Ain’t nobody heard me singing sweet songs lately; my sweet notes soured sometime ago- raped robbed, abandoned left rotting in some Southern swill which stayed too long in the heart-of-America still, turning bad.
Ain’t nobody heard me singing sweet songs lately. Where have life’s sweet things gone? Flowers, friends, love and tokens of love, security, beauty, hope? Nope, nobody seems to know where or even when all those things, those dreams, those sentiments we cherished perished.
Ain’t nobody heard me singing sweet songs lately; they turned to ashes in the flashing waste of our great hate. Coltrane couldn’t make it either; Sam Cooke lied when he said “a change is going to come;” and I watched them both die before it did.
Otis Redding had an inkling of this truth while sitting on the dock of the bay, both of us swaying while Aretha plumbed the depths of the black race’s soul, voicing a juju of our visions; shaking her head sadly, she said “ain’t no way.”
Martin tried to love, tried to be a drum major for peace, but juxtaposed on his deep, resonant sound of rolling drums was the U.S.A.’s shotgun blast of apartheid, shattering, blood splattering his dream, our dreams and those of his strong black, stoic mother, prophet father, four brave and beautiful youth and the bronze wonder of his too-soon widowed devoted wife-and all of us blacks poor in the riches of the world and spirit.
Mahalia heaved her deep bosom and dropped a tear on his rough hewn wooden bier; crying a cop-out plea straining beyond the trials of the earth and the veils of hate and scorn; reaching toward other worldness from a soul weary voice, gutted with despair, “Precious Lord, take my hand, lead me on.”
Where we gonna go, Mahalia? Don’t tell the bell heralding for our folk an eternity of hell in the beast’s Walhalla.
Where we gonna go, Mahalia? You tell us and don’t just put us on with notes, not of murderous discord nut, with the sweet submissive sound of suicide.
If my life must be a sacrifice, let it be in the name of my own self interests and those of my strong black sons and daughters.
Ain’t nobody heard me singing sweet songs lately; but maybe I will find as a last word, some sweet note to leave behind when it’s said “that’s all she wrote.”….