#32 Law in the Time of Black Lives Matter

#32 Law in the Time of Black Lives Matter

sam330's picture


Liner Notes: 

This is for speaker and accompaniment. There should be an interlude between the individuals. I would keep it simple and let the words speak. Line 15 might crescendo and explode after the word rage. I haven't thought this through completely.

The last song in the Winterreise song cycle by Franz Schubert is entitled Der Leierrmann. It's about a hurdy-gurdy player standing barefoot on ice, with dogs circling waiting for him to fall. The left hand of the piano plays open 5ths, the right hand plays a slow melody. I envision something like that for the accompaniment. Both parts together for the opening and closing or just fading away, open 5ths under the words, the melody with 5ths in the interludes. The music would crescendo, decrescendo with the voice. I don't know what the instrumentation would be. It could actually be orchestral. Or strings and percussion. I don't know.
I hear a low, resonant, male voice narrating.

If these incidents don't make you furious, you're not alive. How would you feel if it were you instead of them. Can you feel the bullets go into your back? The knee on your neck?

I can't breathe. I can't breathe.


Law in the Time of Black Lives Matter August 26, 2020 #32
To Jacob, George, Breonna, Elijah Elizabeth Singleton


Why did a Kenosha policeman
shoot seven times point blank
Into the back of Jacob Blake,
while his kids watched in the car?

Seven bullets blew away his intestines,
punctured his stomach, liver, kidneys,
shattered vertebrae, severed his spinal cord.

“My son matters,” said his dad.
“He’s a human being, and he matters.”
In tears, his mother said, “I am talking to everyone.
No one is superior to the other.”

Why did a Minneapolis policeman for 8 minutes 46 seconds
Keep his knee on a suffering man’s neck?
George Floyd begged for his life, “I can’t breathe. I can’t breathe.”
And the world exploded in rage.

Why did the Louisville police invade an apartment at midnight?
With a no-knock warrant, they rammed down the door.
They sprayed ten bullets. Breonna took eight.
For five full minutes, she struggled to breathe
And had no medical care for fifteen minutes more.
She wanted to be a nurse and have some kids.
Breonna Taylor was an E. M. T.

Why did Aurora police stop a slender young man
Walking home from a store with some tea?
They threw him against a wall, used a carotid hold
And cuffed him face down on the ground for fifteen.

They said he was in ‘excited delirium,’
Which shields officers who use excessive force,
But on body cam audio he said, “I can’t breathe…
I was just going home.”

They added eighty pounds to his weight, so the
EMT injected too much ketamine.
While on the ground he threw up,
In the ambulance, cardiac arrest.
Three days later at the hospital,
Elijah McClain was brain dead.

His death was undetermined,
maybe an idiosyncratic drug reaction,
Or homicide if the carotid hold had contributed,
Or an asthma attack….

What really matters?
Elijah never got home with his tea.

Please keep your comments respectful, honest, and constructive. Please focus on the song and not the demo.


metalfoot's picture

Such a hard and sad time... you've captured it well.