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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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