Hello Wichita

Ani DiFranco wrote this song in 1999 for Dr. Barnett Slepian of Buffalo, New York, and for Robert Sanderson and the women of the New Woman All Women Health Care Center in Birmingham, Alabama. I can’t get through the song without crying. Even on a normal day.

hold me down
i am floating away
into the overcast skies
over my hometown
on election day

what is it about birmingham?
what is it about buffalo?
that the hate-filled wanna build bunkers
in your beautiful red earth
they wanna build them
in our shiny white snow

now i’ve drawn closed the curtain
in this little booth where the truth has no place
to stand and i am feeling oh so powerless
in this stupid booth with this useless
little lever in my hand
and outside, my city is bracing
for the next killing thing
standing by the bridge and praying
for the next doctor
martin
luther
king

it was just one shot
through the kitchen window
it was just one or two miles from here
if you fly like a crow
a bullet came to visit a doctor
in his one safe place
a bullet insuring the right to life
whizzed past his kid and his wife
and knocked his glasses
right off of his face

and the blood poured off the pulpit
the blood poured down the picket line
yeah, the hatred was immediate
and the vengeance was divine
so they went and stuffed god
down the barrel of a gun
and after him
they stuffed his only son

hello birmingham
it’s buffalo
i heard you had some trouble
down there again
and i’m just calling to let to know
that somebody understands

i was once escorted
through the doors of a clinic
by a man in a bullet proof vest
and no bombs went off that day
so i am still here to say
birmingham
i’m wishing you all of my best
oh birmingham
i’m wishing you all of my best
birmingham
i’m wishing you all of my best
on this election day

— Ani DiFranco, Hello Birmingham (1999), To The Teeth

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4 replies to Hello Wichita Use a feed to Follow replies to this article · TrackBack URI

  1. Neverfox

    I love that song too. The words in print are a poor substitute for the impact of the song performed.

    Ani is an amazing artist and a true inspiration. I’ve had her in my ear for more hours than I can count and seeing her live is a truly awesome experience.

  2. Discussed at insteadofablog.wordpress.com

    For the Next Doctor « Instead of a Blog:

    […] 31, 2009 Hat tip to Rad Geek for remembering this tragically appropriate accompaniment. It’s not Ani, but Lana De Angelis is more than capable. Take it home, […]

  3. Nick "Natasha" Manley

    Charles,

    It’s good that you’re not afraid to speak of crying. It’d be nice for more men to break away from the dominant cultural paradigm about emotions and guys. I will look up this crying inducing song on YouTube now.

  4. dennis

    Omaha area doctor to temporarily run clinic. http://www.omaha.com/index.php?u_page=2798&u_sid=10644305

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