Monday’s Verse, Nov.28, 2016

Dear readers,

Thanks for bearing with me as I rely more on notes than on words — well, perhaps equally — the past couple weeks. It’s just that words fail and I kind of can’t deal, and I’m not yet up to the task of turning to poetry for wisdom or solace — never mind trying to make this forum a source of it. But it will be there.

Meantime, I’ve just turned to music. A fair amount of the wordless kind, along with Curtis Mayfield, more Curtis Mayfield, and Curtis Mayfield on repeat. Finally made it out for some live action on Friday night with my sweetheart, and we saw Ted Leo play a solo set on Pittsburgh’s south side. It was a much-needed tonic (chased by a much-needed cider). His politically-charged verses got me through a good chunk of the mid-2000’s, so enjoy this one from 2004’s Shake the Sheets, which I may as well dedicate to my good friend and MV reader Mia, who works every day in the bowels of the U.S. immigration system, defending the rights of detainees facing deportation in New York City. I feel like she heard the emphatic chorus of this song before it was even written (apparently there is a video of this song out there…). -ed.

ME AND MIA

As I was walking through a life one morning
The sun was out, the air was warm but oh, I was cold,
And though I must have looked a half a person,
To tell the tale in my own version,
It was only then that I felt whole.

Do you believe in something beautiful?
Then, get up and be it
Fighting for the smallest goal:
To get a little self-control.
I know how hard you try.
I see it in your eyes.
Call your friends, ’cause we’ve forgotten
What it’s like to eat what’s rotten,
And what’s eating you alive,
Might help you to survive.

We went on, as we were on a mission,
Latest in a Grand Tradition.
Oh, what did we find?
It was Ego who was flying the banner,
Me and Mia, Ann and Ana, oh,
We’d been unkind.

Do you believe in something beautiful?
Then, get up and be it
Fighting for the smallest goal:
To get a little self-control.
I see it in your eyes,
I see it in your spine,
But call your friends, ’cause we’ve forgotten
What it’s like to eat what’s rotten
And what’s eating you alive,
Might help you to survive

Even the nights that could get better.
And even the days aren’t all that bad.
And after a week of fighting,
As more and more it seems the right thing

Do you believe in something beautiful?
Then get up and be it
Fighting for the smallest goal:
To gain a little self-control
Won’t anybody here just let you disappear?
Not doctors, nor your mom nor dad,
But me and Mia, Ann and Ana
Know how hard you try,
Don’t you see it in my eyes?

Sick to death of my dependence,
Fighting food to find transcendence.
Fighting to survive.
More dead, but more alive.
Cigarettes and speed to live,
And sleeping pills to feel forgiven.
All that you contrive,
And all that you’re deprived.

All the bourgeois social angels
Telling you you’ve got to change.
Don’t have any idea.
They’ll never see so clear.
But don’t forget what it really means to
Hunger strike,
When you don’t really need to
Some are dying for the cause, but that don’t make it yours.
And even the nights, they could get better.

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