Soul Burning Underwater

As I try to grapple with the effects of PTSD and other effects of trauma I wanted to paint a very vivid picture of what a soul on fire looks like and feels like. Through poetry I am able to do this, so far after the actual experience of living in hell and chaos.

I try to make sense of the flashbacks and paranoia that still plague me today and still affect me in so many areas of life. 

I wanted my words to help purge the strong stench of those dirty cells that fill my nostrils and the madness that I still have ringing in my ears today … and poetry does that. It allows me to make sense of an utterly senseless world that I lived in and so many others still do.

Below is a poem that I title “Soul Burning Underwater”.

Caught in the middle of ready to take off but failure to launch

The demons of my past never case to ever leave they just sit, have tea and continue to haunt

I have no way of knowing when the aggression, hostility and resolution may take over

But I tell myself that the world I live in now is different and I may continue to live sober

Intoxicated by a former life of violence the streets and trying to gain a reputation

I am the end-result that started with a man-child behind concrete walls and “get–tough-on crime” bill legislation

I take the 12 steps to remain crime free but I taste the streets with my eyes as real as the blood running through my veins

You say for me to be patient and be cool but my poverty, no license and racial profiling is making me insane

I get rejected job after job and find that while the larceny has left it remains oh so bold

It seems easier to sell dope, rob or push back the emotions until I make the ice in my veins hard and cold

But I think of the prison I put my mom in year after year and I know that she never gave up on me

So I stop feeling sorry for myself, push back the tears and put a smile on my face for the world to see

(Previously published by author (


Categories criminal justice, Poetry, PrisonTags

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