This is the Year

At Tzedek Chicago, our tradition for the haftarah on Rosh Hashanah is to offer an original poem in the prophetic tradition - speaking hard truths and pointing the way toward a better day in which power will be accessed by all, and the world in which we live with be a just one. This year, Chicago poet and musician Adam Gottlieb offered his poem, This is the Year.

 

 

This is the Year (5778)


“O sing unto the Lord a new song;
Sing unto the Lord, all the earth!

Let the skies be glad, let earth rejoice,
Let the sea and all within it thunder praise!”
- Psalm 96


This is the Year
after Martín Espada, and all visionaries

This is in fact the year that squatters evict landlords,
as we occupy all streets & all city halls,

This is the year Black torture sites
butterfly into Freedom Squares,
Boards of Trade
are made Room & Board,
Tent cities vanish into sanctuaries
& homeless humans
move to human homes,

Let the prisoners be freed,
Let the refugees return,
Let the Water Protectors rest,
Let the organizers sleep,
Let the truth-speakers read novels,
Let the poets write about rivers,
Let the rivers fill with fish!

Let the land and everything it holds exult!

& Praise you People, praise your Rage,
come ye drummers, come ye sousaphones,
come you hordes of righteous screamers,
Bless this Music of your thirst
for Justice, your hunger for Love!

This is the year the White House
is repossessed
& decked out with graffiti
by the children of D.C.

This is the year the Kochs & Goldman-Sachses pay their taxes,
Washing dishes, filling prisons with their fat cat class of fascists,

This is the year a law is passed prohibiting cops from gathering
in groups larger than two, unless they trade their guns for hackey sacks,

This is the year that Dred Scott resurrects from the Calvary Cemetery
to lead a seige of martyed ghosts upon the hosts of Capital,

This is the year that Moses & the Old Testament prophets
go toe to toe with Israeli soldiers, turning bullets into olives,

This is the year that T-Rump
pays off Mexico’s debt,

The year We the People forget to forget

The year we turn off
the reality television show that governs us
& start to govern our own reality,

This is the year the presidents of Mount Rushmore
morph into the faces of Crazy Horse,
Sitting Bull, Black Elk, & Fools Crow,

This is the year that banners unravel
& barbed-wire fences crumble,

the year wage-slaves take over
as the stock market topples,

so the last will be first
and the first will be last,

and we’ll give what we can
and take what we need…

This is the year food & clean water are free
& gas is too expensive for everyone,

In fact This is the year we remember why

we cannot buy
or sell the Earth --

(we are Her…)

If Occupy beganas a Vision
of people having the debts that crippled them cleared,
then This is the year…

If #BlackLivesMatter began as a Vision
of people walking the streets without fear,
then This is the year…

If every Movement begins as a Vision
of People empowered in body & spirit
Then this is the year it is so.


So,

Let all the trees of the forest sing for joy
before the Eternal…

Let the rivers clap their hands,
Let the mountains sing in chorus!

and if eyes are eyes,


… so may every silent mouth,
dry as thirsty dirt,

Open

with the music

of Justice.


“O sing unto the Lord a new song;
Sing unto the Lord, all the earth!

Let the skies be glad, let earth rejoice,
Let the sea and all within it thunder praise!”
- Psalm 96


This is the Year
after Martín Espada, and all visionaries

This is in fact the year that squatters evict landlords,
as we occupy all streets & all city halls,

This is the year Black torture sites
butterfly into Freedom Squares,
Boards of Trade
are made Room & Board,
Tent cities vanish into sanctuaries
& homeless humans
move to human homes,

Let the prisoners be freed,
Let the refugees return,
Let the Water Protectors rest,
Let the organizers sleep,
Let the truth-speakers read novels,
Let the poets write about rivers,
Let the rivers fill with fish!

Let the land and everything it holds exult!

& Praise you People, praise your Rage,
come ye drummers, come ye sousaphones,
come you hordes of righteous screamers,
Bless this Music of your thirst
for Justice, your hunger for Love!

This is the year the White House
is repossessed
& decked out with graffiti
by the children of D.C.

This is the year the Kochs & Goldman-Sachses pay their taxes,
Washing dishes, filling prisons with their fat cat class of fascists,

This is the year a law is passed prohibiting cops from gathering
in groups larger than two, unless they trade their guns for hackey sacks,

This is the year that Dred Scott resurrects from the Calvary Cemetery
to lead a seige of martyed ghosts upon the hosts of Capital,

This is the year that Moses & the Old Testament prophets
go toe to toe with Israeli soldiers, turning bullets into olives,

This is the year that T-Rump
pays off Mexico’s debt,

The year We the People forget to forget

The year we turn off
the reality television show that governs us
& start to govern our own reality,

This is the year the presidents of Mount Rushmore
morph into the faces of Crazy Horse,
Sitting Bull, Black Elk, & Fools Crow,

This is the year that banners unravel
& barbed-wire fences crumble,

the year wage-slaves take over
as the stock market topples,

so the last will be first
and the first will be last,

and we’ll give what we can
and take what we need…

This is the year food & clean water are free
& gas is too expensive for everyone,

In fact This is the year we remember why

we cannot buy
or sell the Earth --

(we are Her…)

If Occupy beganas a Vision
of people having the debts that crippled them cleared,
then This is the year…

If #BlackLivesMatter began as a Vision
of people walking the streets without fear,
then This is the year…

If every Movement begins as a Vision
of People empowered in body & spirit
Then this is the year it is so.


So,

Let all the trees of the forest sing for joy
before the Eternal…

Let the rivers clap their hands,
Let the mountains sing in chorus!

and if eyes are eyes,


… so may every silent mouth,
dry as thirsty dirt,

Open

with the music

of Justice.