Once arrested, arraigned, tried, convicted
And incarcerated, to “pay their debt.”
Though their time’s been served, they’re still restricted.
They’ve walked out of prison- but ain’t “free” yet!
Their liberty comes with consequences.
They are stalked by their pasts like Jean Valjean.
Uncaged birds with clipped wings perch on fences.
The debt they thought they paid still lingers on.
For “second-class citizens” in the hood
This mandated marginalization,
Supposedly for the “greater good,”
Pigeon-holes them into isolation.
Barriers such as these, let’s not pretend
Will more than likely make them re-offend.
They come to “rough it” in urban settings
in stark contrast to those from whence they came.
Suburban thrill seekers “hunting” big game.
Air be and bees or nightly subletting?
They set out to explore their surroundings:
walking sticks in hands; cameras in tow;
rapid transit maps guide them as they go
hiking through urban jungles- hearts pounding!
They smile, nod, and try to keep it moving
as they pass natives who may be restless.
Discomfort exposed by their cheeks’ redness,
thoughts of stereotypes they might be proving.
They came seeking exotic diversion.
What they got was poverty immersion.
This series of blackout haiku called “Cold Case Clearance Haiku” was created from an article in USA Today by Aamer Madhani.