Thursday, 10 May 2012

Pieces of a man, poem

So, at risk of sounding like a broken record... here is another post about, or relating to, Gil Scott Heron. It is nearly a year since he died (May 27th last year). 

Recently there was an event in England all about this great writer/singer/musician (review here) and fans were asked to pass comment about their memories of GSH, their feelings about his music (asked by Lemn Sissay here). I did pass a memory over and found myself remembering the time, back in about 1990, when I used to listen to a lot of Gil Scott Heron (and so therefore his collaborator Brian Jackson too - lovely article by Brian about Gil here by the way). I had a dodgy job in advertising at that time and an all-consuming nightclub and music habit so I spent quite a lot of time in my car (these days I drive very little). I had a couple of GSH cassettes back then (yes, cassettes!) that I listened to again and again. In the end, thinking of folk club tonight and something to read aloud, I wrote this poem today. I didn't plan to write it when I woke up this morning... but here it is anyway. So if anyone else wants to write a poem this week about a favourite musician or songwriter or singer... maybe they'd like to do that in a Poetry Bus (online) stylee. Put the link in the comments and I'll post it here (as we used to... in the old days... see bottom of post). It might be more Poetry Moped than Poetry Bus but you get the idea...

In a car with the stereo on

So it was just me,
me and Gil,
cruising around the city
in a company car
that I didn't really deserve,
that I couldn't really drive.

We were singing as we went.
Really loud sometimes.
So many songs.

We were singing "Angel Dust”,
not the most family-friendly
singalong chorus perhaps
but I liked it.
And “The Bottle”.
And “Home is where the Hatred is”.
And “Three Miles Down”.
Never mind the feel-good numbers – 
because there are some –
Lady Day and John Coltrane”,
I think I'll call it Morning”.

Other times we were just speaking,
chatting almost,
and I was saying “brother” along with him
like I almost knew what it meant.
We covered “Whitey on the Moon”,
No Knock” and obviously
the whole “revolution will not be televised” thing.
He called it a poem.
That goes without saying.

These were lonely drives
to nowhere in particular –
drives to pick up x
and put down z.
But as I turned the corners
and made the moves
at least a piece of Gil was there,
there with me when he sang
“Get out of the Ghetto Blues”
and “Pieces of a Man”.

RF 2012

And  here is "Pieces of a Man":

Other people's poems

First onto the moped it's Totalfeckineejit (our old Bus driver). Now doesn't that feel good?

Bug goes back to younger days.


Totalfeckineejit said...

I'm in/on!


Rachel Fox said...

Cheers! Link added to post.


Totalfeckineejit said...

Well we're still on the moped, let's hope for a sidecar!

Rachel Fenton said...

A compliment of Herons - you two could be the genesis of a new collective noun. Really enjoyed both your pieces - TFE's "Phyrric" has to score points! But I liked both - could you write up a music inspired pamphlet?

The Bug said...

Weird - I thought I commented earlier today. Anyway, I wrote something - not my best effort - but it amused me to write about it. So thanks!

Rachel Fox said...

Pamphlets, Rae... I've got plans for several already... but who knows if they'll ever make it out onto paper!

Rachel Fox said...

Your link is up, Bug. Cheers!

Totalfeckineejit said...

Yes TFE's Pyrric has to score points for bad spelling! Thanks Rachel Fenton,the AWOL h has been arrested and returned! Ha Ha!

Rachel Fenton said...

Dude, I didn't even notice it was missing in yours - thanks for pointing that out - but I put the "h" in the wrong place, so a pyrrhic victory!

Bad spelling all round - if only I'd been educated!

Dominic Rivron said...

Like the poem. It has a kind of Beat quality: definitely a Good Thing!

I wrote a poem this week that fits the bill on a scrap of paper when I was driving round working. Infuriatingly I've no idea where it is. If I find it (and if, when I reread it in the cool light of day it's not pants), I'll post it.

Rachel Fox said...

Under the seat? In your pocket? Hope you find it, Dominic...

Niamh B said...

DON'T KNOW IF I'LL MAKE IT ABOARD, not shouting, didn't realise i had caps on... anyway, good on ye..

Rachel Fox said...

We're all a bit out of the prompt habit perhaps. Still, I'll leave this post for the rest of the week. See who manages to jump on.

Domestic Oub said...

Is it too late to jump on????

Rachel Fox said...

Never too late. It's a moped... we're not moving very fast.

Roxana said...

i find the song awesome, and listening to it together with your words made it feel all the more real - almost as if i had been in that car as well! but your poems always have this incredible feeling of authenticity about them - sometimes this can make one forget that they are so damn well constructed as well - which is, to my eyes, a very rare gift.

Rachel Fox said...

Now there's a comment to make a person feel good! Cheers.