I wrote this poem some eight years ago regarding my personal struggles with disability and sexuality, among other things. It remains near and dear to my heart for the torn hope it represents in the cycle of human potential. Enjoy.
My breath flies, hot and pacy
Through widened nostrils
I’m stalking up and down my cage
My paws are growing thin
I have no use for claws
When there’s no flesh to overcome
And the deafening roar
I bellowed, once,
I wonder of all the pride, why me?
Why the keepers made me live
Behind iron bars
And threw away the key?
Every day the people gather
They take photos with their eyes
I wonder what they see –
What they couldn’t just find in a magazine?
They don’t understand the pain of prison things
Don’t know the wonder of being free.
Six-by-ten doesn’t seem so wrong
Because they haven’t seen where I belong
In my mind, I’m crouching, low;
In the golden grass
Oh, to again have those kind of bars
The ones that sway
Like metronomes in the breeze
And I can come and go as I please
The sun riding warmly on my back
And I can change my spots
Without the dream-breaking crack
Of the lock being opened
And it’s dinner on a hook, again
What I take and do not earn
What I could do without
As I mill and yearn
For when paparazzi eyes
Are a thing of the past
And the Africa of my dreams
Is mine, again, at last.