Caged Thoughts

by Terrell Woolfolk-Carter

Right now I’m sitting in a penitentiary yard, the sun is slowly retreating west giving me one last kiss goodbye. I got my ear buds in listening to some 80’s and 90’s old school Hip Hop, you know, that golden era, the best era ever, and at the same time I’m thinking about freedom. You see, there is no wall here, so here I am longing for something that’s right in my face, but out of reach, separated by a razor wire fence, almost like that fly pair of shoes you want sitting in a display case, but your too broke to buy.

But is that what freedom is? Is it just unconfined space? For me, freedom has become much more than moving beyond barriers that confine us to relegated spaces. For me, freedom is being able to see, to think, to hear, to listen, to be critical without fear, to speak truth to lies. Freedom is the mind breaking free of limitations, both those imposed by outside forces and those imposed by the self. Freedom is poetry, its jazz, its freestyle rap, its being authentically you, its loving unconditionally, its standing up to tyranny even when death is sure to follow. Interestingly enough peopled confined wish for freedom in spite of the fact in a lot of cases we’re more free than those of us unconfined. Freedom is a word we write about, argue about, even fight to the death about, but it’s still only a word. People will rob each other of freedom in an effort to obtain their own sense of what freedom is. It’s a circular conception of what we mistakenly believe we have a right to just because we’re alive. The problem begins when we attempt to define freedom other men must lose theirs when that definition is imposed upon them. So yeah, walls and fences do confine, but do they really take away our freedom?

Freedom is a concept that better men than I have written about. So as the sun releases me from its golden embrace, I gaze upon that razor wire fence and silently pray to God, because it sure do look good on the other side.

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