Events, Poems

Poem for Lewis Black

Lewis+BlackNOTE: I am going to a Lewis Black concert in Tulsa tonight and will attempt to give him this poem. Wish me luck.

Oklahoma Welcomes Lewis Black

We’re angry, too.
We have teachers judged by the highest standards
Making the lowest pay in the nation.
We embody Labor Omnia Vincit
Because we are cowboys and girls, waitresses,
Truck drivers, teachers and artists, dreamers
And pharmacists, customer service minimum-wage
Fast wood workers and tractor repairmen, beauty
Shop Labor Conquers All Things operators.

We are Will Rogers who never met a man
He didn’t like but he found plenty to dislike
About those men if they were running the country.
We are Wilma Mankiller standing up for her people
Driven with bloody feet and beaten backs
To this place they made home for all of us.
We are the man who said his music and his guitar
Was a machine to kill the fascists,
Who said This land is your land.
This land is my land but also said,
In the shadow of the steeple I saw my people,
By the relief office I seen my people;
As they stood there hungry, I stood there asking
Is this land made for you and me?

We are countless, nameless people
Who are angry at people who don’t
Represent us representing us.
We are angry at ourselves—at our own racism
And meth addiction and corruption
And our rates of lung cancer and women
In prison and children in poverty.

But we won’t lie about any of it
And we are angry because we can’t lie about ourselves.

We welcome you, Mr. Black, a man
Who is much more than his anger
–a voice for the student
–for the military men and women overseas
–for the enraged who cannot express it
–for the workers have no time to protest it

You are in the right place.

We are a state built on anger
And displacement, hope and greed,
Love of the land and the foolishness
To try and tame it. We are a contradiction,
Ridiculed as a fly-over state in the national news
But fucking proud of it, just as happy
To see a plane keep going as to see it land.

 We are rednecks and open-minded people,
Accepting of anyone working hard
Because we play as hard,
Wanting what everyone wants
–a love that lasts
–a home that is a refuge
–work that is satisfying
–fun that may or may not be legal.

Your anger is at the complexity
THE MAN makes of the law and society
Because you know it really is simple:

Be honest.

Everything stems from that.
You are in the right place, Mr. Black
And you are welcome BACK
At any time . . . Honestly.

–Shaun Perkins



4 thoughts on “Poem for Lewis Black”

  1. Just a note to everyone. Shaun & I were invited backstage after the show. We talked with Mr. Back for a couple minutes and she personally handed her poem to him.

  2. We’re as mad as hell and we’re not going to take it any more!
    This poem fires me up and makes me want to take action.
    Excellent, excellent work. I hope you get it in Lewis Black’s hands tonight.
    Good luck!

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