One Free Man

July 17, 1971

When I step out of jail on January 19th
of next year    election year
I will not be stepping out of jail.
Just as when I was taken into custody
in Rochester, N.Y. by Federal Marshals
I was not being imprisoned.

I have my mind
my soul     my spirit
my self-respect         my friends
memories      dreams      vision
hope    faith    love
other people     books       my pen
here in prison.

For the past two and a half years,
since I decided to resist,
I have been a free man.
Out of prison.  In prison.
Out of prison.  Underground.
At death.   In the courtroom.
“You will know the truth,
and the truth will set you free.”

Freedom is not something given
from them
on January 19th.
It is something I have incorporated
into my being
no matter where I am.
I have made myself a free man
(with thanks to family, friends,
movement, fellow resisters).

I am one presently
I shall be one on January 19th
When I step into the larger jail
Which is America.