Welcome to EarthColony.Net; From the Syllabus of Malcolm X: “TO SLEEP; PERCHANCE TO DREAM”, by Dr. Steven Nur Ahmed

Perchance to dream

Nothing prepares a person for the kind of noise generated in a prison.  It is insidious.  It is counter-rhythmic noise. There is endless mindless chatter of hundreds of convicts. The slamming of cell doors, clanking and scrapping of metallic cups, utensils, and trays along the surface of metallic tables batter one’s ears and shock the mind.  There is no pattern to it.  No tempo, no beginning nor end and inescapable.


It was always the first challenge for Malcolm. To surmount it by coping with in some way the continuous stream of undirected outbursts, belches, farts, coughs, screams, and laughter. They invaded his zone of privacy; a zone of privacy not defined by space but defined by thoughts alone or simply defined by the antithesis of thought,- not thinking at all.  All of that and the ever present ringing of a jailer’s keys coupled with their shouts for ‘count’ evoke visceral tension that simply burns and twists one’s gut into ever smaller knots. 


But sometimes on stormy nights there’d be flashes of lightening coupled with the sound of thunder and rain drops splattering onto those same objects of yesterday’s mangled noise though now commanding dead silence in everyone everywhere. 


On such a night, they’d lay frozen as if out of time and in moments of utter focus would realize how estranged their lives were in their little cells set within a cell block in an isolated prison. How could it be possible for a man to be so alone?  And what exists in part or in whole that can inflate his spirit with the fullness of life so that he could feel life and live again? Malcolm must be thrown into a corner with no way out to face his fear of love.


Malcolm had never really ever loved a woman.  He had even lost his bond to his mother when he was a child. And so, on nights with deep and penetrating rolls of thunder claps, he too, would lay in his bunk silent.  He’d lay there with his eyes staring upward to the ceiling rolling on a stream of thoughts; those thoughts would be his pathway to dreams. Then, suddenly, by the flick of a switch lights were out everywhere and he was covered by a blanket of darkness.


Now, there were no counter-rhythmic sounds to short circuit his feelings.  Wood and metal objects in relation to rain drops would trigger pleasurable and calm feelings from his inner most self. Those same sounds now would tickle him.


There was nothing now but those natural rhythmic sounds made by nature and inducing him to think on big questions.  And so he would.   Why, he would think, had he never loved a woman and whether he would ever love, or even if he’d be capable of trusting and loving a women. But certainly not there in his cell or cell block or on a prison yard.


Eventually, and on his path of thoughts, sleep would carry Malcolm away. They would carry him far away from his cell.  On that rare night and in peaceful sleep he would ride his stream of consciousness into his own dreamscape fashioned by his hopes, his dreams, and his desires. Therein he would find his answers which during his waking consciousness could not be discovered. 

Scene 1, Act 1: Dream Garden


Silently Malcolm walked in and about his garden.  Plush green trees and bright colorful plants lay along the way on either side as he strolled along.  In the distance he could see a small lagoon with crystal clear water. He looked ahead and down the brown pathway and saw what he thought was the figure of a woman. 


Malcolm: Hey, who are you?

Staring at Malcolm, the woman said nothing.

Woman: humming and smelling a flower.

Malcolm stared at her.  From what he could see she was naked. She must have been about 24 years of age. She looked up at him and smiled. Her teeth were pearl white; her eyes were dark brown and clear. Her lips together were plush; her skin was shimmering silken dark. There was not a shade of sadness or worldliness in her gaze. 


She was sitting on the edge of a fallen tree trunk.  Malcolm sat down beside her and looked at her silently.


Malcolm lifted his hand and touched her hair. Closing his eyes he put his fingers on her hair and squeezed, he could feel between his fingers her soft radiant and spongy hair.  


Malcolm: This is so real…who are you? Do you have a name?


The Woman looking in Malcolm’s eyes: Yes, Malcolm I have a name.


Malcolm: What is it?


Woman: giggling…


Woman: Malcolm you can’t know a woman’s name until you can reveal to her your poetry.

Malcolm looking puzzled.


Malcolm: I’m not a poet. I’ve never been…I’m not a very good speaker either but why should that stop me from knowing your name?


Women: Malcolm have you ever loved a woman?


Malcolm looking down,


Malcolm: I, I…no.  I haven’t had time to love a woman..


Woman smiling: Malcolm I need your poetry.


Malcolm stood up and looked away with his head down.  The Woman stands up and steps behind him. She is slightly taller than Malcolm. Her form perfectly proportioned. She gently put her hands upon his back. Malcolm turned around and faced her.  His composure became relaxed.


Suddenly the woman reached behind Malcolm’s head with her two hands and thrust his face into her chest burying it into her bosom.  Then with her lips pressed solidly against his ear she screamed into his ear with tears streaming from her eyes onto his cheeks and onto her breasts. 


Woman: Give to me your poetry! Give to me your poetry! I need your poetry! I want to live too.


Malcolm could not break free from her hold; he could not breathe. Then as suddenly as she had grabbed him she let him go.  Once released Malcolm fell to his knees before her grasping for his breathe. 


Malcolm’s eyes were glazed as he looked up at her. A flood of images surfaced from some deep subconscious place in his mind painting upon his consciousness as if it were a canvass a montage of images moving in kaleidoscopic patterns.  He then with the utter loss of his power of control yielded to a deep evocation of some undiscovered part of himself and said:



Upon the verdure of our garden lies crystal due,

Permeating the souls of our feet,

Cooling them from the flowing motion of desire,

As golden ice plants entwine about our ankles,

Locking us in eternal love;

Can I love you?

 As I loved you in Egypt,

Can I prove my love with monuments reflecting the glory of Eternity?

Can I build a river like the Nile?

To designate that space cannot sever our tie,

nor is there distance separating us;

And time will not vanquish the image that our moment in the garden has cast.

Every flower gives scent,

And the bees, the music of their solemn buzz,

They shall play for the union in our garden.

And the distant stars shall alight with splendor,

Because we loved,

And cast our image to co-mingle with other images of different hues throughout all Eternity.


The woman looked into Malcolm’s eyes and they fixed in gaze each onto the other she said to him: this love shall always be in you.  And my love will be fulfilled by you Malcolm because I am known as Hathor.  I shall wait for you Malcolm on the bank of the river under the weeping willow tree.


Malcolm opened his eyes. The storm had long passed. He could hear jingling keys down the cell block hallway.  The turn key yelled: count time.

























© Copyright 2013 Dr. Steven Nur Ahmed, All rights Reserved. Written For: Earth Colony

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