Behind bars(not by Slick Rick)

by Nicholas Alexander

I've heard of great men held
against their wills, behind bars,
in piss-perfumed cells, not big enough
for them and the roaches;
who still, by the power
of some Almighty Muse perhaps,
had the will to write
accounts of their pail-pan experiences:
the apparition-appearing nights
when the wind howling outside
that little rectangular window
sounds like chattering wagtails;
with a faint stream of light
descending on a sheet of tissue
like a moment of revelation-
in places of abject adversity
that spawn great works of resistance.

I think of Mapanje and Ngugi,
black pearls of Africa-
and you, Zhu Yufu,
a Golden Flower from Asia,
incarcerated for beautiful protest.

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