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Program Notes & Poetry

Click here for Program Notes from our October 2016 American Voice in Poetry and Song.


Also performed at American Voice in Poetry and Song:

a poem by Regie Gibson:

Opened Letter to Dr. King

Dear Dr. King,

It’s us again. And at this time our nation finds
it has come to a cross in the road.
Once again we are being told that
we should be violently afraid
Goaded by the fear that we have been made   
a 2nd rate nation
That our station was once… great… and
We can be great… again

Dr. King, We are here today because we love this country— dearly  
though we feel weighed down and get weary
and sometimes forget what you and Ghandi and Whitman meant
by a love of country that knows no limits

Dr. King, we need that music that played in you to play in our ears
to block out the insistent din we hear
the squawk of hawks seeking to mangle and strangle
the better angels of our nature
those who intend
to ignite the ethnic and religious hatreds you dreamed would end.

Dr. King, We know you were not perfect. You were a flawed man
in a long line of flawed men.
But, still, we need to find you within us…now.
Need your words to continue planting seeds, somewhere some how
to help us communicate and create across and within this faltering space…
Communicate and create as if we were all part
of a centuries long jazz song:

A composition in which we are all musicians
trying to blend our various, multifarious additions
into an evolving tune,
a tune in which we sometimes
serenely ride afloat in the spaces between notes
and at other times find we must musically muscle to make more room

And   we keep screaming because we don’t know what to do with
this song we’ve let become so jangled and discordant for so long

So we have come here to learn how to keep on strumming…
How to keep ondrumming…
How to keep on humming in search of that note that feels like
the true one…like a resolution… and we find it… it is a blue one:


                    We must never allow ourselves to become satisfied with unattained goals.
                    We must meet physical force with the overwhelming force of the soul
                    I may not get there with you, but I want you all to understand
                   That we as a people will get to the promised land

So, Dr. King, we have come here today
on tired feet made of clay
to both salve and sing our scars
through our thirst-dry throats and blood-stained mouths
in the midst of this present American Darkness
but looking upward at a drinking gourd made of stars

Today we will sing! Sing… Sing… Dr. King…
like the instruments you’ve made us believe we are!

  © Regie Gibson