Song of My Muhammad

Ashley M. Jones

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.

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

Last updated September 27, 2022