A Prison Of My Very Own

by Jim Abbott

Grey walls surround me
Dank,dark and dingy
Imposing, intimidating, impenetrable
Razor sharp razor wire
Stretching, it seems, for forever
Down dimly lit corridors that lead to nowhere
In my 6x8 world all alone I stare
Desolation, isolation, frustration
Madly I scream out at my jailer unseen
With tears in my eyes
Release me, I plead
Release me, release me
But never do I receive a reply
Though in the stifling stillness of the night
Ghostly voices I hear rise
Forced to live in this fortress of fear
Locked away in this life sentence of shame
Shackled to this ball and chain
Silently suffering in solitary solitude
So frightened
And so very, very cold
Wondering, always wondering
Just who is to blame
And why?
Had I been found guilty of some horrendous crime?
A crime that I never did commit
Most assuredly, that had to be it
Knowing damn well that I was innocent
Knowing I had done nothing to deserve all of this
Yet still, consigned to spend a lifetime
Enduring this punishment
And the worst part
The very worst part
Is never knowing why
So very hard to go on at times
Feeling sometimes like I'm going out of my mind
Planning and plotting
Dreaming of escape
Praying for the moment when I'll make that final break
Decade upon decade of bemoaning my fate

But just when it seemed I had given up hope
Just when it seemed I was at the end of my rope
Came the realization one day that it wasn't too late

Finally deciding that enough was enough
Finally deciding that I had suffered too much
Like a man possessed I tore into those walls
In a frantic frenzy, I watched them all fall
Not ceasing, not stopping, until I was done
A lifetime of frustration
Unleashed all at once
A maniacal madman out of control
Exercising the demons that had haunted my soul
Suddenly !
I was standing there alone
The only one
Bathed in the warming light of the sun
I paused
Then I looked around
That cage that had imprisoned me lay shattered on the ground
And finally
I was free

At last, I understood
That nightmare that was my prison cell
Had been my own personal hell
Those walls never had been real
Built not of concrete
Nor of steel
They had existed only in my mind
Forged from the negative feelings and emotions
That I kept buried deep inside
For when I stripped away
All of my hatred and my rage
I found no chains, no guards
Just one desperate man
And some old shadows for bars

So much of my life
Looking and longing
Pleading and praying
For someone to lift from me
Those bonds of misery
For never did I realize
Never did I know
That it was I, and I alone
Who had possessed the key
To set my own self free
All along

added with permission April 24, 2001