Friday, May 27, 2011

In Memory of Mr. Gil Scott-Heron

I'm tired. I'm tired of the willful ignorance that is romping around as political discussions. On this day one of the great men of poetry and music has pass to the other side. I speak of Mr. Gil Scott-Heron.

I saw the man perform many years ago. I don't know much more to say. I did a tweet. I wrote 480 words in Facebook.

But my heart wants to write a book and nobody reads anymore, so I am told. This is a poem from the (currently) last album Where Did the Night Go?

I can tell you that one of the first things I did when I got my hands on the Internet was to look for him. No joke. He had been quiet for too long and I was trying to catch up. I wasn't alone.

Eventually the silent collective of those of us caring about GSH found out he was in England. Having some turbulence over there with the chemicals. I had to adjust that the man who made it clear to leave the stuff alone was juiced and volatile.

This is The Bottle

It took about 10 years for the BBC interview video to surface on the web. I could see he had been roughed up by his addictions. Gil was still inside but not the same. Still, the silent collective couldn't let him go. We sent invisible good wishes and petitions up on high on his behalf.

These past two years were very encouraging. I didn't care if he was doing covers of blues songs or small snips of poetry. The man was working and staying focus. As much as he could. Maybe the next album would light into the soul like a B-Movie

When folks do a tribute page they want other people to know that this person is important. You should know why we honor this conflicted but talented man. He wasn't perfect. Dang sure no angel.

Scott-Heron made it hard to be a fan.

But for a moment we gather and understood what it was and what it could be in terms of storytelling, poetry, performance and musicianship.

I'm about to crash. I need to sleep. Or be sad. Maybe both.

1 comment:

  1. A loss. The only silver lining is that sometimes a poet's work gets more attention after death than during the poet's life. Let us hope that is the case here.