Sunday, February 25

A poem for black history month

So there's a poetry slam here on Thursday.

I've got a new poem.

It's only a draft, but at this point, I'm excited about what it might be when I'm finished with it. Or when it's finished with me.

Let me know what you think, although this is obviously meant to be experienced with your ears. (Since this is a slam, include what you think on a scale of 1-10.)

Have you heard?
Have you heard?
John. St John.
Have you heard?

A bomb went off in a Baptist Church.
Four little black girls.
Dead. In Birmingham, Alabama.

Have you heard?
Have you heard?
Has you heard him?
Has he touched you?
Has he touched the hem of your garment?
The man from Hamlet.
To be or not to be
is not the question.
To be or not to be
touched by tongues of fire.
That is the question.
Listen. In the blinking of an eye.
We will not all die,
but we will all be changed.
Let's go back to the beginning.
You see In the beginning
he was approaching perfection.
The saxophonication of perfection
This sounds like jazz
is supposed to sound, right?
Blue Trane, Soul Trane, Coltrane.
Giant Steps, Naima,
My Favorite Things.
Rain drops on roses and whiskers on kittens.
Coltrane for lazy Sunday afternoons.
Summertime and the living is easy.
And I'll live a lush life
in some small dive.

No. He was put here to be
much more than that.
Why does a jazz musician
have to be hooked on smack?
Fuck you heroin.
I want a hero.
I want a prophet.
I want a portal.
Give me an immortal sound
more perfect than yesterday's perfection.
Let the saxophone blow.
And every knee shall bend
and every tongue confess
that the music is
starting to change
the music has to change.
A bomb went off.
Is this jazz, is this jazz, is this still jazz
or is this pain?
Is he a genius or a madman?
He is trying to tell me
something about God
that I do not want to know.
He is trying to tell me something
and I have to listen.
I don't have a choice.
So Blow John Blow.
Blow John Blow.
Now, we will all die,
but will we all be changed?
I hear him chanting through his horn:
The Father, Son and the Holy Ghost.
I hear him chanting:
A Love Supreme.
I hear him chanting:
Kulu se ma.
I hear him chanting:
A Love Supreme.
The Father, Son and the Holy Ghost.
A Love Supreme.
Kulu Se Ma.
Blow John Blow!
With every hair on my neck
I feel him moving into
Interstellar Space
and this space
inside me
is filled to overflowing.

John! John!
Have you heard?
A bomb went off
John. St. John.
Four little girls.
Dead in Alabama.


Blogger Vajra said...


February 25, 2007 1:30 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Vurry nice.

I would cut "Alabama" from line 9. Somewhere around "in the beginning" you could stick in "was the Word," recalling John 1:1.

If you have time problems, you might reconsider the repetition of "A Love Supreme" and "Kulu Se Ma."

But it's vurry, vurry nice.

I'm just sayin'.

February 26, 2007 10:57 AM  
Blogger ocho said...

Reacher - thanks for your comments. I would submit that In the beginning already recalls John 1:1 since the thought came to your mind, but I'll play with it some and see how it all rolls off the tongue.

February 26, 2007 10:40 PM  
Blogger ocho said...

Thanks, Vajra.

February 26, 2007 10:40 PM  

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