18 Days: Still shaking the world… 

by Raymond Nat Turner

You’re the ones we’ve been waiting for—
Fiery deeds thawing souls on ice, awakening wise 
Old revolutionaries, political prisoners, smooth-
Skinned activists, looking, listening, cheering and
Studying solidarity

18 Days: Still shaking the world… 

by Raymond Nat Turner

North African sun setting on pyramid
Schemes of klepto-regimes…
Jasmine contagion from below
Spreading, scalding, scorching earth, 
Magma melting membranes of fear—
Spring has sprung, thawing hearts, over-
Throwing oppressed peoples’ Pavlovian 
Habits, infecting them with West Nile
Virus no body politic is immune to…

If only for one day, 
You’re the ones we’ve been waiting for, honking
Horns, hugging, rejoicing, dancing in frozen traffic—
Transforming Tahrir Square into the university of
Revolution—professors testing scientific theory 
Of the state, reviewing proletarian power 
Dusting off old slogans, and dreaming grand 
Again, of real World Cups running over on
Ordinary ones—Red Sea change we can believe in… 

If only for one day, 
You’re the ones we’ve been waiting for,
Ordinary ones, extraordinary organizing, 
February mornings on the world stage—
The revolution is being televised in real
Time, on the big screen— where a million 
Lessons, disguised as 18 days, teach ten 
Times what business as usual decades teach

If only for one day, 
You’re the ones we’ve been waiting for,
Your Wall of Martyrs, esteemed faculty 
Defending your dissertation: “Freedom ain’t free,”
Staring out at and quizzing us silently 
With crimson queries: “How many bullet wounds, 
Stab wounds, burns, shocks, slaps, lashes, punches, 
Kicks and disappearances can you endure to hold 
The street another day? Another hour? Minute?
How many buckets of blood are required
To control a square? How many rocks and 
Pieces of concrete must you pitch per second 
To defend the revolt against hooligans on horses 
 And camels, thugs freed from prison and armed 
With whips, clubs, guns, Molotov Cocktails, and
Paid $10 & a bucket of the Colonel’s Chicken?”
How many martyrs would you estimate it takes— 
300, 500, 1,000, to keep the patchwork quilt of 
Blue, green, grey and white tents on Liberation 
Square? How many for turning white sheets 
Into a flat screen televising the revolution?
How many martyrs for seizing fast food 
Restaurants, converting them into clinics for 
Doctors treating injured and ill?
How many buckets of blood and self-immolations  
Are required for setting up food stalls? For 
Distributing sandwiches and sweets? How many 
Martyrs for founding street pharmacies and 
Street schools for working-class children?
They silently quiz us
“How many buckets of blood and self-immolations,
How many martyrs would you estimate it takes?
300? 500? 1,000?
How many more for the first recycling system?
“How many bullet wounds, stab wounds, burns, 
Shocks slaps, lashes, punches, kicks and dis-
Appearances are you willing to endure to dislodge 
A dictator, for regime change you can believe in?”

If only for one day, 
You’re the ones we’ve been waiting for,
In militant millions, proletarian pedigree 
Bright as peacock plumes, converting streets 
Into schools of class struggle, studying dog-eared
Texts of disappeared pharaohs, World Bank and 
IMF mummies wrapped in orange jumpsuits and 
Austerity restraints, in Guantanamo tombs near
Dick Cheney’s pacemaker, Baby Doc’s bankbook, 
The Shah’s peacock throne, 2,000 pairs of Emelda 
Marcos’ shoes and other artifacts of oppressors—
Permanent collection Museum of Deposed Dictators 

If only for one day, 
You’re the ones we’ve been waiting for,
High on democracy fermenting in the streets!
Yesterday you opened your mouths in dentists’ chairs only 
Today, your teeth and tongues taste sweet slogans, popularizing
Savory demands! Yesterday you were consumed with bread shortages
Today you serve bread and cheese free; yesterday, there was no work,
Today the factories you seized are humming; Yesterday thugs, under
Color of law, terrorized you, today, your defense committees, patrolling, 
Distributing flyers, discussing twists and turns of the revolt, sharing 
Water and dates, picking up litter… IS the law…
 
If only for one day, 
You’re the ones we’ve been waiting for,
No longer moved recklessly like chess pieces 
In hands of war profiteers for profits of
Bishops and kings…
No longer playthings in casino-capitalists’ 
Hands—hands playing games with grains:
Rice, corn, wheat, soy— and speculating 
On children’s futures…

If only for one day, 
You’re the ones we’ve been waiting for—
Black brothers and sisters suffer sleeping 
Sickness, contracted five Januarys ago; and 
The peace “movement’s” a grotesque weave,
Extension pinning itself to the tail of the
Donkey, the mule, fanning flies— useless!
You’re the ones we’ve been waiting for—
Fiery deeds thawing souls on ice, awakening wise 
Old revolutionaries, political prisoners, smooth-
Skinned activists, looking, listening, cheering and
Studying solidarity with you from Madison, 
Wisconsin, Occupy Oakland, Occupy Wall Street, 
Occupies checkering the U.S….
You’re the ones we’ve been waiting for—
Your embers smoldering in Chicago teachers,
Wal-Mart and Fast Food workers, Prison Hunger
Strikers, Anti- Police Terror activists taking halting,
Baby steps, walking like Tunisians, like Egyptians…

Raymond Nat Turner can be contacted at Raymond (at) upsurgejazz.com.

Raymond Nat Turner © 2014 All Rights Reserved