Friday, February 1, 2008

Sometimes you wonder....

at least I do. I wonder cause my generation learned it from the beat writers. It appealed and now we can hold a thought for more than a minute. Oh well. It could be worse. I could be living in England in the middle ages.

Remember looking at this picture for the first time? The instant of death. I was in fairly young. Middle school some where. It really got me thinking about war. Especially how different Vietnam looked from WWII or the Korean War. But that just shows how military minded I was from the jump. I always knew I was going to join the army. Not the air force, navy or marines, the army was my shinizzle. Kind of like how some people get hooked on smoking, I got hooked by Be All You Can Be. Anyway in 1968 South Vietnamese National Police Chief Brig. Gen. Nguyen Ngoc Loan executed a Viet Cong officer with a pistol shot to the head. And because it was captured by the news, it was all over the world. Plus it became on of the most memorable images from any war.

And since we are in the 60's, I got to give a shout out to Brandon Lee today. This would have been his 42 birthday. We still miss you. The Crow is still one of the best movies ever. Rapid Fire wasn't to bad as far as action flicks go. After time I just came to the conclusion that we should be happy Brandon and Bruce did what they did on film and we can watch that forever. What a tragic family history.

And I will leave you with another birthday worth celebrating. On this day in 1902, the lord blessed us with Langston Hughes. Thank you Thank you Thank you! I was digging through the Hughes poems and I found one I have not read since I was drinking these poems in college. And now more than ever, this poem seems way ahead of its time. Hell it is a timeless classic. Eat your heart out Walt.

Let America be America again.
Let it be the dream it used to be.
Let it be the pioneer on the plain
Seeking a home where he himself is free.

(America never was America to me.)

Let America be the dream the dreamers dreamed--
Let it be that great strong land of love
Where never kings connive nor tyrants scheme
That any man be crushed by one above.

(It never was America to me.)

O, let my land be a land where Liberty
Is crowned with no false patriotic wreath,
But opportunity is real, and life is free,
Equality is in the air we breathe.

(There's never been equality for me,
Nor freedom in this "homeland of the free.")

Say, who are you that mumbles in the dark?
And who are you that draws your veil across the stars?

I am the poor white, fooled and pushed apart,
I am the Negro bearing slavery's scars.
I am the red man driven from the land,
I am the immigrant clutching the hope I seek--
And finding only the same old stupid plan
Of dog eat dog, of mighty crush the weak.

I am the young man, full of strength and hope,
Tangled in that ancient endless chain
Of profit, power, gain, of grab the land!
Of grab the gold! Of grab the ways of satisfying need!
Of work the men! Of take the pay!
Of owning everything for one's own greed!

I am the farmer, bondsman to the soil.
I am the worker sold to the machine.
I am the Negro, servant to you all.
I am the people, humble, hungry, mean--
Hungry yet today despite the dream.
Beaten yet today--O, Pioneers!
I am the man who never got ahead,
The poorest worker bartered through the years.

Yet I'm the one who dreamt our basic dream
In the Old World while still a serf of kings,
Who dreamt a dream so strong, so brave, so true,
That even yet its mighty daring sings
In every brick and stone, in every furrow turned
That's made America the land it has become.
O, I'm the man who sailed those early seas
In search of what I meant to be my home--
For I'm the one who left dark Ireland's shore,
And Poland's plain, and England's grassy lea,
And torn from Black Africa's strand I came
To build a "homeland of the free."

The free?

Who said the free? Not me?
Surely not me? The millions on relief today?
The millions shot down when we strike?
The millions who have nothing for our pay?
For all the dreams we've dreamed
And all the songs we've sung
And all the hopes we've held
And all the flags we've hung,
The millions who have nothing for our pay--
Except the dream that's almost dead today.

O, let America be America again--
The land that never has been yet--
And yet must be--the land where every man is free.
The land that's mine--the poor man's, Indian's, Negro's, ME--
Who made America,
Whose sweat and blood, whose faith and pain,
Whose hand at the foundry, whose plow in the rain,
Must bring back our mighty dream again.

Sure, call me any ugly name you choose--
The steel of freedom does not stain.
From those who live like leeches on the people's lives,
We must take back our land again,

O, yes,
I say it plain,
America never was America to me,
And yet I swear this oath--
America will be!

Out of the rack and ruin of our gangster death,
The rape and rot of graft, and stealth, and lies,
We, the people, must redeem
The land, the mines, the plants, the rivers.
The mountains and the endless plain--
All, all the stretch of these great green states--
And make America again!


Butterfly said...

i adored brandon lee and the crow is still one of the best movies of all time.

great post mr. wit - happy friday!

Historical Wit said...

You too butterfly. Rock the mortgage industry!