Lawrence Fischman

Black Day in July

For Johnny Nieves, but mostly for Spartacus. Thanks, bro.



Wait. Just wait. Watch the photograph. It doesn't move so much as not let your ass off the hook. For all that looking. 

Be still with that man behind the driver's seat. Watch the hunter hunt. The barrel of that gun may look to be pointed directly at his face. It is not. It is exactly where it must be, where it should never have been. The angle of that gun carries the damnation of the American Soul.

He looks at rest, but he's not. His weight has not settled into the frame of his hips and his shoulders as it might if he expected any sort of transportation. His weight is in his lower back, his gluts, and his quads. The balls of his feet press into the floorboards, fully loaded and ready for bear.

Be still with A True Believer, the hired gun.

Be still with the man in the middle; he's thinking. He's gauging the climate right outside those doors. He calculates the gain or loss, one way or another, to his constituency and above all else, the gain or loss of power. Have respect. You are looking at an Alpha Lion. 

Be still with the man reaching to shut the door. He's watching the man in the middle; he is thinking. He's gauging the temperature of the man in the middle against the temperature of the man on the left against the reality of the human turmoil outside. He has processed the fact of the open passenger door in front of him, and the terrible fact of the missing driver. 

A million divergent possibilities set off like a box of firecrackers, a seven year old, and a book of matches. 

Detroit ticks.

It is late afternoon, Saturday, July 22, 1967. Detroit ticks. The country ticks.

In the early hours of Sunday morning, a riot on the scale not seen since the 1863 New York City Draft Riots during the Civil War, blew Detroit half way to hell. Sunday morning took a breath, and drove it home. 

We have, none of us, ever recovered from July 23, 1967. Those of us without memory, without schooling of any sort, those of us: The Blameless, hold the weight of this debt. Those of us standing on the other side of the Racial and Socioeconomic Continental Divide are crushed by the weight of this debt should they look crossways just one time. Maybe. 

The operative phrase is 'Those of us'. The fallacy of separation is the most egregious lie of man ever told. Worse even, I'm afraid, than the lie of God's Judgement. 

Someday we will talk about the possible responses to the complaint called: but why does it have to be so violent?!

...asks the pretty pink white lady wearing the compulsory Biden button, holding a Hillary 'Her' card, but having not a clue at all about that Saunders person. She voted for Jill Stein in the 2016 elections. She did the right thing by her heart; she has always done the right thing. 

But why? Why can't 'They' do this without violence?

Who the hell are 'they'? Lady. When I strip you of your already tenuous rights, empty your bank account, and threaten the welfare of your children. When I make good on that threat and you lose all but one, if you are lucky. When you've spent some time inside the deep, my pretty pink and white thing, I'll haul you up and we'll have tea.

You and me. 

This is literally the second to worst song ever written and belted out by Gordon Lightfoot but he is a Fucking Canadian and HE is the only one to put white words to the music with any level of accessibility. With any clarity of all. 

With even a hint of accountability. 

Listen. Listen to the ask and then tell me who you are. 

Black Day in July

Black day in July
Black day in July
And the soul of Motor City is bared across the land
As the book of law and order is taken in the hands
Of the sons of the fathers who were carried to this land

Black day in July
Black day in July
Motor City madness has touched the countryside
And the people rise in anger
And the streets begin to fill
And there's gunfire from the rooftops
And the blood begins to spill

Black day in July

In the mansion of the governor
There's nothing that is known for sure
The telephone is ringing
And the pendulum is swinging
And they wonder how it happened
And they really know the reason
And it wasn't just the temperature
And it wasn't just the season

Black day in July
Black day in July
Motor City's burning and the flames are running wild
They reflect upon the waters of the river and the lake
And everyone is listening
And everyone's awake

Black day in July
Black day in July
The printing press is turning
And the news is quickly flashed
And you read your morning paper
And you sip your cup of tea
And you wonder just in passing
Is it him or is it me

Black day in July

In the office of the President
The deed is done the troops are sent
There's really not much choice you see
It looks to us like anarchy
And then the tanks go rolling in
To patch things up as best they can
There is no time to hesitate
The speech is made the dues can wait

Black day in July
Black day in July
The streets of Motor City now are quiet and serene
But the shapes of gutted buildings
Strike terror to the heart
And you say how did it happen
And you say how did it start
Why can't we all be brothers
Why can't we live in peace
But the hands of the have-nots
Keep falling out of reach

Black day in July
Black day in July
Motor city madness has touched the countryside
And through the smoke and cinders
You can hear it far and wide
The doors are quickly bolted
And the children locked inside