Stuck Outside

by Rania Moallem   May 4, 2020


I was suddenly cast behind the bars
crashing into a burst of missing belongings.
Growing in your prison for a decade
today I learn your freedom is as dreadful.
As though fresh air ignites panic within me
it makes my lungs go sore.
Intolerant of light, my eyes also tear outdoors.
I've been breathing on dust for so long,
holding onto the past for years and years
never expecting liberty to shake my balance.
I made it to the outside only to find that
so much construction has taken place
can't find routes to your new street.
I take a walk from the sun to your old house
yet nothing recognizes me.
I know I am finally out
but without my precious burden
I limp heavily with every move
I wish I can lock myself back inside.
Totally lost, wandering in lack of whereabouts
I am free, but I am also stuck.

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  • 1 month ago

    by hiraeth

    "I was suddenly cast behind the bars
    crashing into a burst of missing belongings."

    The reader is suddenly crashed into this poem - it's jarring, moving and the reader comes along for the ride. I really love the concept of 'burst of missing belongs' because imprisonment can feel like that, placed in isolation with nothing to do but yearn for all of your belongings, the relationships, etc.

    "Growing in your prison for a decade
    today I learn your freedom is as dreadful."
    "As though fresh air ignites panic within me
    it makes my lungs go sore."

    Wow. This is powerful, stating that freedom with their captor is synonymous with imprisonment - I think a lot of people can relate with that sentiment. It's always interesting to look back at our past selves and wonder why we put it up with what we did and why we didn't do X diferrently or sooner. The verse about fresh air causing lungs to go sore is beautifully written, when we get so accustom to something, change good or bad can be jarring. This captured that.

    "Intolerant of light, my eyes also tear outdoors.
    I've been breathing on dust for so long,
    holding onto the past for years and years
    never expecting liberty to shake my balance."

    I love this, it builds on what I mentioned earlier, change being jarring. Beautiful imagery and verses.

    "I made it to the outside only to find that
    so much construction has taken place
    can't find routes to your new street."

    I think "i made it outside" or "i think i made it to the outside world" would flow a bit better, but nevertheless it doesn't detract from this beautiful part. I love the imagery here.

    "I take a walk from the sun to your old house
    yet nothing recognizes me.
    I know I am finally out
    but without my precious burden
    I limp heavily with every move
    I wish I can lock myself back inside.
    Totally lost, wandering in lack of whereabouts
    I am free, but I am also stuck."

    This is a beautiful ending; it's telling of how prisoners often feel safer in prison/jail just because of how accustom they got to it or how the world outside changed, the very last verse 'i am free, but i am also stuck' is really powerful, and a poetic way to end this piece :)

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