Meet Michael Love, Folsom’s incarcerated poet

Folsom state prison in background with Michael Love in foreground.
Michael Love, incarcerated at Folsom State Prison, presented his long-form poem.

In October, Folsom State Prison (FSP) incarcerated student, Michael Love, was given the opportunity to present his original long-form poem “Origin Unknown” at the 50th annual convention of the International Gebser Society.

This presentation was very fitting for this conference, as Jean Gebser, a scholar whose life’s work inspired this organization, wrote many books, essays, and poems throughout his life. This conference had approximately 50 people in attendance and featured audience members from all over the world, including Switzerland, Germany, New Zealand, Brazil, and Canada.

Poem is personal take on concepts

The poem Love wrote and presented was a personal take on one of the most difficult and esoteric concepts in Gebserian thought. By the end of his presentation, there was not a dry eye in the audience.

“Love’s words were deeply moving and a brilliant encapsulation of Gebser’s work”, said Professor Zuckerman, Director (A) for the Transforming Outcomes Project at Sacramento State (TOPSS).

Thank you to Warden Rick Hill for approving Love to present this original piece, as well as FSP Principal Kenneth E. Spencer II for his support of his students’ positive creative expression.

And here is the poem by Michael Love, Folsom State Prison:

Origin Unknown

Humanities waste, caged in disgrace…

A paradox of deficiencies,

Unworthy of grace.

Origin unknown,

Through time and space I roam…

Delusional conclusions,

Manifested alone.

Perpetual state of darkness…

Seldom glimpses of light.

A boundless soul…

Tormented every night.

Humanities waste, caged in disgrace…

A paradox of deficiencies,

Internalized as truth,

Grounded in quicksand…

Thus traversed my youth.

A child devoid of values…

Where delusions began,

Boundlessness of my soul,

Consciousness devoid of origin,

Humanities waste, caged in disgrace…

A paradox of deficiencies,

Enabling primitive thought, subsequent putrefaction of my heart.

Who am I? What have I become?

What could I have been if origins were known?

Mutations of consciousness,

I’m learning, yet know nothing…

A quest for that which was hidden, censored and forbidden,

Empathy for the pain and suffering caused by my decisions.

Within my origins, truth is found,

For within my truth, I will rebound…

Humanities waste, recycled in place…

May redemption be my saving grace.

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