by Rodger L. Hilliard

I was around when Huey and Bobby got down
and the Panther roamed the ghetto streets.
Yeah, I was around when Bull Conner let loose the hoses and dogs,
while his cronies hid beneath white sheets.
I remember The Wilmington Ten and The Chicago Seven
and I remember all too well when JFK, RFK and MLK
all three took their untimely trips to heaven.
There was a time when everything was uptight,
all right and clean out a and copasetic.
Iceberg Slim...remember him?
Hell I even heard of Malcolm...before he was a movie.
These were High Times...and everything was groovy.
Two kids could have school yard fight...home...and
not have to worry 'bout automatic weapons blazin' all through the night,
come back to school the next day and things would be all right.
I remember sneakin' in and listening to Moms and Pig Meat, Redd Foxx and
Rudy Ray Moore aka...Dolomite!

Now times have changed, something just ain't right…..everybody's trippin'.
Now we got farm kids in Iowa throwing up gang signs
and talkin about how they're crippin'.
The Power has been drained...
raised fist won't get nothin' now a days but...a tired arm.
All that lets come together, we are the world talk...
has somehow lost it's charm.
I recall a day when our role models weren't just playin' roles
and most were found right in our own homes.
People were talkin' about more than gettin' paid
or cappin' other people's domes.

Marvin was asking What's Goin'
On and JB was Black and Proud
and we were all Sayin' It Loud.
Aretha was gettin' all her "R-E-S-P-E-C-T"
and we all wanted to "Float Like A Butterfly and Sting Like A Bee."
Maya was telling us Why The Caged Bird Sings and Nikki Giavonni so
eloquently explained why she Could Fly...Like Bird In The Sky,
while she was Ego Trippin'.
Brother Gil asked us if we had Heard The Word From Johannesburg
and told us "The Revolution Will Not be Televised, Will Not
Be Televised, Will Not Be Televised"
...but how was he to know about Don the King
and multi-million dollar pay per-view television contracts.
He and all the others were way to busy
puttin' knowledge down on paper and on wax.
Now it seems we're too complacent, we've gotten' too relaxed.
Too many have taken their eyes off the prize...stopped pursuing the Dream,
and for what?  Some fool's gold and a little bit of C.R.E.A.M.
Now all our so called leaders are chosen by the way they look, dress or speak
and we never seem to question them when the message they bring forth is sometimes...piss weak.
Is our forecast for the future really this damn bleak?
Is all our true glory forever trapped within our past,
were The Last Poets really that prophetic, were they literally the...last?
Will the words "Never Again" ever be anything other than a catchy phrase?
Will we ever stop pointing fingers and put a ending to our own devil like ways?
We need to recapture the spirit and drive of the torch bearers of the past...
we need to act swiftly people,  because the futures coming...and it's coming fast!

Past. Present. Future? by Rodger L. Hilliard

© Copyright 1997. All rights reserved. No portion of this work may be duplicated or copied without the expressed written consent of the author.

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