The Roof is On Fire

Microphone check

Mic check one two one two

Up there on the rim of the stadium

Can you hear me in row 522?

 

Oh, I must be dreaming

Everyone knows that poetry is just for the coffeehouse

Small

A hobby

In the building of life it’s just the lobby

 

Everyone knows that poetry is just for the coffeehouse

Bongos and an expresso machine

Express yourself, go ahead

Be romantic, political, sexy, or mean

 

Poetry is written to be read to other poets

And maybe a friend or two

So just give it your best

Get it off your chest

 

But five years from now no one will remember

Who you are or what you do

Don’t you know that poetry is small

And that it shrinks further over time?

Just be happy that you finally figured out

How to use words and maybe make a few lines rhyme

 

Now wait a minute!

 

Why should poetry exist tucked away in a box?

 

Poets should go platinum

Have fan clubs and such

Poets should be people

That everyone wants to touch

 

We should live inside the major,

Not the minor chord

Don’t settle for a podcast

Be about a broadcast

Not just Def Poetry Jam

But Oprah

Montel

Letterman and Leno too

The Super Bowl halftime show

Should feature poets just like you

 

Can’t you imagine yourself rockin’ the mic

At a jazz festival?

An arena?

A stadium?

But if you wanna blow up

You can’t just show up

You’ve got to think it through

 

Will chapbooks lead to scrapbooks?

How about a website?

Facebook?

A CD?

Do you need an agent?
A college hookup?

Do you need a manager?

A publicist or two?

Do you need a gang of friends

To cheer you on at every gig you do?

That stuff’s all good

But put it in the rearview

 

In the end its not about how you mack it

It’s about what’s in your head and in your heart and how you stack it

 

Do you have big ideas?

Big ideas about personal transformation?

Or changing the world so that it suits every nation?

 

We need big ideas to get big audiences

Ideas about extreme makeovers

And hostile takeovers

 

Everyone wishes their life was different

The life of their hearts

Their life in the streets

Give us those visions

And millions will listen to you

 

Small ideas are like water

Damp and moldy, they drip with rust

We don’t need no water

The roof is on fire

Let the motherfucker burn!

Let it burn!

 

Like when Erick Sermon said

“I was blazin’ to specify it”

Meaning

We don’t need no water

The roof is on fire

Let the motherfucker burn!

Let it burn!

 

Reach out and hold the sun

It was put in the sky to shine on you

 

Microphone check

Mic check one two one two

Up there on the rim of the stadium

Can you hear me in row 522?

 

 

Poem / 2008