Questions for America

Poetry by Ronnie Bwambale Bryan

This month’s blog post comes from a student poet.

My name is Ronnie Bwambale Bryan. I was born on April 25th, 2003, in Fort Portal, Uganda. I don’t want to write my full life story. I’m not sure if anyone will be interested in reading about this brief but significant chapter of my life. I’ve decided to share this experience with you since it encapsulates who I am as a person and as a writer. 

I was born into a warm and loving family. This love and warmth are what made me the person I am today. My parents worked extra hard to give me and my siblings the best childhood. As a child, I was very emotionally intelligent, and I understood my feelings before I could even speak or write. However, even when I learnt how to speak, I was not able to express myself. This is because I was a very quiet child who had a hard time socializing even with my family. So as soon as I joined school and learnt how to write that is all I ever did.

I loved literature because of the writing aspect of it. It helped me to organize my thoughts and be able to write them down on paper. This, to me, made sense because it helped with my functional writing. I took this habit of writing even outside of class and I occasionally wrote poems and short stories during my free time. Instead of talking to my parents or siblings like most people do, I opted to write. I used to write them letters every day, and I would slip them under their bedroom doors. At the time I didn’t consider myself a writer. This was just my way of “talking” to my family. The more I wrote these letters, the better my writing became and the more I felt, the more vocabulary I picked. This is because new feelings unlock new words. 

Fast forward to today. I am a poet. Poetry, for me, is more of a lifestyle than a hobby. I have been through some traumatic events that still linger to this day. For a while, I did not know how to deal with the trauma until I watched a certain show. One of the characters in the show said, “If you can’t accept and move past rejection, or at least use it as writing material – you’re not a real man.” The moment I heard this I experienced an “aha” moment. For me, it was not about rejection, but my trauma. Since I could not move past the trauma, I decided to use it as writing material. That is how I discovered poetry. My interests have changed over the years and that has also changed what I write about. That’s the beauty of life: you live and you learn. My life is a canvas, and I am the artist. Right now, my painting isn’t complete but someday it’ll be a delightful sight.


I love to write

To write is to create

To create is to bring meaning to the world

The feeling you get from collecting your thoughts

And putting them into words is unmatched

Thoughts aren’t easy things to collect

It’s like trying to collect seashells in a desert

To collect your thoughts is a fine line between sanity and insanity

So why do people write?


Shackles off my feet    

And yet I am trapped

Trapped in a cage

 called “mindset”

The key to this cage is in my hands

Freedom is the key

But what is freedom?

Until I figure that out

I am confined in this prison

Trapped to rot in here forever

My ignorance is going to be my downfall

No one taught us freedom in school

And now I’ll pay dearly with my life.


I see secrets behind your eyes

What are you protecting me from?

Bold of me to assume that

What are you trying to protect yourself from?

I see you. You’re different

Lip service doesn’t please you

More of an action person, aren’t you?

Trying to figure you out

But figuring you out is harder than solving a scooby doo mystery.


Dear America,

When are you going to grow up? 

You think you are grown but in reality, you are a toddler.

When are you going to realize you aren’t the best?

You flaunt your weapons while those same weapons take innocent lives.

Dear America,

Why is everything about racism a debate?

All lives matter until it’s black lives.

Why isn’t healthcare more affordable?

Having a child shouldn’t cost thrice as much as rent.

Dear America,

Why do I feel hopeless when I watch the news?

So much potential in the lives thrown away.

How does it feel to be you?

I bet even you don’t know the answer to that.


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