incarceration in the Arkansas prison system.
The following was Heath’s entry; one of 29 read by a panel of eight, consisting of poets, teachers, freelance performance artists, and other prominent individuals of the arts. In his piece, Heath speaks of visiting the younger, innocent version of himself wanting to protect him, warn him, shield him from the life-altering results of the childhood sexual abuse he endured at the hand of a man protected by the community in which he lived under an umbrella of power, prestige, and politics.
If you were unable to attend but wish to support the efforts of Mr. Crow, feel free to visit the website posted above. The voices of many incarcerated men were heard during this reading, let them hear yours in support.
To learn more about Heath’s story, please visit his website.