Dancing to Political Songs

by Sridala Swami

Nobody wants to be dancing to political songs. Every bit of music out there that's making it into the mainstream is really about nothing. I wanted to see if I could write songs about something important and make it sound like nothing. And it kind of worked. —M.I.A

Someone in the morning whistles a tuneless song

He's shitting in the thistles, in time to a tuneless song.

The old woman at the traffic light, she sells me an umbrella

Her bag's got five rolled tight, they rattle a tuneless song.

The painters on our roof, they have blisters on their feet

They drink 80 proof, the bottle falls in tuneless song.

Mathangi says the village is calling the street to town

But towns only know to pledge stubborn and tuneless songs.

The flags of ruin are unfurled. Who raises their hands?

Who confesses to the world they sold it tuneless songs?

Somewhere a library burns; pages that were cages let fly

the birds of slaughter that spurn a quiet and tuneless song.

Dance where you must, Sridala! Let your feet do the talking—

Tomorrow the dust can read the braille of a tuneless song.