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WAR

 

(Poem from the Catalogue “WAR” published by the artist and the Watts Towers Arts Center, September 2001. Fragments of the poem appeared below the paintings, adhered to the gallery walls)
i am a lover of concrete
by Keith Antar Mason

i am a lover of concrete collecting dust on my swollen face
doing the number one dance we all know the number one song it makes
someone else a star on the billboard charts or whatever
but you drive by this dance yeah you slow down
and watch the lights cast a long shadow mine black or brown

it is hard music that i dance to it can break bones and bust heads
and you forget the dance steps sippin a beer a drink jus chillin'
but the club is favored the paid gang keeps you safe operation nightstick
working doing its job in a trance you watch the video nightly
over and over can't you hear me screaming
i ain't go bump no mo with no big fat cop

i am jacketed tagged dangerous sentenced in english only courts
this is my land my spilled blood makes it so i am a lover of concrete
and dirt face down stripped taken to oz
by an unleashed badge carrying tornado
slow speed chasing me they stand
over the ramparts of the battleground
ready to dance against the children of the jaguar and the panther

they hunt us with a penchant a license to kill
and can't you hear me screaming burn baby burn
we don't need no water let the mother fucker burn
liberty-town LA cincinnati the havoc has come
and i love to dance at club riot at the Insurrection at REVOLUTION

i am a smooth criminal i like to sweat now come closer
i will survive i tell you bloody teeth cuffed you whimper
someone left the cake out
and this night already warmed by lingering Santa Ana's
who died trying to free texas and new mexico

o Kalifornia ain't no party
1 8 7 is what i want to tattoo on your chest
and no one slows down instead they rush to ralphs
and vons an' alpha beta to get milk and bread and water and diapers
and we remember our favorite song no justice no peace

they turn off the power the lights the conversation
and send troops black and brown to the barrios
to the ghettoes and like the arab boys we throw stones
it is right to sing our favorite song as we dance the night away

and the border keeps shifting
who fought in the battle for seattle
i am a lover of concrete dirt earth
i keep hearing the hip-hop rumblings for justice
i am a lover of concrete on the way to club REVOLUTION

and i can tell by the way you walk you want to dance with me
to change your clothes and to sing the words
dig if you will the graves of those murdered boys
running men away from the cops shot in the back
not resisting tasered choke-held casualties in an un-named WAR