Job Security

two people holding back a man from attacking another
Job Security by Yusef “Q” Qualls

Artist Statement

Numbered

I was just counted again
By an alcoholic wife beater
Who doesn’t believe I count at all
But I do
+ I am
Discounted
Disaffected
Disavowed by loved ones
Stuck at a number on a count board
Belittled because of my belief
That I should be free
Instead– I’m a cattle counted
Branded mentally
While I put ink into my own skin
R.I.P.’s to those in eternal sleep
That they check to see
If it makes me affiliated
Every move scrutinized
+ their truth lies in a puddle of dishonesty
That I’m part of unwillingly
A pawn in this game with no winners
Not even the pocket fillers
Whose job is enumeration
Oppression— debasement
As they fill the blank with my brand
My identifying six digits
That they better always get right
So I’m— warned not to move
To be visible
Knowin’ I’m invisible to them
In any other circumstance
+ this attention makes me feel worse
— I break a little— every time
That bright light shines
+ they come around
Dumb + proud
+ I realize
I have just been counted 

–Yusef “Q” Qualls

Artist Bio

My name is Yusef “Q” Qualls. I have been in prison since 1995 when I was sixteen years old. I have been a member of Theory since 2011. I have been an artist for a few years, but I have been artistic all of my life. The process of creation is freeing for me. It takes me away from any problems and eases my mind.

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