“Free” by Prince
When Prince died, I dismissed my class early, came home, & wept as I listened to “Free” on repeat. I thought I’d play his sexified funk songs, the raw wound songs, the ones full of rueful longing & playfulness; all the hits that that spun constant background my whole life. But the perfect eulogy of “Free” unlocked my grief: the line “I know my heart is beating, my drummer tells me so” like a beyond-the-grave promise that, so long as his music unfolds, Prince remains alive, eternal. Now, months later & mired in this terrible election, the tender admonition of the song especially resonates: “Be glad that u r free,” Prince reminds us, but he also continues “There’s many a man who’s not” and asks “Will we all fight together 4 the right 2 be free?” Be joyful, the song says, Be grateful. But be aware; be powerful together for others.
Kate Angus is a founding editor of Augury Books and the Creative Writing Advisor for The Mayapple Center for Arts and Humanities at Sarah Lawrence College. Her work has appeared in The Atlantic, The Washington Post, Best New Poets 2010, Best New Poets 2014, and the Academy of American Poets’ “Poem-A-Day” series. So Late to the Party, her debut collection, was published by Negative Capability Press in June 2016.
Questions, compliments, (hopefully not) complaints?
Contact Jackie Clark: jackie [at] coldfrontmag [dot] com.
See all Songs of the Week here.
Follow Song of the Week on Twitter: @nohelpforthat