Happy Birthday Dr Martin Luther King

True story. Dr King came to me in a drunken hallucination. I was drunk, not him. Anyway, long story short, this piece is the result of the visitation.

Here’s the audio on soundcloud:

 

PUNCHLINE

San Francisco: I was in the studio

cutting tracks with another producer

who’s been dreaming’ about himself

being the one to take poetry out of

the underground once and for all.

He was sure I was the one.

“The Poetess” haha

he gave me a hip hop name that

fit the bill perfectly for his vision.

It’s weird being the only one in a room with an LA mind. People talk, I always think

they’re joking. I gotta get outta that habit, stop smiling, waiting for some punch line.

When you leave LA no one out there’s got a punch line.

poetry poetry poetry beats

poetry beats beats beats

bailar y ritmo bailar y ritmo

Whatever, I love to travel…This producer could grind out beats, a serious talent with a

vision. I’d been through that a few times before. Playback: “bailar y ritmo bailar y ritmo.”

That was the vocal in the back ground, and I was supposed to write the verses.

poetry poetry poetry beats

poetry beats beats beats

bailar y ritmo bailar y ritmo

but afterward, chuggin’ rum in Martin Luther King Park

drunk and making out,

I heard King’s voice speaking to me

right when I noticed how

beautifully blue my producer’s eyes were.

I was seeing double.

And there before me, stood Dr. King.

He said, “Yvonne, you are a conscientious poet my dear….”

Martin Luther King’s voice was ringing clear and he says to me,

“…a poet has a message …a bottom line” said King, and I agreed.

I said, “Yes Doctor King, a punch line, this is true,

there is no message for the dancers.”

My producer was now swaying, trying to be still, to focus…

eyes that kind of blue were too innocent to ever know

the poets belong in the subversive,

will always be underground, they’ll never enter pop –

there is no message for the dancers.

I started with a whisper as I rose up in Martin Luther King Park, out of my mouth came

the voice of that slain leader… I whispered, “I want you to think with me this morning

from the subject, Rediscovering Lost Values…

Suddenly my voice began to rise until in the very bellow of Martin himself I exclaimed,

R e d i s c o v e r i n g L o s t V a l u e s ! ! ! ! ”

I got up, and he watched me swing my hips back and forth, some extra Betty Boop,

singing loud and drunk,

BAILAR Y RRRRRiTMO!! YAYAYA!

I AM LEAVING ON A JETPLANE!!! BYE!!

He was wasted, his blues eyes glassy,

I was still swinging my hips

I’m going back to LA babe! There is no message for dancers!

“WHERE YOU GOING?”

“BAILAR Y RITMO BAILAR!

they do not hunger for the Word!“

He’s still talking even though I was near the street, a cab pulled to the curb,

“DO YOU ALWAYS HAVE TO HAVE A MESSAGE?” he yells.

“YES, I AM A POET, SILLY!” I yell back.

I threw my head back and laughed with Doctor King,

who nods again with a smile of approval.

Martin Luther King Jr. politely opens the cab door,

and waits as I get in. Shutting it,

he reaches through the window

and swipes the tip of my nose lightly,

and then he pushes the lock down.

I stick my half torso out the window

to blow Blue Eyes a kiss,

while Dr. Martin instructs the driver.

I added,

I’M GOING TO FIND THE PUNCH LINE IN ALL OF THIS!

“BUT RIGHT NOW, AT THIS MOMENT,

I NEED A PUNCH LINE baby!

AND SOMEONE’S GOT ONE IN L.A.,

Big kiss baby …bye bye y ritmo! bye bye!”

I heard Blue Eyes wish me luck as the cab pulled away.

Through the back window,

Martin Luther King Jr. stood in the street

with his hands folded together and again,

he nodded his approval.

I smiled back at him in gratitude for his message to me.

I felt his powerful warmth and wisdom.

King himself had delivered the bottom line

to that sexy and careless disco adventure.

And through my hiccups in the backseat of that cab,

I contemplated the punch line,

sorting through my San Francisco souvenirs,

my rediscovery of lost values and

Dr. King’s thoughtful notion to lock my car door.

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