Previously unreleased

Words & Music
by B. Blanke
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 


Jamal

He’s sitting in his prison cell - staring at the wall
It’s almost 10 p.m. - he’s waiting for the lock up call
Waiting for the sound of the self-closing doors
Still an hour and the lights will turn off - the nights in prison are long
   Since 43 years the procedure of every evening is the same
   Since 43 years a fixed part of the routine of his day
Four steps from window to door, three and a half from wall to wall
Must have been a thousand times, he’s been walking this up and down
A table, a chair, the bed and the can, the small window too high to look outside
And just a few private things like the poster of a pin-up from 1969
   Since 43 years this little cell is his home
   It seems to him another thing he had never known
     And tomorrow he will get discharged
     From prison, will get amnestied
     But the prison is the world he knows,
     Was his life for so many years
     Tomorrow he will get released
     Into freedom, into an unknown world,
     Into a life he isn’t prepared for
     Into a life that he fears

The first months in prison were exceptionally severe
There was no privacy, a life in this narrowness and in permanent fear
There was violence between the black and white, there was violence between the gangs
And there was violence by the guards against every man
   Closely confined with 900 men, anyway you are alone
   He never got a visit, even by his family he was disowned
There was this boredom when there’s nothing to do, days in prison go slowly
It became a little bit better, when he got this job in the laundry
He had seen many men come and go in all this time
Some of them went mad, some of them died
   43 years and he had learnt to survive
   In the end he came to terms with this life
     And tomorrow he will get discharged
     From prison, will get amnestied
     But the prison is the world he knows,
     Was his life for so many years
     Tomorrow he will get released
     Into freedom, into an unknown world,
     Into a life he isn’t prepared for
     Into a life that he fears

He’s trying to remember what’s happened in that fateful night
A few white college boys came into the bar to spoil for a fight
Bad words were said, it came to a brawl, suddenly there was a
knife
In the end one of the white boys bled hard and died
   Jamal hunkered over him and tried to stop the bleeding
   The police wrote down, they found him blood-spattered beside the body kneeling
The courtroom was filled with white men, even the jury and the judge where white
Jamal asserted that he’s innocent and that he never carried a knife
There was the police report and the knife with his fingerprints
And the white college boys testified and pointed to him
The jury found him guilty of murdering that young man
Jamal was just 21, anyhow a life sentence the judge declared,
   43 years of his life for something he’d never done
   43 years and he’s feeling nothing - not even anger at this legal wrong
     And tomorrow he will get discharged
     From prison, will get amnestied
     But the prison is the world he knows,
     Was his life for so many years
     Tomorrow he will get released
     Into freedom, into an unknown world,
     Into a life he isn’t prepared for
     Into a life that he fears


Translation: german flag