MELISSA BLOCK, host:
This is All Things Considered from NPR News. I'm Melissa Block. Tomorrow, we'll hear Elizabeth Alexander deliver the official inaugural poem. Here on our show, we've commissioned some inaugural poems of our own. From lyrics to limericks, raps to rhymes, our poets express what the inauguration means to them, in verse. We've heard from Calvin Trillin and Nikki Giovanni. Today, the playwright and poet Suzan-Lori Parks.
Ms. SUZAN-LORI PARKS (Poet, Novelist, Playwright): (Reading) You being you Mr. President-elect Makes me wanna get my stuff correct I feel like starting with something radical Like, love my neighbor Like share what I've got Like think for myself Like ask the hard questions Like lean toward the good and help keep the peace
You being you Makes me wanna do something new Like go green, or at least try to.
You being you, Mr. President-elect Makes me wanna look on others with respect Makes me wanna practice radical inclusion, you know, Open my heart wide, especially in the presence of folks who Are not like me, you know, work to see my brother in the other You make me want to entertain all my far-out ideas Make me wanna represent the race, as in the human race, And know that, like you, I, too, am prized.
And to those who say you are a magic Negro, I love them just the same And my love helps us weave a United States.
Mr. President, heaven sent Since heaven is just a place where possibility becomes possible And where hostility holsters its hostile, I feel like picking up the trash in the park or on the beach I think I'll teach, and learn, from all I meet I think I'll apologize in person for all our faults And try to make amends for our shortcomings And also, I think, I'll brag, Just a little bit, About how cool we the people are.
Oh, I just had to sing you something Because you, Mr. President, You are embarking with us on an awesome and beautiful And potentially perilous journey And so I am giving you All the Love All the Love All the Love All the Love Mr. President that I've got Because I believe in the dream And I am ready to wake up and live it.
BLOCK: Suzan-Lori Parks, a poet, novelist and playwright reading her inaugural poem. To read our other commissioned inaugural poems, go to npr.org.
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