“Genie in a Bottle” by Ian Manuel, author of MY TIME WILL COME

By Colleen Rowe | April 28 2022 | First-Year Reading: Memoir & Biography

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 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 for My Time Will Come will be available April 2022.

More about Ian Manuel

My Time Will Come
A Memoir of Crime, Punishment, Hope, and Redemption
A breathtaking memoir about a teenager sentenced to life without parole, and a searing look at the broken American justice system. With a foreword from Bryan Stevenson, author of Just Mercy.