saul

Read An Essay And Hear A New Song From Saul Williams In Honor Of MLK Day

Plus: listen to his Haleek Maul collaboration "All Coltrane Solos At Once."

All Coltrane Solos At Once

an annotated middle finger

"Fuck u/Understand me."

What is the perspective of those who "#staywoke", who resist? It is a mixture of seeing thru the lies and deception used to keep common-folk non-questioning/active participants in a state that defeats the commoner with hopes of one day entering the elitist 1% percent, while killing unions and widening the wealth gap & a desire to engage more people to speak up and out against the powers that be.

To the powers that be, we say "fuck u" and to those who, like police, follow orders, fight or work to maintain a system that does not keep their best interest, nor the overwhelming majority's at heart we say "understand me."

Understand, what made Egyptian soldiers lay down their arms and join protestors during the Arab Spring. Understand what made communities across America take to the streets, storm highways & shopping centers, peacefully. Understand that although the divide and conquer tactics of pitting black against white, christian against muslim against jew, can bring worthwhile debate and heightened understanding, it doesn't take much to realize that the true and only fight is against that which has kept women subjugated to men, and poor subjugated to rich. The sooner we understand this without brandishing overtly blind-siding terms like "terrorist" "lazy" the sooner we realize that we are all, in fact, on the same team and that the movement towards a more educated, better fed society should not be side-lined by such petty constructs as race, identity, and that which has kept many groups disenfranchised, silenced, and in debt.

"First Nation sweat ceremony in a space-ship."

This is how I imagine the trans-Atlantic middle passage. The countless bodies jammed into the hull of a ship, sweating in darkness. Tormented ritual of initiation into the New World. To travel to space one goes through months, in most cases years, of training and preparation. The survivors of the middle-passage went thru as much to travel to the New World and into slavery. The First Nation reference is there to give honor to the indigenous of the land and the foresight of ritualized transformation. The only group murdered more by police in the US than blacks, is Native Americans. The connecting of dots, of movements, of voices, and narratives...

"All Coltrane solos at once."

While watching Arthur Jafa's visual documentary "Colder Than Death," about the current plight and status of America and the African American community from '68 to the present, I was moved by a description of the middle-passage and the imaginings of what actually went on in that enclosed space.

The idea is that when one is already living in and through hell, day in/day out, with no end in sight, shackled to other beings, whose language you may not speak, what do you dream? No need to imagine hell when your in it, alive, still breathing, unfree. So where does the mind travel? Do you moan? Do you scream? Do you talk? Do you sing? Perhaps it was in the hull of those ships that the African-American experience was born, and every creative breakthrough, robotic dance move, explosive horn solo, breakbeat and rhyme-flow burst forth from there.

"Race is performative."

Rooted in the understanding of "race" as a social-construct, this idea asserts that, in fact, young black boys are capable of acting like young black boys. That their predilection gives them keys to performing, behaving like an established idea: a way of walking; talking; dressing, etc. They click and like. This would apply to all groups where there is an expected or simply replicated behavior pattern. It's commonly what individuals react against in natural expressions of independence, yet it is most commonly adhered to, like gender norms and other societal creations.

Makes me think of what my man, Bonz Malone means when he says "sheeple." No one is really excluded, and it is not necessarily negative. Some might say it's fun. Yet it is arguably, restrictive of individual growth and exploration. One example would be the black kid lauded for speaking "proper" or "white" and begins adjusting his swag in high-school or the girl who is suddenly being taught how to walk. On one hand, many of us may prefer when people stick to these rules and mores, on the other certain traits or replicated behavioral patterns may be more destructive when rooted in unquestioned fear and the quest to belong. In this manner someone could take a position in an argument about police brutality, for example, while subconsciously or overtly playing a game of performative alignment. "The devils advocate."

"My identity was encrusted with the myth of having been chosen."

I'm guilty of it. Ye's guilty of it. Lot's of us are. We feel like the sea parts for us. That somehow, God, or the universe, or luck, has singled us out and in that sense, we are chosen. The flip-side of the same coin is us who feel ignored, like our lives don't matter, like no one cares, like we're cursed, in fact, that's a way of feeling chosen too. Thinking of yourself, and/or selfishly, and placing urself in the center of all processed experience reaps epiphanies and blind-spots, rewards and punishments...but it don't necessarily reap the truth.

It's like superstition: "This happened because I.." It can be a helpful way of remembering that nothing is random, that everything happens for a reason, but you begin to run into problems when you carry it over to bad things happening, let's say, to people around you because u/urself are cursed. It turns into a self-centered pity party.

But then, if you do "belong" to a group where systemic and structural obstacles are placed on the path of achievement, let's say they are easily "grouped", subjugated, manipulated, exploited, and then you begin to point that out in order for the group to work it's way out of that position, in order for the system to realize it's oversights (I'm being nice) and short-comings... Fuck it, even if it's deliberate, Well then maybe ur group is cursed or chosen. And maybe the flaws point to something bigger or deeper than the system itself, to unquestioned, unchecked, unchallenged cultural ideologies and traditions. Then you may feel forced to transcend expectations, to overcome and learn from the journey....

yet it seems that some are prone to take the journey, suffer thru it, survive just long enough to see their children and great grandchildren perpetuate the same crime against another...group.

"Criminal justice and the pipeline."

You've heard the statistics by now. America has more of it's citizens in jail than any other nation. Think about that. Now think about that "Land of the free" bullshit they serve us with the hotdogs. It's not to say that we do not experience a great amount of privilege, through freedom of speech and expression in this country. For the most part, we do. Nor is it to say that this is not a land of opportunity, It is- for individuals of any group who learn to freak the system. If you are lucky enough to feel or be part of an untargeted group, you may think, "oh that's sad" or "well, they shouldn't be committing crimes." Let's think about the recent and virtual strike by the NYPD, where because a union chief and some of his minions felt they deserved an apology from the mayor for stating a statistical fact that they found hard to swallow, they patrolled the city for two weeks making very few arrests and only interfering when absolutely necessary. Crime did not skyrocket. There were very few complaints as arrests went down as low as 94% in some cases. Yet soon news began to circulate that the city was losing as much as $10 million a day. Why? Because the criminal justice system is for profit. They have to make a certain number of arrests, they have to write a certain number of citations, just like the privatized prisons have to maintain a certain headcount for the state to not have to pay for the "wasted space." Yep, it's that fucked up. Check this: http://prisonmap.com/

"Avatardust & the mockingbird"

aka MartyrLoserKing & Haleek

Unanimous Goldmine

All Coltrane solos at once.

Twist them horns
'round the necks
of each equation
& expand
upon multiples
of death.

We were crowded
into the shitbins
of a floating toilet
dreaming of an Afterlife.

Memory stored in a cloud.

Terra-bytes
in sea-major.

The winners
of religious thinking
praise books
for bookends.

Here, is the invention
of the astronaut.

First Nation
Sweat ceremony
in a spaceship.

To imagine hell
is privilege.

Paint a dreamworld
solid enough
to hold us.

Held by
blocks of time,
margins & calendars,
divisions of labor
contracts: social & otherwise.

With each kiss
bio-dynamic
in direct co-relation
to stars & seasons,

the ability to
calculate distance,
harness power,
stem cells,
erect mobile mansions
capable of projecting destruction
at greater & greater will,

what could be keeping us here?

Here is what death is like:
Life without fear.

Lead photo: zoz-photo.com

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Read An Essay And Hear A New Song From Saul Williams In Honor Of MLK Day