Cottonwood Kisses

By: Elias Rivas


Sweet and Soft…

as the cottonwood blooms.

Her fair skin, familiar face.

Tantalizing lips, as soft as…

as the cottonwood blooms.

Eyes setting like the sun,

on Sandia peaks.

Reflecting the rosy color…

of her spanish cheeks.


Sweet and soft…

as the cottonwood blooms.

All of Albuquerque's roads,

lead to you.

As the the cottonwood blooms,

reminiscent of my past,

Cattails in a shadow cast.

All of these a hue of your beauty.

I shall surely remember you…

as the cottonwood blooms.

Elias Rivas

"I'm 21 years old. I'm from Albuquerque, New Mexico. I've been arrested nine times, three times as a juvenile, the rest as an adult. I come from a background of gang violence, drug use, and sexual and physical abuse. Alcoholism has been a struggle for me. I am currently incarcerated in Douglas County Corrections in Omaha, Nebraska. I hope to publish a book of poetry and an autobiography some day. I want to become an example of change over the next few years. If I can impart any wisdom, it would be to face your problems head on. Get help. Do not do it alone. Be fearless. Addiction, violence, and abuse can happen to any one, but you are never as alone as you think you are. The world is in my prayers."

-Elias Rivas, 2019 

Nice to Meet You

By: Elias Rivas


Inside your brain,

I make you a slave.

Here you will lay,

In a metaphor of chains.

Viens like railways,

upon scuffed skin.

Needles run through,

delivering me within.

In a distant place,

far from home.

You push me in,

and catch the taste.

Always that pain.

Always that way.

Repeating every day.

You lay to waste,

Forever to remember,

that first taste.

For the next dose,

you run full pace.

I am a demon,

Who laughs in your face.

So beg of your children,

run from this place.

I’ll tell you what they say,

But heed my plea.

One time may be fine,

though you may never escape.

To think I’m your friend,

Is a big mistake.

I’ll take all you have,

and give you a grave.

If you lose your family,

it is me you can thank.

I’m here, I’m there,

you can find me anywhere.

So if you dare,

to test my strength,

I’ll steal your breath…

Nice to meet you,

I’m Crystal Meth.

A Key to Happiness

By: Elias Rivas


Coldly built is the mind.

The mind of someone brought up in poverty.

Brought up in poverty, as opposed to those brought up properly.

Brought up properly, but taught to base worth on property.

Worth on property, should be a novelty.

Be a novelty. Life is not so serious.

So serious is only the person who takes himself as such.

As such, I was taught happiness is a place or thought.

A place or thought you cannot buy.

You cannot buy away the problems of your life.

The problems of your life can only be resolved.

Resolved when you stop trying to solve.

To solve the mystery, it’s not about the beginning.

Beginning or the end.

End that way of thought.

Stop all the nonsense. Enjoy the walk.

When the Lights Go Off

By: Elias Rivas


Your eyes pry off the fabric.

It’s only a barrier for our magic.

A river flows as our passion grows.

We dip, we dive, as we enter each other's lives.

Entangled, molded together as clay.

Together our sounds create a serenade.

I feel your warmth like a summer’s day.

For hours, we swing and sway.

The contrast of our skin.

We climb in the wind, into the sky.

Catching your breath into mine.

Yout dark embrace makes me feel divine.

falling into your abyss.

Soon after the lights switch.

Sick Poetry

By Elias Rivas


This is the type of poetry to make you sick!

For the faint of heart do not listen…

Lies are spoken through the mouth,

But tear your guts to ribbons.

In a world where you can take kids from parents,

And apparently that’s just okay.

Just okay that lies are poured into concrete facts.


This is the type of poetry to make you sick!

For the innocent of soul do not listen.

Violence repays violence,

So if you get hit better get to hittin’.

In a world where it’s okay to hit women,

And apparently that’s just okay.

Just okay that we don’t deal with anger.


This is the type of poetry to make you sick!

For the people of stronger will do not listen.

Drugs and alcohol are relevant to our culture.

Overdose, over intoxication, results of complacency.

In a world where we glorify gettin’ high.

And apparently that’s just okay.

Just okay that some of us choose this way.


This is the type of poetry to make you sick!

For the people who do no wrong to not listen.

You can be guilty of one thing but not another.

but it happens to be a female who lays blame.

In a world where you’re automatically put in chains.

And apparently that’s just okay.

Just okay that no one believes a criminal.


This is the type of poetry to make you sick!

For the people still reading, please listen.

I’m far from innocent, in my own eyes.

I probably deserve to do a little time.

In a world that says it’s better off without me

And apparently that’s just okay.

Just okay that you all doubt me.


I’ve lived the kind of life to make you sick.

For the people still reading, listen.

I’m ready to live life different, try a new position.

In a world where I might fit in

And I might just be okay.

Just okay if I can change myself today.


This is the type of poetry to make you sick!

By Definition

By: Elias Rivas


Aspiration can be a strong desire for high achievement.

It can also be an expulsion of breath in speech;

As I asphyxiate under its weighted feet.

I aspire to be great.

It’s a catch 22 though,

being locked up behind bars and grates.

It seems incarceration decides your fate.

They labeled me indigent…

Which by definition…

means destitute and needy.

It’s real neat the power of words

I’m attempting to be the personification of a verb.

Which is a function, to express existence.

I expect to exist, I expect to be great.

I won’t let their definitions define what I create.

I may end up a felon, I may end up in prison.

But that won’t interfere with my artistic vision. 



By: Elias Rivas


The silence can be so deafening, yes?

Whispers of a people oppressed, suggests.

A hierarchy of power unbalanced.

The words resources held in a chalice.

Sipped by men with nothing but malice!

Given their way they would build a palace.

Built and cemented in bones of the poor!

Ignoring all our screams when we ask for more!

Only listening if we ask for war.

But that’s inline with their wishes and plan.

Murder each other, no blood on their hands!


Disease is a profitable business.

Big pharma chooses sickness over health!

Most don’t realize the hand they’ve been dealt.

Antibiotics create an indestructible virus!

They sell death by cancer and no kindness.

But people believe them steadily lying.

Money buys cures so the poor die fighting.


C.I.A invented crack to kill blacks!

Start wars, selling drugs to cover the tax!

Spilling blood in oil and collecting spoils!

War crimes in Afghanistan, Vietnam!

Government sets unrest in Lebanon!

Just covers to burn rubber over land.

Hopefully words will make you understand.


Sorry not sorry

By: Elias Rivas


In a place so flavorless,

Where all we eat is grits.

I never thought I’d miss...

The feeling of a big pair of...

Oh did I go to far?

I won’t follow your criteria;

For fear of being sub-par.


I write from my heart;

So sometimes it doesn’t sound so smart.

But, it’s honest...

Have fun trying to pick it apart.

Real recognize real.

Sorry not sorry fuck how you feel.

One day my writing will earn my meals.


Similes of water

By: Elias Rivas


Time flows over cement ramparts.

Like an ocean flows over the sea bed.

Inside the jail walls time is stagnant.

As a man made pool in ruin.

Conversations cell to cell pitter around.

Like raindrops hitting the rec yards grounds


The outside goes on no matter our stasis.

Like a major motion picture, it must go on.

For as we live the same day.

As an animal hunts day by day.

Our words have no impact.

Like the divots in dirt left by rain.


Swallowed up in an ocean it seems.

All of us wish to be free.


My First Home

By: Elias Rivas


True stretching drive, covered in trees.

Leading to the house of my childhood dreams.

In the valley in the meadows lay this place.

So much nature, blocking the view of space.

In the stables two horses ran with grace.

When the gates were opened, the fields flood.

Leaving behind a toy box of mud.

Here me and my brother would have fun.

Beating each other with sticks till the day was done.

Here I would plant my first garden.

And help build a pond.

Here I grew memories, I also grew bonds.

And grew fond of this house.

All the time I wish I could be there now.

The fine gravel of the drive.

Under my traveling feet.

My school just down the street.

Life was simple the nature sweet.

Apples grew in the yard, then fell to your feet.

So the horses always had treats to eat.

Animal tracks in the meat of the soil.

Showed how to the land we were loyal.

Poor as we were I was spoiled.


Where art thou

By: Elias Rivas


Where art thou my fair friends?

We used to walk,

For long distance,

To the ends of the earth.


You all made me feel so strong.

Immune to all,

Thy armor donned,

With you I was never wrong.


With you never was I alone.

You provided all,

Speaking to me,

Even in the darkest weather.


Then it all changed...


Where art thou my old friends.

I bear blisters,

For the distance,

Now I sit sedimentary.


I used to think I was strong.

Now I’m weak,

Prone to exposure,

My decisions crumble to dust.


Now I sit alone holding my vice.

You’ve taken all,

With nothing to say,

You’ve taken all my joy.


I think it is time to throw you away.



Red Widow’s Last Dance

By: Elias Rivas


In a dreary dream I lay.

Is today the last day?

No longer am I young.

My fair hair is now white silk.

My thin hunched body bare,

under the hospital garment I wear.

Deep hazel eyes, no tears in sight.

I’ve lived long…


I am not afraid to die!

My jutting chin held high.

My nails curve like the edge of a spoon.

I know my time is coming soon.

Slim, slender legs, used to dance.

So soon… I’ll have my final chance.

To hold a lover who long has passed.


Will I appear as I do now?

Or will I wear a red dress down to the ground.

My hair thick, blonde, bound up high.

My supple body, catching his eye.

My face sculpted to compliment the light.

My nails painted like the stars at night.

Either way, it is still all right.

For my love is to be at my side… In my sight.

That is the last she would write.

It’s Not Over in a Flash

By: Elias Rivas


Sorry, like the man who jumped from a cliff. Wishing he

could take it back. His stomach sinks like the Titanic,

the water sprints at him like an olympic sprinter, with

a deafening shriek screaming in his ear…

Then… All that’s left is to hope you don’t feel it.


It’s too late.


Sorry, like the man holding a pistol to a young man’s head.

He’s already gone too far, sweating bullets that hit the

ground like nails falling from a carpenter’s mouth.

Then… With a tinge of gunpowder in the air…


It’s too late.


Sorry, like the abusive spouse, tearing himself and his loved

one’s apart. Sure, there’s more to it than that. He loved

her so, but it’s like he sold his soul. Instantly he

wishes he could take it back…

She didn’t deserve that…


It’s too late.


Sorry, like that guy just having fun. He was drinking from

4pm to eleven, he was driving to the next bar over, she

was driving home from work to her kids.

He wonders if he’s driving on the median, In a flash of

screaming and steel and shattered glass…


It’s too late.


It’s too late…

Some mistakes you can’t take back…

Sometimes it takes a lot to teach us that…

Please let my words impart some wisdom.

Because I’d never with these things on anyone.





Reverse Thinking

By: Elias Rivas


Somewhere I can be free?

Cold concrete, under a dripping sink?

Bright fluorescence penetrating my sleep?

C.O’s tell me when to eat?

But in essence, I’m free?

Only confined by what I see?

Inside literature I can find keys?

Keys unlock my inner peace?


Stop asking questions and you’ll see…


Keys unlock my inner peace!

Inside Literature I can find keys!

Only confined by what I see!

But in essence I’m free!

C.O’s tell me when to eat!

Bright fluorescence penetrates my sleep!

Cold concrete, under a dripping sink!

Somewhere, I can be free!

With a little reverse thinking...



Children Again

By: Irvin Surber

What I hear around here is why things are so bad.
Why don’t people look for the good that goes on?
Change is not so hard if you look at what you want.
People seem to go the same way every day.
Don’t they see the street of change ahead?
Children are so free to change every day.
Let’s be children again and change our ways.

Sweet Child

By: Irvin Surber

He is such a sweet child -
Where did the wrong creep in?
He was taken on the wrong road -
Can he ever find his way back?
I pray he will soon;
Come back, be that sweet child again.


“Come unto me, and I will give you rest.” ~ Jesus

By: Irvin Surber

We make life hard on ourselves.
We think we know what is good,
Only to be in pain all the time.
Sadness seems like it is normal;
All we want is to be happy.
The voice keeps calling –
“Come unto me, and I will give you rest.”
When will we listen?

New Changes

By: Irvin Surber

I have changed back to that person I was.
I want you to see the new me.
Will you look to see the new me? –
The guy you want me to be,
Or will you go on with closed eyes?
Never giving a change to the new –
Only looking at the old in judgement.
Enough time has passed to take a breath.
It’s a new day, a new me.

Irvin Surber


By: Rashied Griffo Sr.

I once read it is not good for a man to be alone.

Woman was taken from man’s rib,

flesh of my flesh, bone of my bone.

As I sit in jail and stare at these walls late night

self reflections of myself alone.


No love to call on the phone, no letter, no visit.

I used to smell her sweet perfume over calligraphy.


We spoke our own vernacular. The fireworks were spectacular.

Used to love to rub my hand on her back.

It always ended up more than a massage,


but now I’ve grown stronger, through days longer,

understanding the significance of keeping my honor.


I once read it’s not good for a man to be alone.

Seems like I’m on this journey, till I get back home.

Being alone can be a self revelation,

if you take it the right way.

Rashied Griffo Sr.