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Praise Song for the Day January 22, 2009

Posted by The Typist in literature, poem, Poetry.
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The following is a corrected transcript of the inaugural poem recited by Elizabeth Alexander. The original post from the NY Times was incomplete (see comments).

Praise Song for the Day

Praise Song for the Day
A Poem for Barack Obama’s Presidential Inauguration

Elizabeth Alexander

Each day we go about our business,
walking past each other, catching each other’s
eyes or not, about to speak or speaking.

All about us is noise. All about us is
noise and bramble, thorn and din, each
one of our ancestors on our tongues.

Someone is stitching up a hem, darning
a hole in a uniform, patching a tire,
repairing the things in need of repair.

Someone is trying to make music somewhere,
with a pair of wooden spoons on an oil drum,
with cello, boom box, harmonica, voice.

A woman and her son wait for the bus.
A farmer considers the changing sky.
A teacher says, Take out your pencils. Begin.

We encounter each other in words, words
spiny or smooth, whispered or declaimed,
words to consider, reconsider.

We cross dirt roads and highways that mark
the will of some one and then others, who said
I need to see what’s on the other side.

I know there’s something better down the road.
We need to find a place where we are safe.
We walk into that which we cannot yet see.

Say it plain: that many have died for this day.
Sing the names of the dead who brought us here,
who laid the train tracks, raised the bridges,

picked the cotton and the lettuce, built
brick by brick the glittering edifices
they would then keep clean and work inside of.

Praise song for struggle, praise song for the day.
Praise song for every hand-lettered sign,
the figuring-it-out at kitchen tables.

Some live by love thy neighbor as thyself,
others by first do no harm or take no more
than you need. What if the mightiest word is love?

Love beyond marital, filial, national,
love that casts a widening pool of light,
love with no need to pre-empt grievance.

In today’s sharp sparkle, this winter air,
any thing can be made, any sentence begun.
On the brink, on the brim, on the cusp,

praise song for walking forward in that light.

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HOME January 22, 2009

Posted by The Typist in New Orleans, NOLA, odd, oddities, Toulouse Street.
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Morning in America January 21, 2009

Posted by The Typist in New Orleans, NOLA, Toulouse Street.
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Lest you think my lunch experience completely spoiled yesterday: It’s A Beautiful Day, America. Don’t let it get away.

We’re coming home…

My G-g-g-g-generation January 19, 2009

Posted by The Typist in cryptical envelopment, Dancing Bear, music, New Orleans, NOLA, Odds&Sods, Toulouse Street.
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Screw you Pepsi.

This is my generation, baby. Born in 1957 I am supposed to be the last of the true Baby Boomers, and the Clinton’s are supposed to be my generation’s President.

Hell, no.

Their Traingularnessess represent everything that went off the tracks sometime around 1970, when the American Moloch (Moloch whose drink is Pepsi) tried to swallow and vomit back in clever shrink wrap every forward thought, every intangible positive vibration the 60s produced.

While Obama has more Clinton veterans on his dance card than Ken Starr had on his witness list, he is a much better representation of, is in some way the resurrection of the better angels of our nature that the 1960s promised.

My generation. This is my generation, baby.

Hit it.

Spirits in the Night November 4, 2008

Posted by The Typist in Toulouse Street.
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It is not the specter of Bobby Seale but the spirit of Bobby Kennedy that walks in America tonight, not an angry radical reaction to the angry reactionary nightmare of the years just past but an eternal flame that burns not just on one lonely hill tonight but all across the land in the hearts of Americans.

It has been a long journey of forty years, wandering in the desert, since that night in 1968 when Kennedy told a crowd much like those we saw tonight–young, many African-American–that Dr. King was dead, and calmed their fear and anger with the words of Aeschylus. Neither man lived to see this day.

But I see the ghostly hands of King and Kennedy upon his shoulders as Barrack Hussein Obama leads this nation on our first step into the Promised Land.

Gumbobama Yeah You Right October 24, 2008

Posted by The Typist in Toulouse Street.
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Eh, la bas.

Electoral Dysfunction October 17, 2008

Posted by The Typist in cryptical envelopment, New Orleans, NOLA, Odds&Sods, Toulouse Street.
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Even if the time isn’t right and you’re getting a bit over the hill, there’s still hope for your old soldier who won’t stand to attention. Try K-Cirevam, the miracle tonic that will help you get up and over your electoral dysfunction– you know, that “old ideas” slump–and prop up your sagging fortunes. You can stand tall again and win the adoration of women and men everywhere. Your running mate will thank you.

K-Cirevam is not for everyone. Side effects may include swelling and puffiness especially in the face and cheeks, restlessness, excessive blinking, mental and verbal confusion, shortness of temper, delusions of candor, and rigidity in unexpected parts of the body. If K-Cirevam causes such rigidity for more than four hours, especially in the thumb, call your doctor immediately.

K-Cirevam When you need to convince them that you’re the one who’s ready. Consult your witch doctor. Use only as directed.

Listening for the new told lies July 12, 2008

Posted by The Typist in Toulouse Street.
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‘Facing a dying nation
Of moving paper fantasies
Listening for the new told lies
With supreme visions of lonely tunes”

It was Peter at Adrastos who made some remark about “the hippies” in reference to a McCain ad. Somehow that put me in mind of this song.

McCain. Iran. A dying nation of moving paper fantasies.

1968 was a long way from the end. Kids who started high school that year died in Vietnam.

Obama and the Democrats had best not fuck it up.