Sunday, June 26, 2005

Oscar Brown Jr., Rest In Peace

The Homecoming Memorial Service for musician/poet/activist Oscar Brown Jr. was held in Chicago at Christ Universal Temple on Friday, June . It is so unusual that I feel a tragic sense of loss as if he were a member of my own family yet I never met him during his lifetime. This is the same feeling I had when I learned of the tragic passings of John Lennon, Sam Cooke and Marvin Gaye, but at least I can say that in Oscar's case he left the planet due to a natural death and God blessed us with his being for seventy-eight years. I feel honored that Oscar's son Napoleon David Brown sent me a copy of one of Oscar Brown Jr's later poems. This Beach by Oscar Brown, Jr.
And now I've landed on this beach
It takes sixty-five years to reach
As this generation of mine
Is ordered onto life's front line
The targets of a fusillade
That forces us to think of God

Reluctantly we storm this beach
Advancing to fill up the breach
Created by that fallen corps
Of elders who charged here before
While we enjoyed our middle age
Removed from the fire we now engage

A withering barrage rakes this beach
Its bullets bear the names of each
Of those who set foot on these sands
Old General Calendar now commands
Advancing to a sure defeat
Without the option of retreat

We knew before we hit this beach
The enemy that we besiege
Has ammunition for us all
Who as casualties must fall…
Not one will manage to survive
Nobody leaves this beach alive

For those arriving on this beach
There is no prayer to neither pray nor preach
To beg us off in any tongue
Since we have outlived dying young
And for surviving in exchange
Now face the fire at point blank range

The witness we bear on this beach
Has only one lesson to teach
That here the carnage never stops
As every day another drops
Some classmate, relative or friend
Whose attack comes to an abrupt end

So on into the breach my peers
Who knows how many weeks or years
Remain till you and I are hit
As we inch onward, bit by bit
We only know our lives will bleach
Eternally out on this beach
poems. This Beach by Oscar Brown Jr.
And now I've landed on this beach
It takes sixty-five years to reach
As this generation of mine
Is ordered onto life's front line
The targets of a fusillade
That forces us to think of God

Reluctantly we storm this beach
Advancing to fill up the breach
Created by that fallen corps
Of elders who charged here before
While we enjoyed our middle age
Removed from the fire we now engage

A withering barrage rakes this beach
Its bullets bear the names of each
Of those who set foot on these sands
Old General Calendar now commands
Advancing to a sure defeat
Without the option of retreat

We knew before we hit this beach
The enemy that we besiege
Has ammunition for us all
Who as casualties must fall…
Not one will manage to survive
Nobody leaves this beach alive

For those arriving on this beach
There is no prayer to neither pray nor preach
To beg us off in any tongue
Since we have outlived dying young
And for surviving in exchange
Now face the fire at point blank range

The witness we bear on this beach
Has only one lesson to teach
That here the carnage never stops
As every day another drops
Some classmate, relative or friend
Whose attack comes to an abrupt end

So on into the breach my peers
Who knows how many weeks or years
Remain till you and I are hit
As we inch onward, bit by bit
We only know our lives will bleach
Eternally out on this beach

No comments: