i believe in living.
i believe in the spectrum
of Beta days and Gamma people.
i believe in sunshine.
In windmills and waterfalls,
tricycles and rocking chairs;
And i believe that seeds grow into sprouts.
And sprouts grow into trees.
i believe in the magic of the hands.
And in the wisdom of the eyes.
i believe in rain and tears.
And in the blood of infinity.
i believe in life.
And i have seen the death parade
march through the torso of the earth,
sculpting mud bodies in its path
i have seen the destruction of the daylight
and seen bloodthirsty maggots
prayed to and saluted
i have seen the kind become the blind
and the blind become the bind
in one easy lesson.
i have walked on cut grass.
i have eaten crow and blunder bread
and breathed the stench of indifference
i have been locked by the lawless.
Handcuffed by the haters.
Gagged by the greedy.
And, if i know anything at all,
it’s that a wall is just a wall
and nothing more at all.
It can be broken down.
i believe in living
i believe in birth.
i believe in the sweat of love
and in the fire of truth.
And i believe that a lost ship,
steered by tired, seasick sailors,
can still be guided home to port.
–FBI’s Most Wanted, America’s Beloved and Feared Sister–Assata Shakur
The Prison Cell
It is possible especially now
To ride a horse
Inside a prison cell
And run away…
It is possible for prison walls
For the cell to become a distant land
The prison guard got angry.
He put an end to the dialogue
He said he didn’t care for poetry,
And bolted the door of my cell.
He came back to see me
–Where did all this water come from?
–I brought it from the Nile.
–And the trees?
–From the orchards of Damascus.
–And the music?
–From my heartbeat.
The prison guard got mad,
But returned in the evening
–Where did this moon come from?
–From the nights of Baghdad.
–And the wine?
–From the vineyards of Algiers.
–And this freedom?
–From the chain you tied me with last night.
The prison guard grew so sad…
He begged me to give him back
by Mahmud Darwish, Palestine
Translated and abridged by Ben Bennani
Muhammad Ali recites a poem he wrote as a response for one prisoner in the face of adversity.