Prison Dreams, Street Realties

This is something I wrote in 2002 at the Easy Everything Internet Café in Times Square NYC. At the time I was broke, didn’t really have a place to stay, we were all being investigated and/ or arrested, and I was just feeling kind of low and this led me to write this. Some Muslims feel down and low and maybe that will lead them to leaving Muslim friends and maybe going out on a limb and jaywalking or drinking a glass of wine. When I start feeling down my thoughts are a little nastier and after having to sleep on the A Train (and the re-routed 1 Train) I was having nasty thoughts.

Prison Dreams, Street Realties

You are full of dreams. You are sitting everyday and thinking of ways of succeeding in life, searching for a better way, and praying that your dreams will come true. A date has been marked on the calendar, and that date will be the start of a new life. A different life, a life where you are an achiever and not struggling day to day.

Yes, you are in prison. You are in prison with a fierce desire to be free. Memories of the soft touch of a woman, a home cooked meal by your mother, an evening stroll on your favorite ave, and of friendships fill your mind. Waiting for that day.

Then the day comes. It comes and you greet it with excitement. Finally, I will walk the streets and be free.

However, your dreams soon come crashing up against reality. You have no money. No place to stay. No food. You have been given a bus ticket and $35 and been told good luck, and do not come back.

Now you are out. Out and looking at a world that you want to be a part of, but how do you enter this world? Watching people dine on good food, and you are hustling up the money for potato chips. Watching men walk down the street with beautiful women in their arms, and all you can do is reminisce on what you once had. Watching people walk by wearing the latest fashions, and all you can do is look in the mirror and hope that you do not look too bad.

They tell you do not come back to jail. Your family tells you that you need to get your life together, they tell you that you are getting too old to be in the streets. Their advice is taken, yourself you do not want to return to prison. Looking for a chance, but it never comes, looking for a way out but you cannot find it, looking for a different life, but it is becoming apparent that there is only one way to live for you.

Daily frustration. Internal contemplation leads to conclusions. Yes, I am a warrior, a thug, a soldier true to my code. You are not a part of this society, you are a leper, what need is there to participate in a society that doesn’t want you? A choice has been made, a recognition of the fact that your life will be the life of an outlaw until the last breath.

Plans are made, things are set into motion, and old friends are called. Returning to hot blocks, your heart is beating fast, mind is thinking quick, eyes are on the prize. Eyes are on the car you wanna ride in, the women you want to ride you, the clothes you want to wear, and the places you want to see.

A move is made. It is a good move. An initial success. Money is in your pocket, and you are feeling like a new man. Life is getting better, people are looking at you in a new light, looking at you with respect. The same muthafuckas who told you to do the right thing, now are plotting on how they can get a part of your ill-begotten gains. She wouldn’t look at you twice yesterday, now she is whispering sweet things in your ear. He played like he didn’t see you before, now he wants to talk about the old days in high school with you.

Yes, you have decided. I will live, and I will die, an outlaw. I will go out in a blaze of glory. Old age is not for you, cancer will not take you under, you will go out on a hot summer night on a blazing Brooklyn block and you are hoping you will take at least one with you. It has been decreed, your destiny must be faced.

Plans are made and moves are made, but there are other schemers out there. As your wealth increases you have jealousy as an enemy, the word is out and now you are a target of the schemers. As you face resistance from that side, you are facing resistance from the Law, they are watching. Watching and waiting. Waiting to bring you back home. The only question is: who will get you first?

These are our lives. This is our world. If you haven’t been there, you do not understand. We are our own nation of rebels and thugs. An angry nation. A multiplying nation. A nation ready to explode. A nation despised by the establishment, and not understood by the opposition, we live amongst ourselves, we retire to homes with bars and we come to cry at one another’s funerals.


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