In My Write Mind
12.09.2004

Come, Change...Come

I was born by the river in a little tent
And just like that river I've been running ever since
It's been a long time coming
But I know a change is gonna come, oh yes it will
It's been too hard living, but I'm afraid to die
Cos I don't know what's out there beyond the sky
It's been a long, a long time coming
But I know a change is gonna come, oh yes it will


I've always loved that song by Sam C.ooke, hearing it countless times while visiting my sister's house in the 1980s. It was, ironically, music she listened to while she, well, cooked. And it was probably more than that. It was an anthem of sorts, a song that every person that ever struggled sang from their toes, digging deep to emphasize the part that meant the most to them.

I heard the song on Monday, while watching Spike L.ee's Malcol.m X starring Den.zel Washington. The song played near the end, after watching Malcolm transform from Little to X and after Mecca, into Malcolm "Big", big voice for the voiceless, a man whose thinking went from radical to rational, from 'By Any Means Necessary' to 'Afro American Unity'. He was never flexible in his beliefs, but was instead flexible in his approach. And although he couldn't fully realize his transformation due to his assassination...his change did come.

So that song was appropriate, poignant...indeed, a long time coming.

Just like it is for us. All of us who have to live in metropolitan areas where corruption is the norm, where our kids aren't served their full plate of education, where those who teach are treated with less pay and respect than those who play for a living, where the future of social security isn't secure at all, where the belittling of our women through actions and deeds has never been more blatant.

Come, change. Come.

It's been a long time coming for black men to be treated as equals to their white counterparts, for the number of black men in college to equal and surpass those in correctional facilities. A long time coming for America to stop being the inspiration for reality television, where creativity takes a back seat to just copying the bad news that shows up each night on the news.

It's too hard living in a world that sees war as victory, and sees a moral victory in fighting the wrong wars. Too hard seeing how the world treats the middle class, basically leaving them to fend for themselves, penalizing them for not making more money or less...forcing you to keep running endlessly like a river, forever treading water.

Change, where art thou?

We need you. Not so much the change you get from a dollar bill, but the change that comes from passing bills and legislation to improve the lot of American citizens. Like healthcare, where too many of the people who live here are afraid to get sick because they have no means to pay for care. Care for major things like HIV and AIDS, which studies show infects our beautiful black sisters the most, to seemingly minor things like pinkeye or the flu, which affect us all.

Sam sang about you coming...he says he knew it. He sang it beautifully, so I believed him when he said it. I KNOW you're coming. I just hope that you're not for the worst, Change. I mean, how could you be?

Already, the worlds of music and sports have been exposed for cheating. Musicians and executives and ballplayers taking 'by any means necessary' to a new low. Changes for the worst. Politics is a mess right now, too. Although we all know that it's never been too reliable, anyway.

It's been a rough year. Too many long days and letdowns and losses. Too many laughless moments; too many gray hairs and furrowed brows. Too much shock-ing and awe-ing, too little kissing and hugging. Too many instances where our future leaders--our children--aren't allowed to reach their future potential, just like the leaders of our past.

I would love to see the kinda change that Malcolm-Little-to-X-to-'Big' saw coming. That kinda change that my sister saw coming while basting chicken or steaming greens. That kinda change that makes people dig deep and sing Sam Cooke songs from their toes. The kinda change that will make me want to live and not just afraid to die, but the kind that never lets it even cross my mind. I need to see a change for the better. A change for the best.

I need a change that's poignant, appropriate. Lasting. And I need to see it soon or I just might change my mind about Sam's song.

It's almost 2005. It's been a long time coming, my friend, and I'm tired of running. It'd be great to have something to look forward to...for a change.

Come on...

scribbled by Will at 12/09/2004 04:16:00 PM
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Mind Droppings

I write entirely to find out what I'm thinking, what I'm looking at, what I see and what it means. What I want and what I fear. (Joan Didion)



The Write One


Will. Lefty. Since Summer 1971.
Over the next six months, I'll be saying some hellos, some goodbyes. Living, laughing, growing. Don't.miss.a.word.
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