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Gil Scott-Heron

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"The Needle's Eye"

"The Needle's Eye"


A circle spinning faster
And getting larger all the time
A whirlpool spelled disaster
For all the people who don't rhyme

Him who don't fit through the needle's eye
Him who just don't understand
Understand, understand, understand

A brand new sense of freedom
A brand new sense of time
Him may go and stand alone now
And leave the hate and fear behind

All the millions spent for killing
Seems the whole world must be dying
All the children who go hungry
How much food we could be buying

Him who don't fit through the needle's eye
Him who just don't understand
Understand, understand, understand

A brand new sense of freedom
A brand new sense of time
Him may go and stand alone now
And the leave the hate and fear behind

People wake up every morning
And simply push their lives aside
They seem to carry all their feelings
Crushed and crumbled up inside
Inside, inside, inside

Him who don't fit through the needle's eye
Him who just don't understand

So I went to see my father
Many questions on my mind
But he didn't want to answer me
God, the whole world must be blind

Him who don't fit through the needle's eye
Him may someday go insane
Insane, insane, insane

Without a brand new sense of freedom
A brand new sense of time
Him may go and stand alone now
And leave the hate and fear behind, yeah, behind
 
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"The New Deal"

"The New Deal"


I have believed in my convictions
And have been convicted for my beliefs
Conned by the constitution
And harassed by the police.
I've been billed for the bill of rights
And been treated like I was wrong.
I have become a special amendment
For what included me all along.
Like "All men are created equal."
(No amendment needed here)
I've contributed in every field including cotton
From Sunset Strip to Washington Square.
Back during the non-violent era.
I was the only non-violent one.
As a matter of fact there was no non-violence
'cause too many rednecks had guns.
There seems to have been this pattern
That a lot of folks failed to pick up on.
But all black leaders who dared stand up
Wuz in jail, in the courtroom or gone.
Picked up indiscriminately
By the shocktroops of discrimination
To end up in jails or tied up in trails
While dirty tricks soured the nation.
I've been hoodwinked by professional hoods.
My ego has happened to me.
It'll be alright, just keep things cool!"
"And take the people off the street.
We'll settle all this at the conference table.
You just leave everything to me."
Which gets me back to my convictions
And being convicted for my belief
'cause I believe these smiles
in three piece suits
with gracious, liberal demeanor
took our movement off of the streets
and took us to the cleaners
In other words, we let up the pressure
And that was all part of their plan
And every day we allow to slip through our fingers
Is playing right into their hands
 
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"The Other Side, Part I"

"The Other Side, Part I"


Sometimes I feel like I’m just wasting time
Looking for another side

Sometime I feel like I’m losing my mind ‘cause there ain’t
No other side

Sometimes I’m just spinning my wheels, ain’t no big deal
Morning, there’s another side

Sometimes I feel like I’m just standing in place, ain’t no real race
Ain’t no other side

Life is like a circle and you end up where you started
If you end up where you started ain’t no other side

Yeah, but if life is like a curtain that I’m 90% certain that I’m looking through at something
Yes, I’m almost touching something on the other side

Yeah, the opposite of new is old
The opposite of young is old
Seems like everything has got another side
Yeah, but young ones want to be old ones
Old ones know what they would do if they was young ones
People ain’t never really satisfied
People ain’t never satisfied

If life is like a mirror then the nearer you get clearer
You can see it so much clearer
Feel like you know about the other side

My friends all swear that they know

What I should do with my life
How I should run my life
What should be happening with my life
They’re on the other side

They’re on the outside
I’m on the inside

Things always look so much better on the other side
Four O’clock in the morning
They don’t know
All the things I been needing
They don’t know
Breaking out in a sweat
And they don’t know

Feeling down
And they don’t know
They don’t know the other side

I need to go home
Momma could change it
Daddy could help me
Yes, I could go home

Yeah, Momma don’t need to see me this way
Know me this way
Touch me this way
Love me this way
Find me this way
I can’t go home

I’m saying
I don’t want to call him
I don’t want to know him
I don’t want to need him
I don’t want to feel it
I don’t want to know

But I know, know know

Hey, home
So I say tomorrow
Tomorrow [repeat]
I’m going home
Tomorrow ain’t coming
Tomorrow will always where it was
Tomorrow [repeat]
I need to go home
Maybe I could start all over at home
Without the whispers

Hanging on me
Pulling on me, rolling with me
Pulling on me

Yes, I’d like to go home
Without the whispers
 
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"The Other Side, Part II"

"The Other Side, Part II"


Kick it, quit it [x4] home
Told him, kick it, quit it [x3], can't go home
I know when they told me, kick it, quit it [x3], can't go home
Feeling so much worse now, kick it, quit it [x3], gotta go home
Yeah, my friends say "stop"
Told myself a 100 times I'm going stop
Yeah, my friends say "quit it"
They don't know how many times I've said I gotta quit it
Then I say "tomorrow" [x14] hey, I'm going to stop
Yes, in the morning I'm gonna go home
Need a little bit of love in the morning, love in the morning
Somebody help me get over this thing
Got to go home
Feel like I could start all over at home
Make myself a brand new life at home
First I gotta face them down, say "kick it, quit it" [x4] home
Yeah, I'm gonna say "kick it, quit it" [x2] get back home
Yeah, I hear 'em say "kick it, quit it" [x2] can't get home
Always on my mind say "kick it, quit it" [x2] can't go home
 
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"The Other Side, Part III"

"The Other Side, Part III"


Junkie walking through the twilight, I'm on my way home
I left three days ago, no one seems to know I'm gone
Home is where the hatred is, and home is filled with pain
But it might not be such a bad idea if I never, never went home again

Home is where I live inside my white powder dream
Home was once an empty vacuum but it's filled now with my silent scream
Home is where the needle marks try to heal my broken heart
But it might not be such a bad idea if I never, never went home again

Stand as far away from me as you can and ask me why
Hang on to your rosary beads, close your eyes and watch me die
You keep saying, kick it, quit it, kick it, quit it
God, but did you ever try
And turn your sick soul inside out
So that the world, so that the world
Can watch you die [x3], say...

Home is where I live inside my white powder dream
Home was once an empty vacuum but it's filled now with my silent scream
Home is where the needle marks try to heal my broken heart
But it might not be such a bad idea if I never, never went home again

Don't you know I might never go home, never go home
Make all these plans and keep packing my bags
Not go, hey, not go
Keep saying... Tomorrow
First thing tomorrow
Tomorrow I'll go
Know it all the time, I'm just biding time

Say, kick it, quit it

I might never go home, never go home
Pack all my bags and keep standing around
And down
And say I'm running and running
But I can't get away
Everybody ain't that strong, ain't that strong
Go too long, feel yourself crash

kick it, quit it
can't go home
holding onto something
kick it, quit it
can't go home

yes, you'd like to go home
mamma could change it, daddy could fix it, yes, if you could go home
mama don't need to see me this way, know me this way and touch me this way
love me this way, can't go .. home
say it to myself...
kick it, quit it
can't go home
I feel it in my soul
kick it, quit it
can't go home
yes, yes, saying, saying
kick it, quit it
can't go home
yes, but I know, but I know, but I...
can't go home
yes, I'd like to go home, can't go home
I could start all over
Like to go home
Say yeah, like to go home
 
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"The Prisoner"

"The Prisoner"


Here I am after so many years
Hounded by hatred and trapped by fear
I'm in a box, I've got no place to go
If I follow my mind, I know I'll slaughter my own

Help me, I'm the prisoner won't you hear my plea?
I need somebody, yeah, to listen to me
I beg you, brothers and sisters
I'm counting on you, yeah

Black babies in the womb are shackled and bound
Chained by the caveman who keeps beauty down
Smacked on the ass when they're squalling and wet
Heir to a spineless man who never forgets

Never forgets that he's a prisoner, can't you hear my plea?
'Cause I need somebody, Lord knows, to listen to me
I'm a stranger to my son
Who wonders why his daddy runs, yeah

On my way to work in the morning
When I don't give a damn
Can't nobody, can't nobody
Can't nobody, can't nobody see just who in hell I am?

Hemmed in by a suit, yes, all choked up in a tie
Ain't no wonder some times near morning I hear my woman cry
She knows her man is a prisoner, won't you hear my plea?
Yeah, 'cause I need somebody to listen to me

My woman, she don't say but she hates
To see her man chained this way, yeah
Help me, I'm the prisoner
Yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah, I'm the prisoner
 
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"The Revolution Will Not Be Televised"

"The Revolution Will Not Be Televised"


You will not be able to stay home, brother.
You will not be able to plug in, turn on and cop out.
You will not be able to lose yourself on skag and
skip out for beer during commercials,
Because the revolution will not be televised.

The revolution will not be televised.
The revolution will not be brought to you by Xerox
In 4 parts without commercial interruptions.
The revolution will not show you pictures of Nixon
blowing a bugle and leading a charge by John
Mitchell, General Abrams and Mendel Rivers to eat
hog maws confiscated from a Harlem sanctuary.

The revolution will not be televised.
The revolution will not be brought to you by the
Schaefer Award Theatre and will not star Natalie
Woods and Steve McQueen or Bullwinkle and Julia.
The revolution will not give your mouth sex appeal.
The revolution will not get rid of the nubs.
The revolution will not make you look five pounds
thinner, the revolution will not be televised, Brother.

There will be no pictures of you and Willie Mays
pushing that shopping cart down the block on the dead run,
or trying to slide that color television into a stolen ambulance.
NBC will not be able predict the winner at 8:32
on reports from 29 districts.
The revolution will not be televised.

There will be no pictures of pigs shooting down
brothers in the instant replay.
There will be no pictures of Whitney Young being
run out of Harlem on a rail with a brand new process.
There will be no slow motion or still life of Roy
Wilkens strolling through Watts in a Red, Black and
Green liberation jumpsuit that he had been saving
For just the right occasion.

Green Acres, The Beverly Hillbillies, and Hooterville
Junction will no longer be so god damned relevant, and
women will not care if Dick finally screwed
Jane on Search for Tomorrow because Black people
will be in the street looking for a brighter day.
The revolution will not be televised.

There will be no highlights on the eleven o'clock
news and no pictures of hairy armed women
liberationists and Jackie Onassis blowing her nose.
The theme song will not be written by Jim Webb or
Francis Scott Key, nor sung by Glen Campbell, Tom
Jones, Johnny Cash or Englebert Humperdink.
The revolution will not be televised.

The revolution will not be right back
after a message about a white tornado, white lightning, or white people.
You will not have to worry about a dove in your
bedroom, a tiger in your tank, or the giant in your toilet bowl.
The revolution will not go better with Coke.
The revolution will not fight the germs that may cause bad breath.
The revolution will put you in the driver's seat.

The revolution will not be televised, will not be televised,
will not be televised, will not be televised.
The revolution will be no re-run brothers;
The revolution will be live.
 
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"The Subject Was Faggots"

"The Subject Was Faggots"


The Subject Was Faggots
and the quote was "ain't nothin' happenin' but faggots and dope"
Faggots and dope, faggots and faggots and faggots who line dot dot dot dot dot
Like that, 34th street and 8th avenue
Giggling and grinning and prancing and shit
Trying their best to see to see the misses and misery
and miscellaneous misfits who attend the faggot ball
faggots who have come to ball
faggots who have come to ball
faggots who were balling because they couldn't get their balls
inside the faggot hall
Balling, balling, ball-less faggots
cutie cootie and snoodie faggots
I mean you just had to dig it to dig it
the crowning attraction being the arrival of Ms Brooklyn
looking like a half-back in a mini-skirt
with swan feathers covering
his err hers a it's pectoral and balls
and he err she or it prepared to enter the faggot ball
but sitting on the corner digging all that I did as I did
long long, black limousines and long flowin' evening gowns
had there been no sign on the door saying "faggot ball"
I might have entered, and god only knows just what would've happened
 
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"The Train From Washington"

"The Train From Washington"


During reconstruction time they were folks who have been promised 40 acres and a mule.
And they were told a man with their legal papers could be expected on a train from Washington.
They were folks who waited for him and there are folks still waiting for him.
But you can't depend on the train from Washington, it's 100 years overdue…

You can depend on the stars and planets yeah
They'll always tell you the truth
You can depend on the 15th of April Yeah
Somehow it always gets through
You can depend on the daily paper's calls
They surely bring you the blues
But don't depend on the train from Washington
It's one hundred years overdue

I see people, dragging on their own
I see them standing
Anxious near the tracks
I see people, a long long way from home
Wondering how they'll ever get back

You can depend on the politicians yeah
Always got a point of view
They are contemporary court magicians yeah
Sleight of mouth will dazzle you
You can depend on the repositions from them
Changes that you've got to go through
But don't depend on the train from Washington
It's one hundred years overdue

I see people, on their way to work
I see factories bursting at the seams
I see people listening for the whistle
On the train that will carry their dreams

I see people, on their way to work
I see factories bursting at the seams
I see people listening for the whistle
On the train that will carry their dreams

You can depend on the folks and gravity
Cuz both of them will bring you down
You can depend on catching something Yeah
Cause something is going around
You can depend on the first two numbers, but
Damn if the last one come through
But don't depend on the train from Washington
It's one hundred years overdue

You can't depend on the train from Washington
It's one hundred years overdue
Oh lord you see
You can't depend on the train from Washington
It's one hundred years overdue
Don't you over
But don't depend on the train from Washington
Eh eh eh .. eh you know it might not make it
You can't depend on the train from Washington
Everybody knows it's it's it's running late
You can't depend on the train from Washington
It's one hundred years overdue
It's long long time
You can't depend on the train from Washington
It's one hundred years overdue …
 
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"The Vulture"

"The Vulture"


Standing in the ruins
Of another Black man's life,
or flying through the valley
They're separating day and night.
"I am death," cried the Vulture.
"For the people of the light."

Charon brought his raft
and came from the sea that sails on souls,
And saw the scavenger departing,
taking warm hearts to the cold.
He knew the ghetto was the haven
for the meanest creature ever known.

In a wilderness of heartbreak
and a desert of despair,
Evil's carrion of justice
shrieks a cry of naked terror.
He's taking babies from their momas
and leaving grief beyond compare.

So if you see the Vulture coming,
he's flying circles in your mind,
Remember there is no escaping
for he will follow close behind.
Only promised me a battle,
battle for your soul and mine.

He taking babies from their momas
And he's leaving
Leaving
Leaving
Leaving
Leaving
 
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