The uses of poetry

Neil Munro reports that Michelle Obama has scheduled a poetry evening for Wednesday. She’s invited several poets, including successful Chicago poet and rapper Lonnie Rashid Lynn, Jr., a/k/a Common. His “poetry” includes threats to shoot police and at least one passage calling for the “burn[ing]” of then-President George W. Bush. In an act of cruelty. Munro transcribes Common’s “A Letter to the Law.” It begins:

Dem boy wanna talk… [indecipherable]
Whatcha gon do if ya got one gun?
I sing a song for the hero unsung
with faces on the mural of the revolution
No looking back cos’ in back is what’s done
Tell the preacher, god got more than one son
Tell the law, my Uzi weighs a ton
I walk like a warrior,
from them I won’t run
On the streets, they try to beat us like a drum
In Cincinnati, another brother hung
A guinea won’t see the sun
with his family stung
They want us to hold justice
but you handed me none
The same they did to Kobe and Michael Jackson
make them the main attraction….

Good stuff! No wonder it has over 800,000 views on YouTube. Here is a bit more — perhaps the passage responsible for the White House invite:

Stay true to what I do so the youth dream come
from project building
Seeing a fiend being hung
With that happening, why they messing with Saddam?
Burn a Bush cos’ for peace he no push no button
Killing over oil and grease
no weapons of destruction
How can we follow a leader when this a corrupt one….

And the new man gonna grab the health care systum….


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