JANESVILLE, Wis. (WMTV) – A man from Beloit uses a poem about his decades-long battle with drug addiction to inspire others, including his prison mates.
Jeremey Duncan was incarcerated in Rock County Jail due to the effects of his addiction.
âThere’s a big metal door that I have to stare at for 12 hours a day,â Duncan said. “I’m on this side and everything I love about the world is on the other side.”
The 43-year-old said he has two children, and they are usually where his thoughts turn inside his cell. âHow they grow up without me. The things they had to go through, âhe said. “Your family falls apart when you go to jail.”
But last month, prison staff created a writing competition for inmates. Amy Evans, a reintegration social worker, said: âIt’s a way to [inmates] express themselves, put their emotions on paper. It’s very therapeutic to do that.
âThe first thing I thought about was ‘Wow this is the coolest thing to ever happen in prison,’â Duncan said. He has the word “poet” tattooed on his left hand.
âGod gave me a talent, and I know what it is,â he said.
Duncan wrote a poem called “The Door”, based on an encounter in a prison cell with God.
“I never even gave myself the chance to dream, I closed the door so no one could hear me scream,” Duncan said, starting to recite his poem from memory. He said he has been rewriting the poem since putting the first words on paper 20 years ago.
Rock Co. Sheriff Troy Knudson chose Duncan’s piece as the winning piece in the first round of the contest.
âI was absolutely blown away by the writing here,â Knudson said. “Besides taking the time to think about certain issues, just the way he expressed it, it almost felt like an art to me.”
On Monday evening Duncan said he recited his poem for the other inmates in his unit. âI’ve seen it. I’ve seen it on people’s faces. I seem to be having an effect,â he said.
âI can change my whole world with a pen. I can’t make it stay what I made it. But even if it’s just for a little while, looking at the newspaper, I’m not looking at the door.
According to prison staff, the creative competition has two more rounds, including one that will ask inmates to draw a cell door.
Jeremey Duncan’s “The Door”
I never even gave myself the chance to dream
Closed the door so no one can hear me scream
Trapped inside this dark dirty little room
At the rate I’m going this might be my grave
I know I don’t wanna die here all alone
Fearing to face the demons that I’ve always known
I hear the foot going downstairs, I know they’re coming
I hear the snare and the bass as the devil keep on drumming
I can’t run from evil, there’s no place to hide
Everything I felt came from inside
In the mind of this lonely, deranged addict
I heard a knock on the door that’s when I panicked
I’m afraid they came here to look for me and show me my death
So I put my hands together and took one last deep breath
I fell to my knees and started to pray
“Please Lord don’t let them take me, please Lord not today”
As the door slowly opened, a bright light shone through
There stood my savior. He said, âI came here for you.
I looked at him with tears in my eyes
I asked, âOh, Heavenly Father, is it time for me to die? “
“No my son” he replied, holding out his hand.
“I’m here to save you from yourself, you understand?
People always ask me exactly what he meant
“What were you doing to yourself?” What has he prevented? “
I respond to the loss of my very soul, it burns eternally in hell “
Drugs gave me madness a place called madness that I live in
Except that today I’m no longer locked in an addicted mind
Now everyday yeah EVERY DAY I thank GOD … for opening THE DOOR.
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