Song of My Muhammad

after Walt Whitman1

I know I have the best of time and space in my two black fists
                in my black brain, the way I can never, will never be measured,
                this, my immeasurable greatness,
                this, my beauty and my speed
                           I do not need
                               your white Jesus or even your feeble praise—
                               I know I’m the prettiest thing that ever lived.

No friend of mine tells me who I can worship,
no friend of mine stops my dance around the ring,
no friend of mine labels my chair anything but throne,
I have no chair, no church, no philosophy that does not salute me as a king,
                no man can stop my left hand hooking, hooking, 
                no man can stop the poetry I keep under my Louisville lip,
                I’m so mean I make medicine sick. 

Today, I shoulder my way into a crowded heaven,
where my hands are steady and my mind is strong,
                    and I say to my spirit: 
                    you are golden, even here, golden,
                    and my spirit says: I am satisfied. 

1using lines from Walt Whitman’s Song of Myself, verse 46, and Ali’s own words

Copyright © 2019 by Ashley M. Jones. From dark//thing (Pleiades Press, 2019). Used with permission of the author.