The Spine (For Muhammad Ali)



I can think of few souls I have admired more in this life than that of the late, "Great" Champion, Muhammad Ali. Upon learning of his passing. these words spilled immediately from my heart. lmr

I want the
Skill, the mind,
The heart,
The spine of
Muhammad Ali.
No, not that of
Cassius Clay,
His "slave name,"
But I want
To inhabit that
Inner Ali in me,
The Ali In all of us
That beats
The heart of
A champion.

I want the skill,
The mind,
The artfulness, the will
To rise from
A canvas
And then to
The power in us
To keep on fighting!
I want the tongue of
A poet,
The wit of a thespian
The mind of a scholar...

I want the holler and
Blatant braggadocio
Of a Proud Black Man
In 1960s Amerikkka,
Refusing to go
To Nam and kill
Yellow strangers
Who never once
Defamed, degraded
Or tried to
Shame him.

I want the spine
And posture of
Muhammad Ali
The kind to endure
Hardships, adversities
And years behind bars
To be released
And reinstated
Only to rise again
Like a phoenix
To reclaim
The name
That was rightfully his...
The title of:

I want that strength
Inside my spine,
The kind to endure
The manure
Thrown in my path.
I want the spine to
Rise like that! A spine
Refusing the gravity
To stoop,
To lean
Or even to bend
To disease...

The kind of spine
That gives even a tremor
A piece dignity.

I want the kind of life
Ali lead:
To achieve fame
Make Presidents and Kings
Revere my name
Leave legacies
In my wake...

And to know the pain
Of my living
Was never once
In vain.


copyright © 2016 by L.M. Ross

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