Monday, January 03, 2011

Monday Marley: Burnin' and Lootin'

Long ago, my eldest son--then just a wee thing with a very grown-up taste when it came to music--had been playing deejay, going through our CDs, and he asked me if he could see Jimi live one day soon.

"Ah, actually no, baby," I said. "He died a long time ago. Before Mama even came to the States."

Okay, well, can we go to see Miles Davis?

"Er, ah, him too, my love. I'm sorry."

How about Bob Marley? Frank Zappa?

I shook my head again. I probably said something Mama-like and encouraging, along the lines of At least we have their music forever, to love and learn from. I don't recall exactly, though I do remember weeping a bit, privately (I hope), as I am wont to do when my children remind me how very fragile we are, to quote yet another musician.

Genius is immortal; human beings are not. We're not even especially tough or adaptive--not when we shove our heads in the seductive sand of convenience and denial and refuse to learn. A surefire recipe for extinction, that is.

Listen, grieve, learn, and look ahead. We've got work to do.

This morning I woke up in a curfew;
O God, I was a prisoner, too - yeah!
Could not recognize the
faces standing over me;
They were all dressed in
uniforms of brutality. Eh!

How many rivers do we have to cross,
Before we can talk to the boss? Eh!
All that we got, it seems we have lost;
We must have really paid the cost.

(That's why we gonna be)
Burnin' and a-lootin' tonight;
(Say we gonna burn and loot)
Burnin' and a-lootin' tonight;
(One more thing)
Burnin' all collusion tonight;
(Oh, yeah, yeah)
Burnin' all illusion tonight.

Oh, stop them!

Give me the food and let me grow;
Let the Roots Man take a blow.
All them drugs gonna make you slow now;
It's not the music of the ghetto. Eh!

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