New Poem For Mumia by Alice Walker

Occupying Mumia’s Cell

Occupying Mumia’s Cell

Copyright©2011 by Alice Walker


I Sing of Mumia

brilliant and strong

and of the captivity


few black men escape

if they are as free

as he has become.


What a teacher he is for all of us.


Nearly thirty years in solitary

and still,



He will die himself.

A black man;

whom many consider to be

a Muslim, though this is not

how he narrows down

the  criss-crossing paths of

his soul’s journey.

Perhaps it is simpler

to call him

a lover of truth

who refuses

to be silenced.

Is anything more persecuted

in this land?


No boots will be allowed

of course

so he will not

die with them on;

but there will always be


of the mind and spirit

and of the heart and soul.


His will be black and shining

(or maybe the color of rainbows)

and they will sprout wings.



they have decided


not to kill you

hoping no blood will

stain their hands

at the tribunal

of the people;

but to let you continue

to die slowly

creating and singing

your own songs

as you pace

alone,  sometimes terrorized,

for decades of long nights

in your small cage

of a cell.


We lament our impotence: that we have failed

to get you out of there.


Your regal mane may have thinned

as our locks too, those flags of  our self sovereignty, may even have


waiting out this unjust sentence,

until we, like you, have become old.


if you will: accept our gratitude

that you stand, even bootless,

on your feet.  We see

that few of those around us,

well shod and walking, even owning, the streets

are freed.


Somehow you have been.


Enough to remind us

of freedom’s devout

internal and

ineradicable seed.


What a magnificent Lion

you have been all these

disastrous years

and still are,


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