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18 Days: Still shaking the world… 

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    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

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