Prison Radio
Uhuru Rowe

This is Uhuru Rowe calling from the Virginia prison system. This is the poem “Affirmation” by Assata Shakur.

I believe in living.
I believe in the spectrum
of Beta days and Gamma people.
I believe in sunshine.
In windmills and waterfalls,
tricycles and rocking chairs.
And I believe that seeds grow into sprouts.
And sprouts grow into trees.
I believe in the magic of the hands.
And in the wisdom of the eyes.
I believe in rain and tears.
And in the blood of infinity.

I believe in life.
And i have seen the death parade
march through the torso of the earth,
sculpting mud bodies in its path.
I have seen the destruction of the daylight,
and seen bloodthirsty maggots
prayed to and saluted.

I have seen the kind become the blind
and the blind become the bind
in one easy lesson.
I have walked on cut glass.
I have eaten crow and blunder bread
and breathed the stench of indifference.

I have been locked by the lawless.
Handcuffed by the haters.
Gagged by the greedy.
And, if I know any thing at all,
it’s that a wall is just a wall
and nothing more at all.
It can be broken down.

I believe in living.
I believe in birth.
I believe in the sweat of love
and in the fire of truth.

And I believe that a lost ship,
steered by tired, seasick sailors,
can still be guided home
to port.

To me, this poem represents the spirit of a person or a group of people who have been beat down, kept down, stepped on, and have faced the unspeakable odds but still have the resiliency to get up, rise up, and reclaim our dignity and humanity, and to seek and have hope and faith that in spite of insurmountable odds, we can build a better future for us and our children If we just believe in self, in each other, and in our collective will to create new social relations and a new egalitarian society on the ashes of the old.