Muhammad Ali left us, and departed from the world four years ago, the greatest of all time is gone
Muhammad Ali held the world in his hands, the greatest of all time lives on.
I heard the news of his passing, waking in the middle of the night
I heard the news of his passing, I listened to the stories and cried
Ali, the greatest of all had died
Of all the heroes I ever fell for, he was the only one that was truly alive
The only one I ever prayed for, the only one I thought could make a difference in our time.
Ali spoke to the heart, he spoke for justice and freedom, he told the truth and he spoke of love.
He spoke to the world in the same way that he fought, he spoke to and fought for everyone.
He spoke in rhythms that dazzled and he spoke in words that hurt.
He floated past us
He struck us with his sting
As beautiful as the butterfly
As ominous as the bee
With the symbols of his fame he took on the powers of the world
He was a prophet in our time, he praised us as he scolded us, sharp tongued and pretty.
Ask him, he was the prettiest.
I remember the day in 1980 when I heard the news that he had lost the championship.
Muhammad Ali lost! They said Ali would never fight again!
All the kids on the school bus murmured, Ali was not the greatest after all, and the world stopped making sense.
Muhammad Ali gave my generation permission to be ourselves, be bold and to brag, to be good and do right.
Muhammad Ali taught us to question, to challenge authority, to shun war. Muhammed Ali was right.
He taught us to risk the things you desire most, to give up titles and money and fame
He let them go for the things that matter most to him, to serve the truth, seeking justice, to work on behalf of the poor and the outcast as he drew breath.
Ali handcuffed lightning and put the thunder in jail
His star rose like the sun.
Four years ago it set.
Given First (as an essay) – 2016.06.04