The Reason


There’s always a reason behind struggle,

a point needed to be reached,

a tool that assists you in growing beyond your wildest dreams.

Invite stress to tussle with patience,

allow determination to fight against mental decay,

disavow stagnation, banishing deceleration

knowing you’re moving at the desired speed.


Keep enemies to your success close enough to see it achieved,

maybe it will breed in them the desire to succeed.

It’s about using the elements around you to perfect your plan,

some of which demand you take a little heat.

Beat a little more out of you,

squeeze the fibers of your heartstrings,

never thinking it would secrete anything leaning towards destiny.


Pray for pain to be removed, testing measures strength,

and more will be poured into you if you’re weak.

If the goal is for you to be left standing,

then this extraordinary suffering is for a reason,

and that reason is, you’re headed for something amazing.



Installment Plan


I smell a gut-wrenching odor of inactivity rising

in a melting pot of shortcomings,

lifetimes undermined by a slow intoxication of common sense.

Mining for precious metals in places that don’t house them,

clouding their visions with aspirations of mountains

towering over horizons that are outdated,

having a horrifying end.


See brothers betting on unfavorable odds,

operating with fed-tapped phones,

risking indictment just for a wave of cash flow

so they can say they made it, take a few pics and save them

for the day someone calls them broke,

elated for memories,

self-absorbed in the artifacts of a hustle

that they’re not prepared to go home.


Just a slow burn that deteriorates any growth,

amounts your successes to moments,

blips on a radar that disappears

before you can hone in on its location.

See people salivating for years for a freedom

that will further incarcerate,

a tear drops before it leaves my face,

a reminder that life is but a vapor,

here today and tomorrow passes away.


Praying that my fire never leaves

before I become least among greats: immeasurable.



Coping Skills


He uses anger as a coping mechanism,

a means to handle the grief that has held him hostage,

a vehicle to put him in control of his sorrow.

Felt solace in having someone to blame for tragedy striking,

but rage only kept him from breaking down.


Slowly, he’s trusting himself more to open up to safe ears,

hearts that only carry sincere motives to see him heal.

Loads of pressure cap off a tumultuous season,

relief seems to be a distant entity

burning pieces of his sanity away,

disintegrating his will to deny the urge to kill.


Feels one pull of the trigger could undo the irreparable damage

done and erase the loss from his memory banks.

Knows he has too much to live an abundant life

for him to hydroplane down a slope

with no chance for traction, nothing bracing him for impact

but an anger that caused him to tumble in the first place.


So therein lies another reason to both rebuild and destroy,

confused about how to go on living

absent the weight he’s conditioned to carry,

not seeing it has made his legs strong.

Won’t release his anger long enough to begin the process

of becoming whole, so the tears well up,

but never fall.


(***I wrote the poem about a brother I counseled who had an explosive temper, like one I used to have. He has stayed out of trouble and hasn’t had a fight in 6 years now. Anyone can change!***)



Bitter Pill


The truth is a bitter pill,

something painful to ingest from people held in high regard.

Differing opinions about whether I should pursue freedom

or do penance for a lifetime, dying in prison for my crimes,

leaves me scarred….


Doesn’t surprise me that someone I consider to be a friend

took a stance against me;

subtle signs in his correspondence

revealed what he really thinks.


Entitled to his beliefs, so I won’t fight with him

in order for him to side with me,

neither do I want to,

because what’s a world without individuality?


Some of my own family have given up on me being free,

perfectly fine with one the ones who don’t agree with me.

It’s not their life, nor their body being held underwater,

so it’s not their place to understand my desire to breathe.


Do I fault others for feeling that I should never be free again,

or do I respect the fact that they are honest and direct?

Swallowing this bitter pill of truth peels back a few layers,

leaving me raw and sore, but what more should I expect?


It is what it is…..



A Warming World


In the brutal cold of an unforgiving world,

a man tries to begin anew,

absent from his token comforts,

he  learns what true solitude is.


Crutches kicked out from under him,

the only thing he leans on, his ambition,

appearing timid but filled with courage,

he quietly attacks life with purpose,

rediscovering what he’s made of in the process.


Interested only in an unbiased focal point to direct him,

localizes the catalog that has become his bucket list,

accomplishments unrealized,

but at the cusp of endeavor.


The temperature rises to meet him

like a stranger with great intentions,

changing the way he views the world around him,

the layers shed with every step made towards the niche

routed out for a perfect fit.


The world warms, so does his spirit….

Marshall Jones is a 42 year old man on a lifelong journey of bearing fruit for the Kingdom of God. The author with Jessica Jones of THE PRODIGAL SON, Marshall's Biography includes his almost 21 years life sentence incarceration. THE PRODIGAL SON, just published January 2024, They married November 1, 2022. Marshall is also author of "A RAVEN'S MEAL" (RoseDog Books), a poetry collection, he aspires to target the grey areas and the people who are terribly misunderstood by society. Believing that everyone deserves a voice, he shares his testimony in his books and in their Red Granite Daily Devorionals (800 and counting). He also tries to use his gifting to share other people's experiences as well. Writing from the prison system that has now housed his body for almost 21 years, but also from the place that has been the catalyst to his freedom. As Jessica discovered in 2019, working as an employee in the Wisconsin correctional system, "Marshall lives more freely within the walls of that prison than any other person I’ve met in my life outside". Click on the YouTube Links below for these books and on the 'PUBLISHED WORKS' LINK FOR BOTH.