Lyrics of the Day: Heidegger in Harlem

(by The Negro Problem, from Post-Minstrel Syndrome)

Heidegger in harlem
on a sunday afternoon
black paint streaming down his face
he’s trying to equalize
the distortion in his room
people screaming “unify your race”

but see it takes so long la da da
long i have heard, Martin
i want to thank you for pushing my cart along

there’s a soap box burning
there’s a preacher in the street
black, left, Christian on the way
the preacher’s saying Jesus danced to Communist beats
remember how he spread the fish and bread around that day
but it took too long la da da
long i have heard, preacher
i want to thank you for pushing my cart along

see, Heidegger collapses in a soul food restaurant
the sisters bring him cool lemonade
one of ’em reads aloud from a notebook by the plate
it says “i think this poor white boy’s about to fade”

see it takes too long la da da
long i have heard, preacher
i want to thank you for pushing my cart along

now the preacher’s wearing boxing gloves
the crowd is with him now
he’s punching out the demons of the state
even Malcolm smiles adjusts his tie in the book store window
he says “take me home now, preacher, i can’t wait”

history clock
don’t make no tick-tock
it won’t tell the time
so which watch should be mine?
it won’t plant the seeds
which whisper through the trees
and sway on the song
that pushes my cart along

two comments so far...

This song is one of my favorite songs by anyone, ever. I’m 44 and have been listening to the best rock, jazz, soul, folk, funk and classical music for as long as I can remember–we had a very musical household growing up–and this song simply haunts me. I awoke at 4 o’clock this morning because my 7 month old son was waking and after I got him back to dreamland, I couldn’t stop myself from singing this song in my head over and over again. To think this was tacked onto the end of the album with several other perfectly good songs that are not even acknowledged by a title on the album jacket shows what a great writer Stew is. I can see how a slow, single guitar tune like this didn’t quite fit into the sound the rest of the album has but it’s my favorite on an collection of great songs.

I’ve been lucky enough to see TNP several times and, unsurprisingly, they haven’t played this song. One day, maybe….hopefully. I’ll have to goad Stew into it, I’m sure. =^D

Thanks John for posting this up; this is the first time I’ve seen the full lyric in print and it’s just a masterpiece.


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