Beyond The Gates

Written by: Michael Jordan

Behind these gates lay quite the scene
So very surreal, yet not a dream

Beautiful headstones, manicured lawns
My God the memories this place spawns 

The winding road, first turn to the right
Back to the beginning of my plight

Stopping next to the second trail
My heart and head pound like hell

On the left eleven headstones away
Like a movie my memory starts to play

People gathered from all around
My mother knew everyone in town

At the time I was still unable to speak
My shattered psyche was far too weak

I stood there broken and full of fear
Ashamed I could shed not a single tear

Ashamed I could speak not a single word
Inside my head so many voices heard

What did those voices have too say
That’s another story for another day

Those gates now hold so many I love
Everyone I once held above

Last time I entered them I was 32
Even though those gates hold all of you

Next month I’ll go back and explain why
Tell my mother the reason I couldn’t cry

Apologize to her for being broken
Leave flowers, a poem, and my N.A. token

That way she will know without any doubt
What her little boy ended up being all about

That her little boy is not broken anymore
Overcoming adversity is what adversity is for

And one day when I’ve completed my fate
I’ll be looking for her, “Beyond the Gate”


The Shafter, California cemetery holds my mother, Grandparents, my cousin James and many
close friends. The last time I visited them was approx. 18 years ago. It’s very strange
that I received, “Beyond the Gates” as my topic, because; I’ve been planning this trip for
months now. If not for that fact I would have most likely written this poem about prison
gates. I reckon all things happen for a reason. Thank you Constance writing this poem has
given me strength to help me do what I plan to do. Go make amends to the person who gave
me life and taught me the things, which stuck with me through it all. My Grandparents
never lost hope in me and always said, "One day Mikey will remember the things we taught
him and return to the Lord." I think they will be proud of the man who comes to visit them
next month.