Have you ever felt the earth shake

and the walls cave in?

That voice in your brain

telling you

you’ve sinned.

Have you ever seen the crowds turn opaque?

And you don’t know what they’re thinking

or what they’ll give or take?

Sitting naked in a street corner

with just a cup of tea and prayer beads

you feel your thighs move

and ethereal hands

reach out to feed.

I can get used to this

evolving apotheosis.

Now I hope you stay

and share my sacred space

as the dance expands.

We breathe new oxygen

from trees that grow from steel.

I’d risk it all

just to know how freedom feels.

Have you ever wandered

into the soul’s dark night?

where the faces and the moon don’t shine?

and you can’t see the sun,

but the rain tastes like wine.

Have you ever looked

into your own eyes

and understood someone else’s cries?

AIDS patients, refugees,

children and slaves

who walked through the fire

and brutal waves.

Now I see a light

calling me home

at the end of the underground railroad.

They said I should’ve read the signs.

They said I should’ve worked harder.

But I followed my DJ’s vibe

and it made me stronger.


So let’s rejoin the human race,

play the drums

like we own the place

and paint our memories

until they heal

cuz we all need to know.

It’s time to grasp

how freedom feels.

Have you ever tasted life

like chocolate on your tongue?

Have you ever felt your voice rise

to sing songs you’ve never sung?

And spices fill the sky

to cultivate lotuses

in our tear-stained eyes.

I imagine

my wingspan

soaring high

dropping lies to the street lights

as I fly with solidarity

and you hold me

without judging me.

We’ll light the incense

and open the blinds,

walk into euphoria.

We’ve never exposed

a candor this real.

But we’ll go for it,

so we don’t forget


is how freedom feels.

By Paz Griot

Paz Griot is a spoken word poet, visual artist, actor, playwright, and performer originally from New York City. He now lives in Istanbul. He has written and published several poems, performed in countless plays and open mic events, written seven plays and exhibited his paintings, collages, and sculptures in six gallery shows in New York. He is currently writing his eighth play, and is launching a Zen meditation group.