Copyright 2018

Prison of the Mind

Deonte Osayande

sometimes when listening to music,

escaping into my own head, back


there, terrified, wondering

if my next day will be my last,


talking to the fellow patients,

playing cards until someone,


asks me a question, and I snap

out of it. I'm in a car on the way


to a poetry slam in another city,

year and a half removed from


my time inside the hospital.

Sometimes, I'm not convinced


that I'm here until I'm doing

something I couldn't be in


there, like taking care of my cat

or attending poetry readings.


Sometimes, I think I'm still stuck

in the prison of the mind, going


back inside, it's just, matter of time

until I'm snapped out of it, by living


in the now, not in my past, not in

reliving moments of the past.


Having escaped, I put my headphones

back on my head, listening to music



Deonte Osayande is a writer from Detroit, MI. His nonfiction and poetry have been nominated for the Best of the Net Anthology, and the Pushcart Prize. He has represented Detroit at four National Poetry Slam competitions. He's currently a professor of English at Wayne County Community College. His books include Class (Urban Farmhouse Press, 2017) and Circus (Brick Mantle Books, 2018). He also managed the Rustbelt Midwest Regional Poetry Slam and Festival for 2014 and 2018.