At What Cost Do I Become (Poem)

by Richard Moise
Cumberland, MD

Martin Luther King had a dream because he was free.
I have nightmares because I am in prison.
There is a guy down the hall. He is always screaming
I know he will never be free because he never stops screaming.
I wish desperately he would stop screaming.

In here my only friend is a pen.
The only thing that gives me the illusion of freedom
even then, my only friend I can’t depend on because
the guards deprive me of him.

The guards who says he guards me for my
“protection” also wears the American flag on his shoulders
that quietly tells me “give me liberty or give me death”
but out loud I’m screaming “I am a Haitian, unity is strength”
in the morning I tell the same guard
“Stop trying to divide and conquer, my enemy is not my friend”
The same guard they are all the same, with the American flag
On their shoulders quietly telling me “give me liberty or give me death”

During the weekdays I motion the Judge
For my freedom, without hesitation, he denies me and
Tells me freedom ain’t free, it would cost me $400,000 and
a Bentley.

Yesterday, I called my mother and asked her for a
Penny, but it’s too late she is caught up in the frenzy
of the American Dream because she is free

I have been locked away for a decade
I finally receive a letter from my brother, my
sister and cousin, man I’m so happy and excited
I open the letter, and the guard smile at me,
I look down to read the letter.
Damn! It’s not a letter, it’s a painted picture
of eulogy of somebody I was supposed to be

Dear Rick, your son has grown into a
successful man, every morning he wears a suit
and tie to work making six figures, he dreams
of becoming president to abolish the 13th Amendment

The guard walks away from me, but the flag on his
shoulders whispers at me “give me liberty or give me death.”
Today I wake up with strength, and suddenly I take
on running, the man down the hall stops screaming,
the flags are staring at me,
while I wonder if I will make it past the
fence I’m screaming “I’m a Haitian, unity is strength”
now I make it over the fence and all I remember
is Martin Luther King had a dream.