[Editor’s Note: What follows is a poem I originally posted last year in anticipation of July 4th. I’ve changed a few lines and made some administrative updates here and there, so look out for those. As a bonus, I’ve also included the new Very Best collaboration with K’naan at the bottom. Have a very happy and safe 4th everyone!]
‘Tis the Tuesday before the 4th of July
and all through my street flags are set out to fly.
I’ve done all the prepping that patriots do,
my friend Ryan’s fiesta well within view …
The pig has been ordered, the smoker tracked down,
on loan from the frat guys who live across town.
That porker’s on ice at the butcher, but soon
will be part of a feast that lasts all afternoon.
A case waits with beers in their labels of grey
yearning to turn blue and jump in the fray,
and my team U.S.A. jersey’s hanging with care,
preparing to bare pasty arms and chest hair.
But something’s amiss … what can it be?
I know that I made sure to R.S.V.P.
Got my camouflage hat and tri-color balloons …
OH SNAP! It’s the music! We need us some tunes!
I need to crank up the Ameri-swag quick,
but where should I turn? Toby Keith is a dick,
and Miley is partying, but who can tell why?
(OK, I’m obsessed with that song, I can’t lie.)
There has to be music that rings pure and true
when I think of the spirit of red, white and blue.
So I scour my iTunes collection, bar none,
leaving no stone unturned, no tune unspun.
And then in the very last place I would look —
the perfectest verse with perfectest hook!
But this just can’t be — a song for the 4th
that’s sung by K’naan, our friend from the north?!?
That’s right — he’s Canadian! Somalian too,
his formative days spent in Mogadishu.
But being a foreigner shouldn’t detract
from the fact that his song “Wavin’ Flag” is jam packed
with the message we’re coming together to send:
That freedom and justice will win in the end.
So raise up your bottles and barbecue tongs
to this most unlikely but fitting of songs
and the two-hundred-thirty-seventh time we can say
“Suck it!” to England! It’s Independence Day!