For Gil Scott-Heron

You’ll not be able to stay home my sisters n brothers. 

You gotta plug in n not turn away from one another.
You find yourself in a brand new bag
’cause the change you channel is a bodacious flag:
The revolution will be unauthorized.

The revolution comes to you raw-boned n unwrapped my sisters n brothers.
Radio Free Rockefeller is ring-toned n booby-trapped by corporate muthers.
When the people declare a genuine eruption
their voices will orbit ’round radical gumption:
The revolution will not be colonized.

At Circus Maximus we vie for the mud ball almighty
my sisters n brothers.  Faced off with flunkies
of drunken elites born n bred in box seats
who’d smother mettle n delete every Dada drum beat
of our rebel-righteous fisticuffs.
With telephonic cans n string n apostolic
jazz of spring we’ll antiquate their stuff:
The revolution will be polarized.

That’s you stirrin’ the revolutionary brew gone viral
my sisters n brothers.  Hear the hip cats purrin’
ever louder a pulmonary blues of spiraling druthers.
That’s you liberatin’ the load
of an overfed boll weevil n that’s you
agitatin’ with banty roosters
n defibrillatin’ the upheaval:
The revolution will be galvanized.

The raucous shot heard ’round the world won’t
fire from the flash of fashion-conscious flingers.
That’s you paintin’ social grace ’bout gentle people clubbed n maced
for bein’ rainbow singers n that’s you vaccinatin’ folks
who suffer vitriolic pokes from Mister Cat Scratch Fever
n that’s Lady Liberty you kissed her called her your sister
n said you’d never leave her:
The revolution will be humanized

The revolution will be super-sized.
Sisters n brothers, there will be no revolutionary re-runs.
There may be revolutionary sudden death by smart guns.
There will be no revolutionary time-outs ’til we’ve finally won
’cause the revolution will be unauthorized.

Photo: Cover from (the late) Gil Scott-Heron’s famous 1970 album “The Revolution Will Not Be Televised.” (Michael Brown/CC/Flickr)


Tim Mills
Tim Mills

Tim Mills is as an educator/activist and began this life as a conscientious objector during the Viet Nam War and on to a rank & file union member. Mills has been an elected union official, but is proudest of the time spent on our local union newsletter. Mills writes guest columns in the Rockford Register Star for over 20 years. Mills says his politics are left of center, but believes progressives must start with the world as it is, not as we'd wish it to be.