I bang on them every day. I need to get out. I don’t even scream anymore. I have decided to spare my voice. Holding in that poison makes you rotten to the core I don’t want people to run away before they hear what I have to say. I need help, but I am afraid to ask, it’s something I am not supposed to do. You see, I am black, and I must deal with my own issues. I see you looking and judging already. My words alone make you sigh heavy. You can’t see past the color. The word is used to cause fear and see a future that is not bright, you see a future matching my skin color.

I stare into the mirror. I sing a happy song to change the sad self-image, somehow molded to my face from watching my race falsely, teasingly, destructively displayed. An image I am doomed to subconsciously imitate. If I break the glass will that chip away my pain, so the world can see? Does anyone care? This can’t possibly be how my life ends, not with all the opportunity I am told is afforded to me. The opportunity that’s slowly drained, like my culture. Used to imitate, poison, and replace us, just like our stolen blood used to create the great American escape.

I look at life as if my opportunity was gone the day I was born. The rope that drags it, cannot be un- raveled or torn. It’s made of and filled with thorns. It’s muddy, slippery, and hard for me to grab. When I reach it, the pain is overwhelming, so I let it go. They tell me that’s why I can’t leave, because I don’t take control. The violence of the mind is the most dangerous kind. I need to make life inside these walls a safe place. I am trying to work it out but am fired before I get the job is done. Rewards for my kind are given only as a cover. My skin is the cloud people avoid until it reveals diamonds. Dark, perspiring with the familiarity of hope and hopelessness.

These walls swell from the pounding. “You’re not good enough” BANG! “Your skin is not the right Type” BANG! “We can get away with it but not your KIND” I’M DEAD! The swelling! The sweltering. It rages, eventually erupting. Destroying everything in my way. Confusing, full of entangled debris, but clear as the words on this page. It is frightening. It is beautiful, but only when it happens to me.

How do I live with myself, knowing I am always out of place and not like anyone else? How do I live with myself when the world tries to make me hate myself?

Anthony Markland



I write to breath. I write to give. I write for happiness.

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