Tribute to Councilman John Sweet

For those of you who may have missed my poetic tribute to my mentor, the late Councilman John Sweet at his memorial service. Find my live performance, here.

John F. Sweet obituary, 1943-2020, Atlanta, GA
The Honorable John Sweet

John Sweet Like Sugar 

My name is John SWEET, like sugar 

Not like an Embassy 

Not like music movements 

In the same key of life 

Sweet sugar 

White sugar 

Cane sugar 

Brown sugar, yeah 

My name is John Sweet like sugar 

I am a poem 

Mystic marxist 

Roots musician 

strumming Bluegrass on a guitar 

dancing to the polyrhythms of life 

Singing loudly in a choir 

Belching out in key of life 

“Those who believe in freedom, cannot stop” Cause freedom 

Cannot stop 

Freedom 

Cannot stop 

My name is John Sweet like sugar

I built my home from the foundation up 

But it has no walls 

And it travels with me wherever I roam 

When I thump for the environment 

I open a window and say 

Climb in 

When I’m busting big pharma 

I open another window 

And grab the hand of a sick woman 

and pull her in 

The poor black man on the ground who got tossed after 35 years 

We carry him into a window with no bars 

knowing reparations must be exacted for this human indignity And Midge says -”this is all good” 

And Eli says- “now is this is the shit you be talking” And cassie says “now I know the true meaning of hard labor” ‘Cause We live in a house without walls, windows or doors A place we gather by four or more 

For the sake of justice, righteousness and that good ole Freedom that cannot stop 

Should not stop 

Will not stop! 

My name is John Sweet like sugar 

I’m a preacher, prophet, preparer of participants Sharer, carryer of empathy 

I wake up in the middle of the night

with a warm sweat 

contemplating how best to harness 

the power of people 

shed white privilege 

I’m entrapping unwitting bodies with lit up eyes 

Bodies, that sometimes win crap-shoot elections 

or cry when they bow bitterly in defeat 

Victory and defeat or two sides of the same coin 

The question is — what will we do when life comes knocking at our doors? Will we hoist our homes on our backs and walk the way of a new world? Open windows? 

or lock ourselves in? 

Save no one 

Say no souls are revealed through our eyes 

No words ever seek higher meanings 

Say, we are safe now 

For we have taken 

no fucking chances at all! 

My name is John Sweet like sugar 

Not like an Embassy 

or music movements 

In the same key of life 

Sweet sugar 

White sugar 

Cane sugar 

Brown sugar, yeah! 

Jabari Simama May 4, 2021

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