If prisons
Lease our liberty

If seas
Rent our shores

If silence
Hustles penny songs

If power
Purchases helplessness

Then into this world
I step renewed

To float unbound
Cocooned in pleasure, in pain

Not yet spent
Comprehend, contained

A desperate paradigm
Unknown, unborn, untainted

If this time
I can love myself enough to live


  1. Dear JMA,

    The simplicity and imagery in your lines “To float unbound / Cocooned in pleasure, in pain” really struck a chord with me. I also thought the way you used repetition was effective and beautiful.

    Please keep writing! I want to read more!

    Your fan,


  2. Reid Baron says:

    Right on!

  3. Judy Mandel says:

    The poem makes such wonderful comparisons and is thought provoking. The rhythm of the poem works very well. That last line brings all together in a profound recognition. Well done.

  4. Andrea Ruggirello says:

    Those last two lines were a gut punch like last lines should be. I would love to refer to this poem to show my writing students how powerful, perfectly chosen verbs can make a poem sing.

    – Andrea

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