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Taken with Red Rainbow Brownie Box Camera

Since Thursday I have become addicted to "Pieces of a Man" by Gil Scott-Heron. It is a quietly beautiful and tender emotional narrative. I just love when he changes his voice and intonation to speak the words of the mailman. The line "Felt the burden of his hand" is such a perfectly succinct description of being struck, it has been on repeat in my mind.

I couldn't find lyrics posted online so I wrote them out here. (As an aside I'm not a fan of weblogs that promote rampant consumerism, however this song is only one of many great songs on the album of the same name.)

Jagged jigsaw pieces
Tossed about the room.
I saw my grandma sweeping
With her old straw broom.
She didnít know what she was doing
She could hardly understand
That she was really sweeping up
Pieces of a man.

I saw my Daddy meet the Mailman
And I heard the Mailman say
"Now don't you take this letter too hard now, Jimmy, coz they've laid off nine others today."
But he didn't know what he was saying
He could hardly understand
That he was only talking to Pieces of a Man

I saw the thunder and heard the lightening
And felt the burden of his hand
And for some unknown reason
He never turned my way

Pieces of that letter
Were tossed around the room
And now I hear the sound of sirens
Come knifing through the gloom
But they don't know what they are doing
They could hardly understand
That they're only arresting
Pieces of a Man.

I saw him go to pieces
I saw him go to pieces
He was always such a good man
He was always such a strong, strong man
Ya I saw him go to pieces
I saw him go to pieces

- Gil Scott-Heron (from "Pieces of a Man" 1971)



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