Being Free

Life’s a puzzle, and the end result—who we are—is determined by the pieces of it. Everything we see, hear, say, and do, and everything those around us see, hear, say, and do, comes together to form the person we become. And the thing is, the puzzle is never quite finished. We are forever a work in progress.

Being Free


It’s just part of doing business

Of life, if you know what I mean

Knowing you owe something to somebody

But never sure how much, or to who


Seems after you’ve served enough time

You learn how these things work

Not knowing exactly, but starting to realize

You’ve stepped in a lot of bad stuff along the way


You look back at what’s happened

Accept things, like the stuff on your shoes

Knowing it doesn’t have to stay there

And learning to watch where you step


Knowing it has to do with the people around you

Whether you live inside the walls

The ones with eighteen-foot gun towers

Or you’re walking around on the outside… being free


So you put on an old lime green polo shirt

Some faded khakis; a bit too tight

New white sneakers; blue stripes down the side

The straw hat you always wore back when


Then… everything you own in a canvas bag

You stand staring at the guy in the mirror

Wondering who he really is

Knowing… you’re about to find out


Copyright © 2013 C Mashburn


I’ll be sharing this with the good folks at dVerse Poets Pub this afternoon, on their Open Link Night #90.


  1. Susan said

    We all have those canvas bags, don’t we? Really enjoyed this!

  2. Raivenne said

    Life is not living behind walls. Sometimes you’ve got to lose yourself in the world, to find your place in it.

  3. Sherry Mashburn said

    Powerful write!!

  4. smiles…what a journey it is to find them as well…good you wear comfortable clothes for the journey as well….it does have to do with the people around you as well…smiles.

  5. Mary said

    Just like we all have those canvas bags, we also all have those clothes we used to wear! And the mirror, if we look deeply enough, tells the tale!

  6. Tony Maude said

    That line about staring at the guy in the mirror and wondering who he is really got to me … It’s so close to where I am right now.

    • I think we all deal with that person in the mirror throughout our lives. Thanks, Tony!

  7. Truedessa said

    Enjoyed this Charles..learning in life..

    Seems after you’ve served enough time

    You learn how these things work

  8. some lesson just need to be experienced

  9. Very nice Charles ~ I think we are always finding ourselves, our journey never complete ~

  10. zongrik said

    sad when everything you own is in a canvas bag

    where is the food when mother is not?

  11. ayala said

    Our journey takes us to unexpected places..we learn and evolve and sometimes wonder who we are and amazed at where we have been. Good write, Charles.

  12. aka_andrea said

    here’s to finding out!

  13. Rowan Taw said

    Always interesting to self-examine as we go about our unique journeys.

  14. charleselliott said

    One problem about getting out is that the people who put you in still think you are the guy who belongs behind those walls. Confederate or police or prosecutor, they are mostly dedicated to putting you back in the slammer, I’m told. The key thing is not to let anyone else define you. And to turn all experience into poems instead of prosecutable actions…

    • That’s probably true, Charles. I think you’re the first person to comment that picked up on the fact this is about a guy getting out of prison. I hope you understand it’s pure fiction. It was inspired by a book I’m reading; many of my poems are.

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