My American dream has a low threshold.
I don't need much because I won't allow myself to want more.
Life, liberty, and the pursuit of safety.
All men created unequally with the capacity to breathe.
These truths are not self-evident.
My American dream is the nightmare of the original victim.
I exist by way of shackles and bars.
I feel by way of scars that the world pretends don't bleed.
This is not my promised land.
This is my cage.
I was born a hostage.
Before my first page was turned, before I knew,
three-fifths of my humanity was null and void.
My American dream doesn't look like yours.
My presumption of innocence was never a foregone conclusion.
I was born a predator.
I was born to entertain.
I was born to be a slogan on somebody's campaign.
I was born to fill cells.
I was not born to breathe.
My American dream is not guaranteed by the Constitution.
I have no Fifth Amendment rights to be silent.
My quiet act of rebellion.
My hope lost to the dream.
When I lost my claim to an origin.
When I believed the lie of my purpose.
When I chose not to choose.
My American dream is suffocating.
When I awake, I'll find peace if I can breathe.
See all poetry for Reginald Manning #320-223