Untitled (I Wake)


I wake
to the sun rising in the East
the rays burning my eyes
as I shake off the sleep

My first vision is bars
before a screen and a half open window
beyond that is cages
a gun tower and twenty foot wall

Then I see something else, everyday
that should give hope to all
High upon a pole. It waves at me
Sometimes to the East, sometimes to the West

Surrounded by blue skies and white clouds
Both symbols of freedom
Both symbols of life
Today I feel neither, tomorrow will be the same

I am of the world, but not in it
So I stare out the window and wonder, WHEN
When will I live my life in this manner
Of life, of liberty and the pursuit of happiness

WHEN, I ponder as I look at the star spangled banner


  1. I like the attachment of the flag to what it is supposed to stand for. Sad, and well-done.

  2. Sadie Davis says

    Hello, LC
    The imagery in your poem is very powerful and gives me a sense of place. I would love to read more of your descriptions of your surroundings and your daily life and your imagination. You are not forgotten. Many of us are with you, working from the outside to make our justice system more just and to help people find the resources they need as children so that they have better lives and more options. I hope you will keep writing and sharing your observations and know that we are thinking of you. I am hoping that you will find some peace of mind each day through your creativity.

  3. Kate Bulger says

    I love the images you created in this poem. You walk a very delicate line between hope and despair– and it is lovely. Good luck and keep writing and having hope! Thank you for this poem!

  4. nice one sir.

  5. Such awareness at the dawn’s early light! And a vivid reply to Francis Scott Key’s verses about our flag. Thanks for sharing!

  6. Hi LC,

    Thanks for sharing this poem. The first thing that I notice is your strong command of imagery. Your vivid descriptions allow readers to feel that they are experiencing something through your eyes and that really connects me to the poem. I love the way you describe the flag as something that should give hope, that waves – all without naming it as a flag. The statement “I am of the world, but not in it” works to bring together this idea of “The American Dream” that is so starkly contrasted with the feeling of injustice. Ending with the image of the star spangled banner also invites readers to think about their own citizenship and feelings toward America. Thank you again!

  7. Your poem has excellent rhythm and imagery.

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