What if you cannot find the forest if you have gone

The direction of where the tree is.

So I should bet if I really wanted to I could although

It may be you may never ever know about that tree deep

In the forest you may never know


Camille Edwards

Walking Across The Stage

As I wait for the perfect opportunity of stepping

Onto that stage shinning like the star that I am!

It is a wonderful feeling

Soon I am going to shine as mighty as the moon in the sky.

I feel the energy of beautiful feeling of love and happiness all

Around me.

Best for now as I close my eyes imagine that I am on that stage

Shining like a diamond in the sky


Camille Edwards

Ruth Takes a Ride by Kristina Neihouse, volunteer

Ruth Takes a Ride


Candace and I were chatting as we approached the elevators.  I was showing her my new Ruth Bader Ginsberg Notorious RBG tote bag with the words I DISSENT across the top.  I had decided it would be my new “jail bag.”

Candace and I run a volunteer program called Write On.  We visit female inmates at the Monroe County Detention Center every Monday night with composition notebooks, writing ideas and paperbacks (from inspirational to trashy.)  We try to bring encouragement and distraction from the pink cinder block walls and florescent lights that stay on all day and only dim slightly at night.  As the women write and share we hear stories of neglect, abuse and dark humor; the woman who killed her abusive husband but could not claim self-defense because she did not notify the police for two days, or the young woman who said she had moved to Texas because the heroine was cheaper but got picked up and sent back to Key West on a VOP (Violation of Parole.)  Each Monday is different.

That night with a jail bag slung on each shoulder I pressed the button for the elevator and we waited.  (My other jail bag, a green messenger bag declares me as an “Intellectual Freedom Fighter.)  We were ready with our long pants, close toed shoes and IDs in our back pockets to leave at Main Control.  After hours the guards at the Main Control desk controlled the comings and goings of the two elevators.  At that point Candace realized she had forgotten her own jail bag in the car.  She ran back to the car.

“We were so excited by your new jail bag, I forgot mine!”

Then the number 2 elevator door opened.  Most nights someone in Main Control gets on the intercom and asked who we are.  That night they must have recognized us from the camera in a black dome on the ceiling just outside the two elevator doors.

“Hold the door,” Candace yelled back.

Full of books, notebooks, paper, pencils, and erasers jail bags are heavy on the shoulders, so I tossed the Notorious RBG into the elevator and put my hand near the open door to hold it.  There Ruth sat leaning in the corner of the elevator as if waiting for her first visit to the MCDC.  The elevator door started to close.

“Are you coming up?”  A scratchy voice asked over the intercom.

“Yes, Candace forgot her bag.  She’ll be right back.”  The door was still closing.

“You can’t hold the elevator door open,” was the reply as I pulled my hand out and the number 2 door closed.

No big deal, I thought, picturing Ruth in the corner of the empty elevator.  When Candace got back I would hit the button again and we would go up, RBG and all.

A moment later Candace returned and I hit the elevator button.  The number 1 elevator door opened.

“I threw my Ruth bag in this elevator,” I said indicating the number 2 door in front of us.  I waited for the number 1 door to close and hit the button again.  Again the number 1 door opened.

Candace started to laugh as we got in the number 1 elevator.

“Of all the bags to be stuck in a jail elevator alone,” I said.

Upstairs we got out of the elevator.  When the door shut Candace hit the button and again the number 1 elevator door opened.  We were both laughing now.  I ran to the highly secure opaque window of Main Control, and bent to speak into the slot at waist height.

“We’re trying to get my bag out of the other elevator,” I told them.  Not knowing, never knowing, who “them” are.  I went back to the two elevators.  Candace hit the button.  The number 1 door opened.  Bent over with laughter now I went back to Main Control.

“Can you open the other elevator?  My tote bag is in there.”  Should I tell them it was Ruth Bader Ginsberg?  Is that why she was stuck in the elevator?  Just as my wide eyed owl pencil sharpener had been declared contraband the week before and had to be left behind, was the Notorious RBG considered contraband?

“Try going back down,” a woman’s voice said from behind the slot.

They had control over all the locked doors we passed through each Monday night.  I figured they had control of the elevator doors as well.  Maybe not, or maybe they were having fun as well?  Maybe not.

By this time Candace was leaning against a wall by the elevators laughing.

I hit the button hoping…but the number 1 door opened and I got in.

“Am I on Candid Camera?”  I asked.  “Is this being filmed” just as I noticed the small black dome on the elevator ceiling.

“Oh yeah,” I said.  “It is.”

The door closed on Candace’s laughter.

Back at ground level I got out of the number 1 elevator and waited for the door to close.  I waited a few seconds before hitting the button.  The number 2 elevator door opened but there was no Ruth.  I took that elevator back up.

“Do you have Ruth?”  I asked as soon as the door opened onto the waiting area.

“Got her,” Candace exclaimed.  She was heading towards the metal detector where a guard waited.

With an odd sense of relief I went to Main Control and slide my ID in the slot, went through the metal detector and waited while a guard searched our bags, probably not even noticing the messages of dissention and freedom they quietly proclaimed.

Monday nights can be funny, they can be intense, heartwarming, or heart breaking, but never boring.


Intellectual Freedom

“The Love Of A Poet At Work”

I asked a friend to take a poem that I had written

and hold it up to the light as if it were a color slide.


Or maybe even press an ear against the window.


As I am suddenly frightened because I was spooked

when  someone dropped a mouse near my feet and

then as I watched him move his way out.


Or walk inside of a dark room and feel the walls for

a light switch.


Then I wanted to go waterskiing across the surface of

A distant shore while waving at the author whose name

Was written on the beaches of the sandy shore.


All I want to do is sit on a lawn chair on the pool deck

And enjoy hearing a friend that loved writing poems.


Ms. Camille Edwards



Drop the pipe

And pick up a pen

Keep smokin’ that shit

And you’re never going to win


This poem I’m writing is

Specially for you

Cause I’m prayin about

What in the hell you are gonna do


I hope you’ll do the same

If I end up on the street

Drinkin and partyin

Not caring the path on my feet


Word around here is

Not very good

You’re foolin’ no one

Playing around in the hood


Silly silly you

Thinkin you could “party in peace”

Cause people been “Peepin you”

Since your release


I’m only writing this

Because YES I still care

That someday we’ll find you

Dead somewhere


The very same thing

They’ve worried bout me

Because of “The Bottle”

That I could never let be


I could be “one cocktail away

From a life-sentence”

Even after all these years

Of incarceration and penance


Please try to party

Enjoying moderation

Lest you come back here

For an extended vacation





If the stars all fell

If the stars all fell

Would you hold my hand

Assuring me that I’m safe

With a gentle firm command


If the stars all twinkled

Could we laugh and dance

Enjoying each other

While taking this chance


If the stars all shown

Simply clear and bright

Would you cuddle and love me

All through the night


If the stars disappeared

Behind dark clouds in the sky

Could we just kiss and make love

Until the storm passed


I’d give all that I have

Which isn’t much

To just gaze at a star with you

And feel your tender touch

I’m just missing you so awfully bad

And wishing the stars might shine on us



If I could give you

If I could give you

The moon in my hand

It would come with a home

And a nice piece of land


If I could give you

All the stars in my hand

It would come with my love and best wishes

More than the earth’s grain of sand


If I could give you

My heart in my hand

It would probably come in the form

Of a simple gold band


Not the kind that says

“Till death do us part”

Just the simple kind that promises

A fresh beautiful start


But now please forgive me

Because I have nothing in hand

But a will and desire to try for “A LIFE”

While patiently beside you I stand