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