Saturday, May 28, 2011

R.I.P. Gil Scott-Heron

O Say Can You See (Ode to Gil Scott-Heron)

My friends,
when a poet speaks of revolution
do not be confused or afraid.
Revolution is change.
And the most natural thing in the universe is change.
And we all know it is what it is. And the revolution is no rerun;
the revolution is live.
Turn off the television, put down your remote and step outside:
Revolution doesn’t come from Super Bowl 45, Survivor, American Idol or CSI.
but still see that I’ve
arrived to speak in rhyme scheme
to describe the crime scene:

O say can you see—
the flag’s drowning stars, bloody bars and seams?
My country ‘tis of thee—
Land of lactose-intolerance, deadly diets and diabetes;
Where any rebellion-to-be
is an unsweetened tea party.
Your mascots truthfully speak:
The Yankees stole the homes of the Braves
and Eagles caged in coins will never fly free.

O say can you see—
Students pledging “one nation under God” from K-12
though the lesson is never heaven in when education is hell.
So they skip class and hop-scotch over knowledge
and end up having to pop lock and drop out of college.
They missed the shot coming up,
now they live and die by the BUCK! and buck—
And the GREEN has yet to rust so in GREED they trust;
some eat the whole pie and some feed on the crust.

O say can you see—
Money-hungry hogs pigging out on spoiled milk and honey—
The toilets are clogged and there’s no-doubt the people are plunging.
So we support political campaigns to claim, “Yes we can change!”
but end up voting for warfare and hypocritical campaigns
and the metal shards from exploding bombs
aluminumb our emotions and can pain inside our hearts.

O say can you see—Our Mother Earth aching?
O say can you see—Our Mother Earth quaking?
Children, Hurry! Start running! Hurricane Tsunami’s a-coming!
The showers are drumming! The Powers are mumbling!
“The towers are tumbling!” And the hours are crumbling!

O say can you see—
us walking out from the under rubble of the past
forever standing, hearts together, hands clasped—
lifting every voice and singing something
because we know the revolution is coming!
And revolution is change and change is money and money is time
so, the revolution is a time that cannot be filmed or televised
simply because, the revolution first takes place
when we wake up and change our minds.


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