The Dragon is inside of me roaring to be free.
Word to George Jackson, Angela Davis, and Assata Shakur.
When I read those books, their stories left me
Thirsting for more.

Discipline is the foundation; the core to survive
The struggle, I work my body until it’s sore, take a shower,
Then read some more.

You see, the words on the page are the food we eat.
The knowledge we gain is the tools we use to get

One thousand burpees on the yard. Well-disciplined.
Going hard to make it home. No room for weakness.
Suckas a pull ya card. They always more than one
‘Cause they really ain’t hard.

In tune with the Leaders and Ancestors before me,
Who left behind their Spiritual Energy, which remains strong.
We still fighting so they live on.

Discipline got me surviving 72 hours in the box.
Every three days, a five-minute shower.
Word to Albert Woofdox and the Angola 3.
R.I.P., Shaka.

43 years on 23 and one.*
Discipline got me doing push-ups on my fists until my
Knuckles are numb.

Behind these walls, to be Disciplined is a weapon.
Stayin’ strong and focused: Meditation and stretchin’.
From the Books, I study the lessons
Of those gone and still living.

Even though my peoples are physically free,
They’re still trapped in a mental prison.
It’s going to take a lot of discipline for us to see
The day of truer living
A lot of love
And a lot of giving.



*23 and one refers to solitary confinement, with 23 hours per day in a cell and one hour outside the cell.


  1. Denise K on April 18, 2023 at 10:24 AM

    Oh, DS, this is such a powerful poem. So much love and hope and resolve swirling in every line. I love so much about this, but one of the standouts for me is:
    “You see, the words on the page are the food we eat.”

    Here’s to sooner, a new day to be set free from “mental prisons” for this:

    “The day of truer living
    A lot of love
    And a lot of giving.”

  2. Emre Press on April 24, 2023 at 7:26 PM

    I have read a lot of poems; this one got me. I live my life with the mindset of discipline and its importance. I can’t even comprehend it is the only thing you have to keep you sane. I am glad you can write and use it as an outlet and not consider it a weakness. Thank you for sharing, this was beautiful.

  3. Kimora on May 5, 2023 at 7:14 AM

    This poem is about someone in prison. They are realizing what they need to do to try and make themselves more comfortable.

  4. Rah on May 22, 2023 at 11:16 PM

    23-1 you still have life and you’re mind is free. Stay discipline & self mastery is key. Keep studying… your pen game is nice,

  5. Christie on June 9, 2023 at 7:08 AM

    There’s so much restraint in this poem, that discipline, but the way it speaks to real liberation is breathtaking. The juxtapositions of physical confinement to mental and spiritual freedom. So many people don’t recognize the prison/restraint they carry and live everyday by not reflecting the way the poet has (even if out of necessity). It’s a beautiful, haunting poem and stark reminder that there’s no freedom without love (including loving and honouring yourself enough to be accountable to growing/developing yourself). Thank you for this.

  6. nnam on June 26, 2023 at 8:14 PM

    Hi DS. I believe George and Jonathan, Assata, Mumia, and all of our liberators, political prisoners, martyrs, and freedom fighters alike, would be proud to read what I just read. Your ability to translate core revolutionary principles onto the page is amazing. Your strength does not go unnoticed. I hope when you make it home you find a space to be as soft as your are already strong.

    I am rooting for you.

    The Dragon lives on through you.

    I hope one day soon we will all be free from mental and physical prisons; the more we thirst for finally arriving to quench dry-withered lives. I myself am 20 and struggling to figure this shit out. I needa get like you! Still trying to build discipline in my own life. Looking for a home where revolutionaires are not invoked in vain, where the fight isn’t a joke or money grab towards fame.

  7. david wolinsky on July 3, 2023 at 2:00 PM

    It was hard to read this. Probably harder to write it. All the sweat, determination, discipline. The Dragon (!) and the ancestors. I am glad you are reading about how sisters and brothers have struggled in the past and present. I am writing this because it is good to know that someone is reading you, too, DS.

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