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Bonus Poetry For National Poetry Month: Gil Scott Heron

My 303rd post, but my first special request–enjoy–but you know you could have googled this, right?

Gil-Scott-Heron-Revolution-Will-Not-Be-TelevisedGil Scott Heron imprinted on the American psyche with “The Revolution Will Not Be Televised”–a seminal rap, spoken-word poem tour do force that most people recognize from history class and vaguely associate with the 1960s (much of which was actually in the 1970s), Viet Nam, Civil Rights, Black Power–anything but the fact that it was part of a poem.

Thought it’s not as culturally significant, I like this one even more–blew my mind the first time I heard it.

Work For Peace by Gil Scott Heron

Back when Eisenhower was the President,
Golf courses was where most of his time was spent.
So I never really listened to what the President said,
Because in general I believed that the General was politically dead.
But he always seemed to know when the muscles were about to be flexed,
Because I remember him saying something, mumbling something about a Military Industrial Complex.
Americans no longer fight to keep their shores safe,
Just to keep the jobs going in the arms making workplace.
Then they pretend to be gripped by some sort of political reflex,
But all they’re doing is paying dues to the Military Industrial Complex.
The Military and the Monetary,
The Military and the Monetary,
The Military and the Monetary.
The Military and the Monetary,
get together whenever they think its necessary,
They turn our brothers and sisters into mercenaries, they are turning the planet into a cemetery.
The Military and the Monetary, use the media as intermediaries,
they are determined to keep the citizens secondary, they make so many decisions that are arbitrary.
We’re marching behind a commander in chief,
who is standing under a spotlight shaking like a leaf.
but the ship of state had landed on an economic reef,
so we knew he was going to bring us messages of grief.
The Military and the Monetary,
were shielded by January and went storming into February,
Brought us pot bellied generals as luminaries,
two weeks ago I hadn’t heard of the son of a bitch,
now all of a sudden he’s legendary.
They took the honour from the honourary,
they took the dignity from the dignitaries,
they took the secrets from the secretary,
but they left the bitch an obituary.
The Military and the Monetary,
from thousands of miles away in a Saudi Arabian sanctuary,
had us all scrambling for our dictionaries,
cause we couldn’t understand the fuckin vocabulary.
Yeah, there was some smart bombs,
but there was some dumb ones as well,
scared the hell out of CNN in that Baghdad hotel.
The Military and the Monetary,
they get together whenever they think its necessary,
War in the desert sometimes sure is scary,
but they beamed out the war to all their subsidiaries.
Tried to make So Damn Insane a worthy adversary,
keeping the citizens secondary,
scaring old folks into coronaries.
The Military and the Monetary,
from thousands of miles in a Saudi Arabian sanctuary,
kept us all wondering if all of this was really truely, necessary.
We’ve got to work for Peace,
Peace ain’t coming this way.
If we only work for Peace,
If everyone believed in Peace the way they say they do,
we’d have Peace.
The only thing wrong with Peace,
is that you can’t make no money from it.
The Military and the Monetary,
they get together whenever they think its necessary,
they’ve turned our brothers and sisters into mercenaries,
they are turning the planet, into a cemetery.
Got to work for Peace,
Peace ain’t coming this way.
We should not allow ourselves to be mislead,
by talk of entering a time of Peace,
Peace is not the absence of war,
it is the absence of the rules of war and the threats of war
and the preparation for war.
Peace is not the absence of war,
it is the time when we will all bring ourselves
closer to each other,
closer to building a structure that is unique
within ourselves
because we have finally come to Peace within ourselves.
The Military and the Monetary,
The Military and the Monetary,
The Military and the Monetary.
Get together whenever they think its necessary,
they’ve turned our brothers and sisters into mercenaries,
they are turning parts of the planet, into a cemetery.
The Military and the Monetary,
The Military and the Monetary,
We hounded the Ayatollah religiously,
Bombed Libya and killed Quadafi’s son hideously.
We turned our back on our allies the Panamanians,
and saw Ollie North selling guns to the Iranians.
Watched Gorbachev slaughtering Lithuanians,
We better warn the Amish,
they may bomb the Pennsylvanians.
The Military and the Monetary,
get together whenever they think its necessary,
they have turned our brothers and sisters into mercenaries,
they are turning the planet, into a cemetery.
I don’t want to sound like no late night commercial,
but its a matter of fact that there are thousands of children
all over the world
in Asia and Africa and in South America who need our help.
When they start talking about 55 cents a day and
70 cents a day,
I know a lot of folks feel as though that,
that’s not really any kind of contribution to make,
but we had to give up a dollar and a half just to get
in the subway nowadays.
So this is a song about tomorrow and about how tomorrow
can be better. if we all,
“Each one reach one, Each one try to teach one”.
Nobody can do everything,
but everybody can do something,
everyone must play a part,
everyone got to go to work, Work for Peace.
Spirit Say Work, Work for Peace
If you believe the things you say, go to work.
If you believe in Peace, time to go to work.
Cant be waving your head no more, go to work.

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Best Damn Quotes: Gil Scott Heron

If everyone believed in Peace the way they say they do, we’d have Peace.
The only thing wrong with Peace, is that you can’t make no money from it.
—Gil Scott Heron 1949-2011

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Olympics Volume 2–Meryl Takes Down Downton

It was Sunday night, the sofa was soft, the down comforter warm, and the sun was shining on Downton Abbey–it’s always shining on the glacially slow BBC soap opera, you might have noticed, despite what I’ve heard about England, yet it was brighter still inside the ice arena in Sochi, Russia where the world’s finest ice dancers were doing their thing in the short program–see how I’m talking in cool skater jargon?–and lighting things up.¬† We tuned out of England and headed for the East.

I don’t know what the hell I’m looking at, of course–I know basketball and football (American Football, the best kind ūüėČ )–but all I know about skating is that skaters have to fit “swizzles” into their programs.¬† Otherwise, I’m judging what looks good, what looks fluid and graceful and, well, (sorry, gentlemen) what looks pretty.¬† Last night, they all looked pretty, and it doesn’t help that I’m a guy who, despite feminist leanings, can’t help noticing how beautiful some of these women are–muscles, smiles, short skirts–it’s better than art on a wall.¬† I’m generally too beguiled by the beauty and the unfamiliar sport to be any kind of judge, unless one of them teeters visibly or falls down.

moir, virtueThe top couples last night all stayed upright.¬† We caught Canadians Scott Moir and¬† Tessa Virtue early on and decided they were unbeatable, even if the young lady didn’t have the most perfect figure skater name ever.¬† Tessa Virtue.¬† A name like that doesn’t even need a publicist–at least not in theory.

Elena Ilinykh, Nikita KatsalapovA short while later, we enjoyed watching a young Russian pair, Elena Ilinykh and Nikita Katsalapov, and you know what? Yep, they looked unbeatable, though I thought–or, more appropriately, felt something that made me wonder if the Canadians were not just a little bit better.¬† At it turned out, it was close, but I was right.

Fabian Bourzat Nathalie PechalatThe next skaters were noticed were a French pair, Nathalie Pechalat and Fabian Bourzat, who I think I liked best of all, up to that point, and guess what: I thought they looked¬†unbeatable. It doesn’t hurt that Ms. Pechalat wore the most beautiful, most exuberant smile on her already beautiful face throughout their program–I wanted them to do well on spirit alone, and they did, landing briefly in third place behind Ilinykh/Katsalapov and Virtue/Moir.

Kaitlyn Weaver, Andrew PojeThey had to know it would be short-lived.¬† Even though another young Canadian pair–Kaitlyn Weaver, Andrew Poje--came out and gave a great showing–not quite unbeatable, but fluid and spirited, and Ms. Weaver’s brilliant blue dress was the hands-down scene stealer of the evening, the night belonged to the last couple to skate.

It seemed like NBC packed an especically dense set of commercials into the space before Meryl Davis and Charlie White took the ice, and why shouldn’t they?¬† This all-American couple of student-athletes has been anointed as the face of the American Olympic team this year, and for all intents and purposes they were a very good choice: smart, upbeat, and wholesome–some of my favorite images of this Olympics have been of White and Davis off the ice, cheering for their team-mates and consoling them when things haven’t turned for the best.¬† You have to like that.

c55885bce17cdc211e64e00fb26901b6dc406cd5Of course, they’re also the best skaters in the world right now, and while I can’t quantify why, it was clear the moment they hit the ice–even to a neophyte like myself.¬† I could not see, so much as I felt the difference–the skill and the surety of their performance, the confidence in every movement.¬† It is their moment, they knew it, and their world record finish pretty much cemented the fact–while simultaneously burying all but the most emphatic–and nationalistic–rumors of score fixing that had been swirling around. Meanwhile, back and Downton Abbey, absolutely nothing had happened.

More Olympics:

https://oldroadapples.wordpress.com/2014/02/07/the-olympics-volume-1/