If I were a Carpenter …

Why do stars fall down from the sky
every time you walk by?
Just like me, they long to be
close to you …

My landlords, who are also my upstairs neighbors, just made my day … maybe even my week.  They have a piano and I often hear someone rehearsing, but I usually can’t put a name to any of the pieces I hear from upstairs.  But, even as I type, someone’s playing Carpenters songs!

Oh, don’t front –you know you love the Carpenters.  Ok, maybe you weren’t a fan … but I was, and I still am.  They sang so many of the songs of my childhood: “Goodbye to Love,” “We’ve Only Just Begun,” “Solitaire,” “For All We Know,” “Rainy Days and Mondays,” “Superstar,” “Hurting Each Other” … do I need to go on?

Excuse me while I sing along …

Forty years gone. April 4, 2008.

Zach de la Rocha (1970 — )
 
I’ll give you a dose
But it can never come close
To the rage built up inside of me
Fist in the air, in the land of hypocrisy
[…]
Networks at work, keepin’ people calm
You know they went after King
When he spoke out on Vietnam
He turned the power to the have-nots
And then came the shot.
 

Forty years ago, my family was getting to know my new sister, five days old and the center of attention.  Forty years ago, I was in kindergarten at Catholic school, miserable and alone, the only black child in a class of children and teachers who wanted nothing to do with black kids.  Forty years ago I was discovering that books were friends, saviors.  I could disappear into one at recess and not have to deal with the parroted-from-their-parents slurs my classmates flung at me.  Forty years ago, I was too young for assassination news to mean anything to me.  I have a hazy memory of my mother crying, but that’s all.

And now it’s forty years later.  It’s today.  It’s 2008, and there’s the utter surprise of a black man as a serious contender for the presidency of these United States.  My students never really got why that’s such a big deal.  And sometimes even I don’t get it.  But then I do.  Forty years gone.

(The lyric up top — my poetic posting for the night — is from Rage Against the Machine’s “Wake Up,” one of my favorites.)