pouring some out of the bottle for Brother Gil.


*the author takes a sip, exhales*

maybe it fits into the divine equation that
exists within and outside of us that brother
Gil Scott-Heron went home on a Friday evening
in the city that was always in his blood, even
as it was killing him to hear him tell it. i’ve
always been of the opinion that a lot of his music,
intentional or not, went down better with a good
deal of nightfall and all of its open frontiers.
how many of you out there remember your parents
busting out that LP of ‘The Bottle’ at a family
party or hearing it being spun at some funky,
sweat-inducing house jam? for me, the first time
i ever heard that song bless my ears was as i was
sitting in the back of my dad’s blue Cadillac as
he and my mom drove up to my grandmother’s house
off of Gun Hill Road in the Bronx. and every last
bit of it, even though i was nine years old made
perfect sense and would continue to as i got older.

see, Gil Scott-Heron was many things to all of us
while still being one of us. many others with talent
as he had find themselves removed from the souls that
inspired them, be it by celebrity or other influences
and motives. Gil never did that. you saw that in all
of his music, even in his writing. i still remember
my great surprise at finding his novel ‘The Vulture’
in the library at Hofstra University back in the day.
Gil kept up with the people. they didn’t have to keep
up with him. and he spoke on damn near everything
with Black folks with a sage eye, and a voice that
grabbed your soul and shook it up enough to make you
realize you’ve been there before. if not you, your
mother, father and their ancestors back on down the
line. timelessness.

there will be eulogies. there will be many tribute
posts, many roses for this poet and musician, this
griot of the streets. there’s going to be many who’ll
reference perhaps his best known work, ‘the revolution
will not be televised.’ perhaps the best light that
can be gained from Gil going home is this: thanks to
him and his work, our voice, the one that was neglected,
almost snuffed out in the slime of ignorance, beaten
down and medicated to a stupor has risen to a place of
power that cannot and will not be denied ever again.
and that voice will keep on keepin’ on until something
or someone outs the light on this blue marble we call
Earth.

rest in power brother. and thank you for everything
you’ve done and were.

*pours out the last of the bottle, sighs*