Going to Muhammad


I shook the hand

which shook the world


“I shook up the World!”

He once hollered


The hand of the man-child

Who destroyed Liston with a phantom punch


The hand from Allah which felled

Foreman beneath an African sky


Thought invincible monsters,

Yet slain like sheep


On the ropes


The hand which once struck like death

Now shakes involuntary sweat

From its tremor


The Man who renounced his slave name

Refused to be moulded like Clay

For the white, rich man’s,

Stone Age War


“No Vietcong ever called me Nigger”

He famously said.


And further, defiantly, he questioned

“Why should a black man

Travel thousands of miles

To kill the yellow man

On behalf of the white man?”


Unanswerable, rhetorical


They sentenced him to prison

They took away his license

They took away his livelihood

They stole his athletic peak


And made him a Hero


As a child,

I watched with dad,


As he danced

Poetic verbal rings

Around Michael Parkinson


Now that once mighty voice

Is all but stilled

Reduced to barely audible whispers

Parkinson’s revenge?


Yet as I shook

That giant


Shaking hand


And looked into those beautiful, boyish

Still playful eyes


And saw him slow-motion shuffle

To stroke the hair of a child


I knew I’d shaken

The hand of Greatness


“I am the Greatest!”

He often proclaimed


He was

And is


The Eternal Champ’

Black and Proud

And strong and free


Muhammad Ali