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Saul Williams: 'Said the Shotgun to the Head'

ED GORDON, host:

And today, we close the show with a poem. Here's spoken-word artist Saul Williams with Said the Shotgun to the Head.

Mr. SAUL WILLIAMS (Spoken-word Artist; Author, The Dead Emcee Scrolls): Citizens, children of the night, bearers of the day torch, scorched and burned - burn not. The dam is broken. The curse is fled. Once muddied and still, the river runs red! All those ships that never sailed, the ones with their seacocks open that lied scuttled in their stalls; today, I bring them back, huge and intransitory, and let them sail forever - if ever there were currents uncurrent. The wind could not serve as truth's currency. Currently moon marked and sun sparked, unmarked bills, will I am certain I speak a new language, as is always the first sign of a new age.

I'd begun to believe my blackened toenails were on path to decay. When, in truth, they had begun the gradual process of crystallization. I am he who walks on wind-scorned feet with toenails of amethyst and road (unintelligible). My path now crystal clear, I am come to tell you, she is here.

It is not written. No penmanship was ever cargoed with her character. Notebooks are carefully folded, forest void of autumn bound from the sun. Likewise, she made her residence on the outskirts of history, on the dark side of the moon where the searchlight of the sun cannot spot her nor rot her, the seed of forbidden fruit; every tree has a hidden root, yet she has come to light.

And that is the opening couple of stanzas of this epic poem that I wrote called Said the Shotgun to the Head, which is available in book form. The book itself is one long poem in the voice of a man that's telling of the coming of a female Messiah. And essentially, it's a love poem to all of the things that are decaying and destroying the values and ideals that surround patriarchy and all of the male-centered, societal structures that, in my opinion, have led us to our current state of emergency, state of warfare and what have you.

GORDON: That was spoken word artist Saul Williams, explaining his poem, Said the Shotgun to the Head. Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.

NPR transcripts are created on a rush deadline by an NPR contractor. This text may not be in its final form and may be updated or revised in the future. Accuracy and availability may vary. The authoritative record of NPR’s programming is the audio record.