Poet, activist, and musician Saul Williams, who recently wrote an essay in honor of Martin Luther King, Jr. Day, has penned an op-ed for SPIN about the Baltimore riots surrounding Freddie Gray’s death while in police custody. Below, read a surreal meditation from his Martyr Loser Kingdom (which, you may have noticed, is abbreviated as M.L.K.) tour — and, in this case, dream — diary. While you read, be sure to listen to “Burundi” featuring Warpaint’s Emily Kokal, the stirring first listen off Williams’ forthcoming LP, MartyrLoserKing (out in July via FADER).
May 4, 2015
Weird dream. In a burning library, on the third or fourth floor, not actually panicked about the fire below. I’m copying passages from books before throwing them out the window. Outside a huge pendulum hangs over the city, like the moon on a string. I read one passage that begins, “Baltimore had long ago burnt to the ground,” which disintegrates in my hands before I have a chance to read more. I pick up another book and read something like:
Millions of hands pushed the hanging weight as it swung overhead, heavy, metallic. The pendulum push for social justice that had moved through labor, civil rights, women’s independence, black power, only to be foiled by covert government infiltration, corporate hedgemony [sic], the War on Drugs, mass incarceration, up through and past a black presidency, was now making it’s [sic] reverse journey, where groups that had once been strategically pitted against each other [see Bastards of the Party] were now finding common cause and ground in policing their own communities, where overt oversights and religious overflow into the law were being weeded out, drugs were being decriminalized, wage discrepancies were being addressed… in so many words, the country was reckoning with its shortcomings, oversights, and deeply ingrained prejudices and hypocrisies.
Continue reading at Spin