Poetry Break

“Said the Shotgun to the Head” by Saul Williams

Last year – and a time before that – I posted “Ohm” during my National Poetry Month celebration. And there will come a day – probably – that I will again post the Saul Williams poem. Today, of course, is not the day.

This year I chose to include Saul Williams in my National Poetry Month celebration. Because, like Andrea Gibson, his words resonates loudly in the world I live.

For the tenth poem, I present to you “Said the Shotgun to the Head.” Please enjoy.

More Saul Williams

Poetry Break

National Poetry Month 2021

Photo by Thought Catalog from Pexels
  1. “The Hill We Climb” by Amanda Gorman
  2. “Fight for Love” by Andrea Gibson
  3. “To Elsie” by William Carlos Williams
  4. “A Life of Errands” by Leonard Cohen
  5. “American Arithmetic” by Natalie Diaz
  6. “In the Event of My Demise” by Tupac Amaru Shakur
  7. “Love Calls Us to the Things of This World” by Richard Wilbur
  8. “Grief Calls Us to the Things of This World” by Sherman Alexie
  9. “Stone” by Charles Simic
  10. “Said the Shotgun to the Head” by Saul Williams
  11. “Memoir” by Vijay Seshadri
  12. “You Love a River” by Ire’ne Lara Silva
  13. “Process for Undocumented Students” by Celina Gomez
  14. “Mama Said” by Isaac Nellum
  15. “Heaven, or Whatever” by Shane Koyczan
  16. “April 16, 2007” by Jared Singer
  17. “Stop and Frisk” by Claudia Rankine
  18. “Pearl” by Ted Kooser
  19. “A Statement from No One, Incorporated” by Justin Phillip Reed
  20. “Grace” by Joy Harjo
  21. “Wanting to Die” by Anne Sexton
  22. “Going Back to Sleep” by Molly Brodak
  23. “I Love You Big Brother” by Alex Lemon
  24. “Declaration” by Tracy K. Smith
  25. “Whiteness Walks Into a Bar” by Franny Choi
  26. “History Reconsidered” by Clint Smith III
  27. “The Color of COVID” by Darius Simpson
  28. “The Raven” by Edgar Allan Poe
  29. “How to Read a Poem” by Guillermo
  30. “Earthrise” by Amanda Gorman
Poetry Break

Poetry Break

Once again:

  1. “Your Life” by Andrea Gibson
  2. “I Carry Your Heart with Me” by e.e. cummings
  3. “Explaining My Depression to My Mother” by Sabrina Benaim
  4. “Ohm” by Saul Williams
  5. “Why are Muslims So…” by Sakila & Hawa
  6. “14 Lines from Love Letters or Suicide Notes” by Doc Luben
  7. “Some Things You Need to Know Before Dating Me” by Jamie Mortara
  8. “What Society Says to Men” by Helly Shah
  9. “AmeRícan” by Tato Laviera
  10. “Through the Fence…” by Edward Vidaurre
  11. “America” by Allen Ginsberg
  12. “The Good Life” by Tracy K. Smith
  13. “When a Boy Tells You He Loves You” by Edwin Bodeny
  14. “OCD” by Neil Hilborn
  15. “Peach Scone” by Hobo Johnson & the LoveMakers
  16. “I Will Not Let an Exam Result Decide my Fate” by Suli Breaks
  17. “Consent at 10,000 Feet” by Guante
  18. “Can We Auto-Correct Humanity?” by Prince Ea
  19. “To This Day” by Shane Koyczan
  20. “34 Excuses for Why We Failed at Love” by Warsan Shire
  21. “Storm” by Tim Minchin
  22. “Chingona” by Leticia
  23. “Afro-Latina” by Elizabeth Acevedo
  24. “Juan Valdez” by Carlos Andres Gomez
  25. “Dear Straight People” by Denice Frohman
  26. “Poema XV”/ “I Like for You to be Still” by Pablo Neruda
  27. “McAllen Our Rinconcito” by Priscilla Celia Suarez
  28. “Some Days” by Amalia Ortiz
  29. “For the Quiet Kids Who’ve Been Told ‘Speak Up'” by Grace Carras

Your love: a mixed tape the car stereo ate; a sell-by-date, batteries not included, rough around the edges; scentless potpourri

from Chapin City Blues

I started to celebrate National Poetry Month. And I pre-selected each poem the day I made my decision to do this. However, April 29th and 30th were left unfilled. I didn’t know what to put in there. During this time, I discovered (for myself) the poetry of Grace Carras. So I had to give her one of the two slots.

This last piece took me years to write and hours to record and mix. And I hope that you enjoyed this journey as much as I.

Thank you.

Poetry Break

Poetry Break

My introduction to Saul Wiliams was through his 2007 album, The Inevitable Rise and Liberation of NiggyTardust! which had been produced by Trent Reznor. The first single, Tr(n)igger held lyrics that resonated – and still resonate – with the time: “You wanna blame them boys from Lebanon and cat like you don’t know where they get it from?/You wanna project all your problems and murder every hope to solve them?/Would Jesus Christ come back American? What if he’s Iraqi and here again?/You’d have to finally face your fears, my friend/Who’s gonna hold your hand when that happens?”

After devouring the album, I started digging for more. And found his poetry through the process. There’s a lot of poems that could be posted, but “Ohm” was the first I listened to, and, therefore my favorite.

I hope it’s as powerful to you as it was to a 24-year-old me. Enjoy.

I am no Earthling, I drink moonshine on Mars
And mistake meteors for stars cause I can’t hold my liquor
But I can hold my breath and ascend like wind to the black hole
And play galaxaphones on the fire escapes of your soul
Blowing tunes through lunar wombs, impregnating stars
Giving birth to suns, that darken the skins that skin our drums
And we be beating infinity over sacred hums
Spinning funk like myrrh until Jesus comes

from The Seventh Octave: the Early Writings of Saul Stacy Williams