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Ali's Song

They say that gold don’t tarnish. It ain’t so. They say it has a wild, unearthly glow. A man can be more beautiful, more wild. I flung their medal to the river, child. I flung their medal to the river, child. They hung their coin around my neck; they made my name a bridle, “called a spade a spade.” They say their gold is pure. I say defiled. I flung their slave’s name to the river, child. I flung their slave’s name to the river, child. Ain’t got no quarrel with no Viet Cong that never called me n---er, did me wrong. A man can’t be lukewarm, ’cause God hates mild. I flung their notice to the river, child. I flung their notice to the river, child. They said, “Now here’s your bullet and your gun, and there’s your cell: we’re waiting, you choose one.” At first I groaned aloud, but then I smiled. I gave their “future” to the river, child. I gave their “future” to the river, child. My face reflected up, dark bronze like gold, a coin God stamped in His own image—Bold. My blood boiled like that river—strange and wild. I died to hate in that dark river, child. Come, be reborn in this bright river, child. Originally published by Black Medina then turned into a YouTube video by Lillian Y. Wong Note: Cassius Clay, who converted to Islam and changed his “slave name” to Muhammad Ali, said that he threw his Olympic boxing gold medal into the Ohio River. When drafted during the Vietnamese War, Ali refused to serve, reputedly saying, “I ain't got no quarrel with those Viet Cong; no Vietnamese ever called me a n---er.”

Copyright © | Year Posted 2019




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