“Genie in a Bottle,” a poem by Ian Manuel, author of My Time Will Come

By Coll Rowe | March 15 2022 | Common ReadsLiteratureSociologyCriminal Justice

Ian Manuel, author of My Time Will Come, was sentenced to life without parole at 14 years old. His memoir is a paean to the capacity of the human will to transcend adversity through determination and art—in Manuel’s case, through his dedication to writing poetry.

Here is his brand new poem, “Genie in a Bottle”:


I’m the Genie in a bottle
the world has forgot
They put me in this abyss
And, closed up the top.

I was a little boy
when they did what they did,
But time continued to tick,
And, I’m no longer a kid

My mother is dead,
So is my father
I’ve been abandoned by family
while trapped in this bottle.

But I hold on to hope
That someone will open the top
Answer my prayers, and help me out.

Sometimes people pick—up the bottle
put their eye to the hole.
But instead of compassion,
act indifferent and cold

I suffer sensory deprivation,
a lost sense of direction.
There’s no mirror in the bottle
For me to see my reflection.

They say being lonely and alone
Are two different definitions,
But it’s only me in this bottle,
so I fit both descriptions.

What I need is a friend.
Someone to extend a hand.
it can be as simple
as picking up a pen

Someone who cares.
Accepts me for who I am.
My magnetic personality
And my baggage from the past.

Someone who helps heal the sorrow.
Will work on building our tomorrow.

Someone who refuses to leave me to die in this bottle!

© 2022 by Ian Manuel

The paperback of My Time Will Come publishes April 19th


More about Ian Manuel


My Time Will Come
A Memoir of Crime, Punishment, Hope, and Redemption
The inspiring story of activist and poet Ian Manuel, who at the age of fourteen was sentenced to life in prison. He survived eighteen years in solitary confinement—through his own determination and dedication to art—until he was freed as part of an incredible crusade by the Equal Justice Initiative.
$16.00 US
Apr 19, 2022
224 Pages