Monday, July 10, 2017


(Ed.'s note: Many of us who grew up listening to the origins of "political rap" as practiced by The Last Poets that included ghetto bard par excellence Gil Scott-Heron were saddened when he passed away May 2011.

We mourned his passing not because he was a great poet or musician because he was both, and much more. But we mourn his checking out because with his loss we lost a man of feeling for his fellow beings that was reflected constantly in his creations.

Before you conclude that Scott-Heron was a practitioner of gangsta rap or such other nonsense, listen to what he had to tell the young rappers of today in an interview toward the end of his life.)

"They need to study music. I played in several bands before I began my career as a poet. There’s a big difference between putting words over some music, and blending those same words into the music. There’s not a lot of humor. They use a lot of slang and colloquialisms, and you don’t really see inside the person. Instead, you just get a lot of posturing."

Here's one example:

On May 5, 1977, Houston Police officers arrested Army veteran Jose Campos Torres in a bar on Houston's East End. On the way to the city jail, the police officers stopped along the banks of Buffalo Bayou and beat Torres.

Later, when they tried to book the injured 23-year-old Vietnam veteran, other officers told them he had to be treated at the hospital first. Instead, the officers took Torres back to the bayou, beat him again, and pushed him into the water.

Torres was handcuffed and couldn't swim and drowned. His body was found on May 8, 1977. After a state trial, the officers involved were given probation and fined $1 each. A federal civil rights trial in 1978 ended with short sentences for some of the officers.

Brother Gil, a Black man, wrote this song and included it in his album "The Mind of Gil Scott-Heron" released in 1979.


I had said I wasn't going to write no more poems like this
I had confessed to myself all along, tracer of life, poetry trends
That awareness, consciousness, poems that screamed of pain and the origins of pain and death had blanketed my tablets
And therefore, my friends, brothers, sisters, in-laws, outlaws, and besides – they already knew
But brother Torres, common ancient bloodline brother Torres is dead

I had said I wasn't going to write no more poems like this
I had said I wasn't going to write no more words down about people kicking us when we're down
About racist dogs that attack us and drive us down, drag us down and beat us down

But the dogs are in the street
The dogs are alive and the terror in our hearts has scarcely diminished
It has scarcely brought us the comfort we suspected
The recognition of our terror and the screaming release of that recognition
Has not removed the certainty of that knowledge – how could it

The dogs rabid foaming with the energy of their brutish ignorance
Stride the city streets like robot gunslingers
And spread death as night lamps flash crude reflections from gun butts and police shields

I had said I wasn't going to write no more poems like this
But the battlefield has oozed away from the stilted debates of semantics
Beyond the questionable flexibility of primal screaming

The reality of our city, jungle streets and their Gestapos
Has become an attack on home, life, family and philosophy, total
It is beyond the question of the advantages of didactic niggerisms
The motherfucking dogs are in the street

In Houston maybe someone said Mexicans were the new niggers
In LA maybe someone said Chicanos were the new niggers
In Frisco maybe someone said Orientals were the new niggers
Maybe in Philadelphia and North Carolina they decided they didn't need no new niggers

I had said I wasn't going to write no more poems like this
But dogs are in the street

It's a turn around world where things are all too quickly turned around
It was turned around so that right looked wrong
It was turned around so that up looked down

It was turned around so that those who marched in the streets with bibles and signs of peace became enemies of the state and risk to national security
So that those who questioned the operations of those in authority on the principles of justice, liberty, and equality became the vanguard of a communist attack

It became so you couldn't call a spade a motherfucking spade...

I had said I wasn't going to write no more poems like this
I made a mistake


Anonymous said...

So what? You love mayates, juanito? LOL

Anonymous said...

Oliveira and Lucio s services no longer needed

Anonymous said...

Oliveira thank you for your service but you will no longer be needed. There are plenty of divirces you can prey on.

Anonymous said...

There was a divorce recently. Rene Oliveira was by side of the divorcing woman constantly and then tried to be her attorney and Judge did not allow it. The Judge even asked him to leave courtroom because he was on witness list. He advised woman on how she could get the high dollar home and major cash per month. The woman did not get house nor major cash per month.Rene Oliveira was absolutely worthless to the woman in court. The man won every court appearance. Oliveira could not even influence Democratic Judge with his appearance. Rene Oliveira is worthless in courtroom and in Austin

Anonymous said...

Juan, you have such a closed mind. There must have been good reason for the double beat down and shackled swim. Try being more opened minded about these things. Narrow thinking does nobody any good.