23 June, 2020

Toppling Statues


Sometimes the headlines write the songs. I had a good time writing this. Now if I could just get it out of my head….


We're toppling statues
of confederate schmoes
i'd rather see Larry, Curly and Moe

Let’s have Ella and Billie, Sir Duke or Roy Haynes
or Dizzy Gillespie, Rahsaan or Coltrane
Or maybe Aretha or Sojourner Truth
Audre Lord or John Lewis or ol Langston Hughes

We're toppling statues
of old men with no souls
to replace them with heroes like Sun Ra or Nat Cole

Elizabeth Cotten, Charles Mingus or Prince
Barry White, Crispus Attucks or Atticus Finch

Big Mama Thornton, Ruby Dee or Odetta,
Mahalia Jackson or Sister Rosetta

Or Zora Neale Hurston or Nina Simone
Bessie Smith or Slim Gaillard, Monk or Sly Stone

We're toppling statues
those old men must go
To celebrate people
with big hearts and souls

Those thieves they have robbed us
of solace and sleep
They’ve never been heroes –
they just made the world weep

(The Nina Simone statue is in her hometown of Tryon, NC. Sculpted by Zenos Frudakis, it contains some of her ashes in a bronze heart built into the chest.)

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