Musical Monday: I Can’t Breathe

Musical Monday: I Can’t Breathe
20
Jul

Each Monday I take the opportunity to share music I’ve written with you. The selections are usually from musical theatre, health information put to music, or music to either uplift or lower stress and anxiety.

 

This week will be different. I’ve been troubled by the video revealing the death of George Floyd since seeing it. Shortly after that, I wrote a poem entitled, “I Can’t Breathe,” to express my feelings about that event.

 

But I also wanted to create music to use as a backdrop so that I could speak the poem over it. I wrote several options that would work, but remembered a piece I had written and recorded several years ago to commemorate Memorial Day called “Remember the Fallen.” Since George Floyd’s death happened at the time of Memorial Day, I remembered this soundtrack and it seemed to fit just perfectly. On piano is Ben Schwendener; on sax is Ewe Steinmetz; on bass is Bridget Kearney; on drum Mike Calabrese. Bridget and Mike are now in Lake Street Dive.

 

It’s a powerful piece with a powerful message that is enhanced greatly by the music. The poem is below. If you want to hear me narrate it over the music I wrote, Click Here.

 

I Can’t Breathe

 

I can’t breathe

I can’t breathe

I can’t breathe

I can’t breathe

Please get off of me

I can’t breathe

 

Derek Charvin took a knee

on George Floyd’s neck

as he lay handcuffed and

face down on the ground 

 

Two more police

took a knee on his back

and his legs, while a fourth

just stood around…

 

And 400 years

and 600 pounds

weighed down George Floyd

where he lay

 

And for 8 plus minutes

he pleaded “I can’t breathe,”

Till his last pleading breath

slipped away

 

 

Black, Brown, Red, Yellow, White

saw the video that night

and a broken world lay naked

for their eyes

 

And George Floyd’s last breath

traveled east and west,

saying racism, not blacks

must die

 

‘Cause I can’t breathe

I can’t breathe

I can’t breathe

I can’t breathe

Time to get off me

I can’t breathe

 

And all across the nation

outrage and condemnation

marched the streets together

side by side

 

They said, Systemic and endemic

Racism is pandemic,

it’s time to change

before more people die

 

And 400 years

and 600 pounds

weighed down George Floyd

where he lay

 

And for 8 plus minutes

he pleaded I can’t breathe

’till his last pleading breath

slipped away

 

Black Lives Matter

Equality matters

Justice matters

Change is long overdue

 

It’s time to be clear

Time for you to hear,

We just want

the same chance as you

 

‘Cause We can’t breathe

No one is free

We can’t breathe

Till everyone is free

Just get off of us

So we can breathe

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