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Poetry: Kazi Toure, Garen Zakarian, Tim Young

October 16, 2015

Don’t you die on me



If you die

I’ll tear you into a thousand pieces

just like that last appeal denied

dump you on the concrete floor

then sweep you up into a moldy washcloth

flush you down the rusty toilet bowl


If you die

I’ll scribble your name in red ink

over the obituaries of the local rag

then burn it

When lunch arrives

I’ll stuff the ashes in between

the rotted cabbage layers

cover it with mustard

leave it on the tray


If you die

I’ll jam you into an AK-47 magazine

drill holes in the sky

send you up

never to return and to be forgotten


Don’t you dare die on me

you filthy cunning charlatan

Cause you’re my only hope,  Hope.”


Starve the beast



Plantation toil, penitentiary moil,

 where slavery ends

The Prison Industrial Complex begins

Check your history

1863 to the 21st century

Wanton misery, no mystery,

Statistics quite frightening

Fraught with disparity…


African Americans constitute

12 percent of the nation

50 percent of the prison population.

That’s mass incarceration

Modern day enslavement

Casting a wide net

Landing a big catch:

The poor, the Black, the innocent…


Forever strange fruit

Courtrooms abound with Black youth

Legal lynching ensues

The gavel is a noose

Freedom dismissed

American justice amiss

School to prison pipeline

Lucrative slave ship…


Dred Scott was the genesis

The aftermath stupendous

Millions of lost souls

Prison, probation, parole

Civil liberties on hold

Democracy untold

A dream deferred

Martin’s nightmare has emerged


A better world is possible

Prison abolition is logical

Society holds the key

Time to manifest some destiny

Organize, mobilize,

Act in solidarity

Accomplish the feat

Starve the belly of the beast…


Tim Young (F-23374), San Quentin State Prison, San Quentin CA – 94974

(from June 2015 – SF Bay View)


Like A Rock



They spoke of women’s strength

silently pleading eternal wisdom

illuminating centuries of herstory

they looked like men’s hands

Granma has the same (and we spoke of her)

they were calloused, not rough

proud, vibrant

labored, and tough

they looked round, felt smooth

Like a Rock

run by water since youth

i saw her spirit


beneath a life-time of drudgery,

trapped dreams, of wanting

more for her children

than a koncrete penitentiary.

And it was hard to look

in those eyes—

monopoly capitals surplus value

she didn’t understand the ties—

i tell you

she just understood the struggle.


8 March 1989


From Hauling Up the Morning (Izando la Manana):

Writings & art by political prisoners & prisoners of war in the U.S. June 1990
by Dalou Asahi (Author), Bill Dunne (Author), Marilyn Buck (Author), Kazi Toure (Author), Alan Berkman(Author), Judy Clark (Author), Tim Blunk (Editor), Raymond Luc Levasseur (Editor), Assata Shakur(Introduction), William Kunstler (Foreword)

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