Halfway House Poets – Charles


My name is Charles and I’m 43-years-old. I come from Chicago, IL and was born a mixed child. I’m black and Spanish and I came from the Humboldt Park area. I was brought up by two wonderful parents that played a very big part in my life.

I was brought up around music and instruments which gave me inspiration in writing to the beats of both cultures. As I got older, I got interested in poetry, more say “spoken word.” With this, I’m able to surface my inner thoughts and get into the depths of myself and live life as a lyric to the beat of soul.

I’m a man of peace who ignores war and moves forward. Heaven before hell.
–Charles–

Part 2 of 4, The Halfway House Poets: Words of Faith by Former Inmates

Background on the series by Brandon Crockett:
About eight years ago, I began teaching a poetry class at St. Leonard’s Ministries, a halfway house for individuals recently released from prison on Chicago’s near west side. I went there, fresh out of college, with the anticipation that I would cause a paradigm shift for the residents and help them change their lives.

What ended up happening was far different.

It quickly became clear to me that the difference between those who spend time in prison and those who don’t is negligible, at best. True, our circumstances vary, but we all have the ability to choose how we respond to our current situation in the ever-present now.

It is in this that I choose to place my faith. And it is here that freedom is found.

Letter to God
By Charles Brister

I have a letter for you, Lord
My eyes see past my mental windows of vision
That capture moments of doing life inside me timed by the Lord’s precision
Lord, you’re my mission
For you, Lord, I stop, look, and listen
For you, Lord, I stop, look, and listen
For you, Lord, are never forgotten
I’m devoted in faith
And my prayers are never missin’
I sit here before you Heavenly Father, in praise, Lord, not only for me
But for my kids, my family, friends
And even for the ones that play enemy
That’s against you and me
The ones imprisoned by negativity
Lord, protect me from this captivity
Lord, protect me from this captivity
Because it is you that I only see
And it is you, Lord, that sets me free
It is you, Lord, that sets me free
Signed,
God’s Child

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