Excerpt for Beyond The Bars by , available in its entirety at Smashwords

Beyond The Bars

By Joseph R. Mays

Beyond The Bars Smashwords edition

Copyright © 2016 by Joseph Mays

Smashwords License Statement

This ebook is licensed for your personal enjoyment only. This ebook may not be re-sold or given away to other people. If you would like to share this book with another person, please purchase an additional copy for each reader. If you’re reading this book and did not purchase it, or it was not purchased for your use only, then please return to Smashwords.com and purchase your own copy. Thank you for respecting the hard work of this author.

Disclaimer: This is a work of fiction. All characters are totally from the imagination of the author and depict no persons, living or dead; any similarity is totally coincidental.

Self-Published with assistance from


POBox 69

Berryville AR 72616

(870) 210-3772



I would like to thank God, first and foremost, for guiding me to this point; the realization of a dream. My dream to be a published author.

I would like to thank my Mom for instilling God in me. Without her, none of this would be possible.

I want to thank my Dad for standing by me during this dark time in my life. We both know this was never a path I wanted to take and I thank him for being there for me from day one.

I want to thank my late aunt Elaine. I know she is in heaven smiling down on me. I miss you.

I thank my Aunt Yvonne for reinforcing what my Mom did by sending me uplifting scriptures.

I would like to also thank the following people as well: My sister Tammy, my brother Michael, my nieces Belinda, Nikki, and Amarrie. My aunts Ann, Estelle, Lucille and my cousin Nessie. I love you all. Thanks for keeping in touch when I needed you most.

I want to thank Blurb.com and CreateSpace.com for giving me a start in 2009.

I want to thank the people at the Library of Congress for their professionalism and for helping me to get my poetry registered and officially copyrighted.

And last, but definitely not least, I want to thank Midnight Express Books for putting me on Cloud Nine and giving me a chance to publish my book and realize my dreams. My hat’s off to them and I look forward to publishing many, many more books with them.

Prisoners Are People, Too

Prisoners are people; just like you,

They have family and loved ones who love them, too.

Not everyone in jail wanted it that way,

Could be faulty evidence or life gone astray.

Subject to interpretation of the laws as courts see fit,

Some prisoners subject to exoneration they fail to acquit.

Some prisoners deal with captors who operate as they choose,

Their (captors) only objective is to misuse and abuse.

And when some prisoners choose to complain,

They find their (administrative) efforts are in vain.

We have the right to be housed, clothed, and fed,

Along with the right not to be misled.

The judges and courts have handed down their sentences; all this is through,

We don’t need no secondary judgments from you.

No matter whether the judgments are true,

I want you to know that prisoners are people, too.


Often we encounter, during the course of our life and/or during the day,

People (detractors) whose sole intention is to stop you and get in the way.

The distraction can be significant and you feel like you’ve run into a brick wall,

You become exhausted, overwhelmed, and wonder how you will make it at all.

They stand in your way hoping you won’t succeed,

In your mind you know failure is not an option and success is a need.

Be strong, stand up, and don’t be afraid,

It’s a choice that you’ll be glad that you made.

You can break down their walls in one swift stroke,

By harnessing the power from that inner fire that you stoke.

That wall can be moved; it will come tumbling down,

And you can come forward and turn things around.

Detractors are temporary bumps in the road; people who aren’t what they seem,

Don’t let them stop you; get up, get going and pursue your dream.

The Sun Still Comes Up

Sometimes hope can be lost when we (prisoners) land in jail,

We do our best to cope; to no avail.

There are physical barriers; usually a fence or a wall,

Some people may even think about ending it all.

Depression can be rampant; activities are few,

The walls of the prison seem to close in on you.

In the beginning, the days go by so slow, it makes you want to scream,

The sadness and heaviness of your heart causes tears to stream.

These are typical feelings of being locked up; don’t fall victim to embarrassment and shame,

Finding a way to cope with it is the goal for which you should aim.

Just as sure as we have the moon and the stars,

The sun still comes up; even behind the bars.


Opportunity can appear before us at any time; sometimes right before our face,

But people often choose to ignore it and remain in place.

Opportunities can be common and some can be rare,

You must seize each and every opportunity, if, about yourself, you care.

Opportunity is like a pearl or a precious gem,

We must capitalize on each and every one of them.

Opportunities can be big; opportunities can be small,

But we must do the prudent thing and take advantage of them all.

In closing, I leave you with a heartfelt and informative message from me,

Please take time out to recognize and take advantage of each opportunity.

Take Action

Take action; don’t wait; don’t delay,

Procrastination is about YOU getting in your way.

Taking that first step can be difficult, but it can be done,

To get your plan moving from a crawl to a run.

Take action; write out and formulate a plan,

And tell yourself, “I can do this!”; “I will!”; “I can!”

Take action; this is something I know you can do,

Take action NOW to make your dreams come true.


Here I sit behind these prison walls,

As a result of life’s pitfalls.

Others who are facing the same fate know what it has done to me,

It is a terrible thing when you’re no longer free.

I have pledged, as in this cell I sit,

Never to let it (prison) take my kindness, humor, and wit.

It is a painful ordeal when you are behind the bars,

It’s impact on families and loved ones will leave emotional scars.

You’re told what to do and what to wear,

And it gets even worse when your captors don’t care.

It applies equally to both women and men,

Who, in some cases, get taken advantage of again and again.

Prison is a place I never wanted to go,

It is a tragic result when my mind let go.

If you’re out there committing crimes, I want you to see,

That prison is not a place that you want to be.

Turn your life around and do the right thing,

And learn to appreciate everyone and everything.

As sure as I know that Christ is risen,

I’ll never be completely happy until I am released from prison.

I Yearn to Be Free

I want to be free from this prison; I yearn to be free,

I ask God for a more positive alternative to this life; this long journey.

I wish I was an eagle flying during the day,

Riding the thermals; up, up, and away.

There are things I want to do; I yearn to be free,

So my daughter can spend more time with me.

I yearn to be free; I don’t like this choice,

I ask you God to please hear my voice.

I miss my family; I yearn to be free,

I wanted to watch our family grow; my brother and me.

I yearn to be free; there were places I wanted to go and see,

I wanted to go back to some places visited by me.

Purchase this book or download sample versions for your ebook reader.
(Pages 1-6 show above.)