The Brick Wall

Today I see a brick wall

Magnificent and cherry-red

laid in layers of

parallel cement lines

It rises on all sides

Cold and hard

Towering and deep

It is a house from the 1960’s

with a wide porch

and stately columns

of white

But it is not my house

though I am bound 

to it

It is my home

though I have never lived here

The history of those before me

whispers like the 

curling smoke up a tall chimney

Surrounding and suffocating

Her choked cry for help

from behind a wall

birthed everything but freedom

But it birthed me

and no one ever told her

we could leave

So we stayed and staked 

our place here in the 

toxic waste of generations

before us

Where rage paints souls

and sadness

lies below the surface

of our skin

every second 

like the tick of the clock


“There is no hope. There is no hope.” 

This in the anthem of the cement

I’ve lived behind for so long

and watched carry on

in everyone who was birthed and raised

in this 1960’s house

of perfection

and torment

Behind the brick wall

of generational burden

is me

Some fifty years later

staring at the impenetrable surface,

It’s anthem alive today

as ever

Wondering how we ended up here

Why I’m still here–

A prisoner of my trauma

when I had nothing to do with it

and have never even lived in a brick house, 

why it boxes me in

and make me feel so small

Like a lab rat

in a whirlwind of tubes and syringes–

Therapy and medication

trying to break in

Break through

to me

Why can’t anyone see that it’s 

not the depression

or the anger

or the fear

It’s the cage

I’m in–

The lies I was fed

The fact that I’ve believed all of it, 

that by some generational ticket

I deserve it

The harsh law behind the wall

that was meant to make

all of us perfect,

when instead we’re all


Now hardly seen

Oh, god–

How I miss my family!

I wish all of you

could peek out

for only a moment

as I’ve done

Peeled my eyes,

glued my brain to the

pages of books that explain

why we are the way we are

I wish I could tell you 

it’s okay

I wish we were the kind of family that touched

so I could smooth a warm hand on your cheek

and remind you of your humanity,

So I could say once and for all I’ve figured us all out—

It’s the wall

The place we’ve been hidden

The place we’ve been ridden

The place of our deepest scars

I finally understand–

The curtain lifting

to reveal the truth

I wish I could tell you

but today,

I can’t seem to look past it all

The lines and rhythms

of cold


all I see is a brick wall

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