Abdul-Jalil Rashid Al-Imarah (Samuel Baptiste)


Some love it

Some hate it

Others simply don’t get it


First a cell and now a mask

They speak of Isolation

As if solitary did not exist until…


You can drink it

or you can catch it

car swerves

headlights and pole

breathalyzer evidence

Some are in prison because of…


What an awful name

Social distancing

as if we were not already far from society

6 feet

step back

legs spread


I see guards walking with hand sanitizers

In an environment rife with bacteria

passing it out to prisoners is not justified at all

at least not according to the protocols of…


A sentence on top of a jail sentence

I no longer receive visitations

due to corona

I’m locked down longer in my cell

due to corona

the stress and anxiety of prison multiplies

due to corona

I wear a mask just to read my mail

due to corona

Maybe I die prison

the sound of a cough or sneeze

is more terrifying

than the guard’s footsteps or keys…

due to Corona


Poetry for the National Coalition to Protect Civil Freedoms’ News Digest.


A dark place

juxtaposed and meshed

Steel, Iron, Concrete and Cement slabs

to take a breath of its air

would cause you to inhale its solitude

a tight narrow space

which some choose to label as a room

The silent walls

all of it is silent

the room that is….silent.

The sound of your soft respiration


bouncing off the walls as echo

The walls listen

Screams of anguish never heard


Mad men chatter

Self engaged conversations


The ceiling is neither high or low

and the floor

many feet have shuffled through

Mysteries of men

whose stories were never told


Some were never known


a tight place


not worth mentioning

Peering out the windows of seclusion


Imposition of a banishment

Exile has birthed the outcasted child of captivity


the death of souls

yawn away your heart’s content


spasms of grief, doom, or gloom

A dark place

such an awful room

as if the windows whistle to the walls

nudged by the floor

interrupted by the drip of tears

splashing gently on the now slippery floor


To suffer or to weep

nonchalantly evading thoughts so deep


Empty uneventful days

and dreadful nights

The heart become a stranger to itself

as if it never felt any feelings

besides the two:



The first which could only be described as mood

constricted and inactive

the claustrophobic room

The second a descriptive noun

not truly evoked as emotion

unless one is trapped in a room

alone and isolated

without any semblance or notion of time

Where the inhale and exhale of the lungs

produce their own unique sounds that rhyme

Where the beating of the heart

has become a continuous annoying tune

Unforgiving walls that speak not

Selfish windows that respond not

No contact with any world whatsoever

‘mental stability’ shifts into a fluid term

and what’s worse besides this

worse than being trapped in the confines

of a hollow hall

with massive shut doors

and silent walls

of existing alone without a hand to hold

is when you seize the steel bars

and you find them cold!!!

Poetry for the National Coalition to Protect Civil Freedoms’ News Digest.

What Is Love To The Captive?

What is love to the captive?

The chained and forgotten

a four letter word if not nurtured

may grow putrid and turn rotten

for there exist hearts that are bitter

and why shouldn’t they be so?

To live inside a box




and as previously mentioned, rotten

With whom shall he share his woes?

Behind bars that keeps the bar of hope so low

Is it his quiet moments?

Or perhaps he remains incapable of love

Solitude has made him permanently lonesome

Maybe he closes his eyes

in order to live out fantasies

and the last trace of a feminine touch

is the juxtaposed sensation

which he wakes to in his dream

What is love to the captive?

The chained and forgotten

a four letter word if not nurtured

may grow putrid and turn rotten

There exist hearts that still function

hearts that still love

hearts that pulse gently

and hearts that beat drums

the tiny ember in the dark hidden in a flock

the lonesome lovely dove

relationships must now go deeper

a little more force into the pull

to assert the gentle tug

Romantic and more intimate

Must now be distant lovers

attempting to build dreams

within the depths of the dungeon

can their words replace the hands that’s squeezed

substitute for the kiss

and alternatives to touch

shall not their words caress

the private moments

into the word deposited letters

where there secret verbs become undressed

will not the yearning re-invoke the longing

and still something must now be suppressed

Will the wind carry whispers to the beloved

on behalf of he who is now a slave?

Can she see the depths of his courage

as fear causes it to falter

yet he writes as if still brave?

Is it possible for his secret thoughts

to reach the one that he admires?

Shall he speak of pain?

Or disregard unpleasantness

and feign for her non-existent joys?

Pursuing the lighter notes

as he launches his paper planes?

Would she truly understand the role she plays?

Kindling his spark of hope

until it grows as bright as flame

There are lovers separated by sea

some only by Plexiglas or screen

while others whom by death have parted

how difference is the feeling of a touch

never to be had

or a face since long altered

by weary time that leaves things sad

the voices never to be heard again

chickens are all cooped

and bulls must play in pens

while sheep get to roam the pastures

for his joy is separated

and shielded from her is his isolated laughter

So what is love to the captive?

The dissident

the one who must be punished

that victim of injustice

when he is alone and isolated

how can he even possibly

contemplate a matter of intense privacy

when it is denied to him?

Why should he desire a companion

while he is in the midst of his tragedy?

For he will grow old and die

while his manacles remain to shackle

and remain as surplus and supply

Is not the suffering of one enough?

Or must his invitations be

for the suffering of others?

To offer passion and sentimentality

in this realm of vulnerability

For the captive,

unrequited love equals death

since his whole existence fluctuates

between hope and despair

Do not tigers wither in their cage?

and wolves so noble become reduced to whines?

What is love for the captive?

The chained and forgotten

a four letter word if not nurtured

may grow putrid and turn rotten

What is love for him?

Could he even make use of it?

(Thus,) it is his motivation

the melodic tempo to the cacophony

of the chaos that surrounds him

Love is the sanctuary of the captive

Poetry for the National Coalition to Protect Civil Freedoms’ News Digest.


Haiku for Palestine

Palestine’s bright sun

Shines across the sea and through

U.S. prison bars


Ode to Abdel Rahman Al-Shantti

Abdel Al-Shattil hear ya son

Talking about what should

Be done.

From 1948 the war begun

the Zionist came through

like a blizzard storm.

They took Palestinian land leaving

The people forlorn.

But the war is not finished said

The PLO in ’69 followed by the PLFP in ’67

Praising the martyrs up in heaven.

Zionist established their government

To replace a race turning Palestine into

An apartheid State.

What you going to do the generation

Of Al-Shatti – from Intifada 87-91 and again

2000-05 having to keep the movement alive

The Right of Return is not to be compromised

If a two State solution is to be realized.

I hear ya Al-Shatti in your 11-year-old wisdom.

You be rapping about Israel and Palestine and

who so many has died, mothers have cried

everything wondering when peace will be actualized

if not in your generation then humanity has been denied,

‘cuz another generation will have to realize there won’t

Be any peace until Palestine is Free!

Palestine is free?

There won’t be any peace until Paletine is Free!

Free Palestine!!

Gaza rapper Abdel-Rahman Al-Shantti is an 11-year old who rhymes on war and hardship in the Palestinian Gaza, conveying in English what he calls “a message of peace and humanity.”

سامي العريان


He’s been indicted

The General decided

The paper incited

He must be guilty

The agent presumed

Prosecutors consumed

The judge assumed

We’re sure he’s guilty

The bigots are enthused

TV is amused

The public is confused

But trust us, he’s guilty

Doesn’t matter what we saw

We’ll simply change the law

Call it the final straw

We think he’s guilty

We have him on a call

It may be to a congressional hall

Our goal is to make him fall

Because we believe he’s guilty

The trial would be perfect

When guilty is the verdict

Even if the evidence is suspect

Never mind, we find him guilty

But he only spoke his mind

To people of every kind

Justice may be blind

But it’s been hard to find

Because he’s innocent

My Mom & The Key

My mother was ten when she left her home

Hungry, terrified and away from the dome

Her hand holding tight to her mother’s hand

But her brother’s shoe was stuck in the sand

They walked and walked until they collapsed

With scores of people and corpses they’d passed

They remembered Deir Yasin and what happened over there

The innocents were killed, the clothed and the b are

Her father assured her we’d be back for your toy

Your doll, my darling, that brings you smiles and joy

Her mother has worn the house key around her neck

But in a hurry she forgot her ring on the deck

She thought she’d be back in a week, why the tears?

The weeks became months and the months became years

At twenty she sang me my first lullaby

A refugee I was born but told good-bye

The world has turned its back on us all

Homeless, stateless, a stranger I recall

Your land is sacred, don’t you ever forget

My father would say from the day we first met

Injustice my son is what happened to us

People may ask you what’s all the fuss

You tell them we belong to the land of our fathers

Our witness is history if one simply bothers

Justice is a spring that waters the soul

Stand firm, be strong and the enemy shall fall

My mother would tell me on my wedding day

Our belief in you has not changed in any way

I thanked her and father and kissed her hand

Our struggle is about freedom not merely for land

My son was two when my mother called me

Grandmother’s died, around her neck was the key