A photo of George Floyd riots.‘Riots Everywhere’ by Jeff Kemper, After Hank Snow’s ‘I’ve Been Everywhere’ The Society July 11, 2021 Culture, Music, Poetry 28 Comments . The below poem is a memoir of the summer of 2020, to be sung to the tune of “I’ve Been Everywhere,” with apologies to Geoff Mack and Hank Snow. . I was standing by a shop along a dark and crowded street When along approached a cop and then the rest of his blue fleet. He warned of an attack and said, “I’ll take you out of here,” So I climbed into the back and then I settled down in fear. He asked me if I’d seen a sham of protests quite this grand, And I said, “Sir, I’m Uncle Sam, and it’s all over this great land.” There’s riots everywhere, man, Riots everywhere, man. See the fires flare, man; I’ve breathed the smoky air, man; Justice in despair, man, There’s riots everywhere! They’re in Houston and in Denver, Des Moines and in Kenosha, In Dallas and Fort Worth, and the District of Columbia, In Portland and in Boston, Bakersfield and Sacramento, Atlanta, Kansas City, and Columbus and Chicago, In Brooklyn and Manhattan, Louisville, Detroit, LA, In Memphis , Minneapolis-Saint Paul, and San Jose. There’s riots everywhere, man, Riots everywhere, man. See the fires flare, man; I’ve breathed the smoky air, man; Justice in despair, man, There’s riots everywhere! When police were at a crime scene and shot a perpetrator The press addressed the nation when the melanin was greater To fuel systemic-racist myths and cop brutality, Is it any wonder peaceful protests nurtured anarchy? When BLM, Anonymous, Antifa mobilized, Delivery of bricks and other tricks were authorized. There’s riots everywhere, man, Riots everywhere, man. See the fires flare, man; I’ve breathed the smoky air, man; Justice in despair, man, There’s riots everywhere! Mob-justice in the streets performed by vandals and deadbeats, Approved by senators and congressmen and press elites Windows broken, buildings burned, and statues pulled aground, And traffic blocked by blockheads, rocks and bricks are thrown around, Museums, stores, courthouses, banks, and cars are vandalized The police are christened “bastards” and justice now is bastardized. There’s riots everywhere, man, Riots everywhere, man. See the fires flare, man; I’ve breathed the smoky air, man; Justice in despair, man, There’s riots everywhere! . . Jeff Kemper has been a biology teacher, biblical studies instructor, editor, and painting contractor. He lives in York County, Pennsylvania. NOTE TO READERS: If you enjoyed this poem or other content, please consider making a donation to the Society of Classical Poets. NOTE TO POETS: The Society considers this page, where your poetry resides, to be your residence as well, where you may invite family, friends, and others to visit. Feel free to treat this page as your home and remove anyone here who disrespects you. Simply send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org. Put “Remove Comment” in the subject line and list which comments you would like removed. The Society does not endorse any views expressed in individual poems or comments and reserves the right to remove any comments to maintain the decorum of this website and the integrity of the Society. Please see our Comments Policy here. CODEC News:Share this:Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)Click to print (Opens in new window)Click to share on LinkedIn (Opens in new window)Click to share on WhatsApp (Opens in new window)Click to email this to a friend (Opens in new window)Click to share on Pinterest (Opens in new window) 28 Responses David Watt July 11, 2021 Jeff, I have read about the riotous state of affairs there. The defunding of police by left wing jurisdictions is a green light to criminals/anarchists. Reply Jeff Kemper July 11, 2021 Of course. Apparently just what the leftists here want. Demolish before they can “build back better [i.e., build a Marxist state].” Reply Julian D. Woodruff July 11, 2021 Thaks, Jeff Good to keep attention focused on this debacle and all those responsible, especially in the disturbing aftermath of January 6th. I’m not familiar with the lyric of your source, but some of your lines e.g., “And traffic blocked by blockheads …”) remind me a bit of Roger Miller. Reply Jeff Kemper July 11, 2021 Julian, my brother, 12 years my senior, was a Hank Snow fan, so I knew this song as a kid. Johnny Cash covered it in the early 70s, I believe. My “conspiracy theory” (conservatives think in conspiracy theories, of course) is that the leftists had sought to prod conservatives into rioting throughout the Trump administration and finally got their chance on January 6 to cook it up into a sweet-smelling “insurrection,” as though leftists never do this sort of thing. Reply Gail July 11, 2021 Catchy! Now, if only they would all go away! Reply Jeff Kemper July 11, 2021 Thank, Gail. Don’t hold your breath! Reply Joe Tessitore July 11, 2021 A great idea, beautifully executed! Along with the video, back-to-back home runs! Reply Jeff Kemper July 11, 2021 Thanks, Joe. It’s a shame we have so many opportunities to write these things. Reply Paul Freeman July 11, 2021 That was a riot – so to speak. Reply Paul Freeman July 11, 2021 ‘riot’, meaning a random or disorderly profusion of words that was entertaining – as was the original song and Jeff’s take, especially where the singer reels off all the place names. Reply Jeff July 11, 2021 Just curious, Paul: Are you questioning whether riots occurred in the cities I listed? Paul Freeman July 11, 2021 No, not at all. I saw a lot of it unfolding live on TV Jeff Kemper July 11, 2021 I’ll take that as a compliment. Thanks, Paul. Reply Susan Jarvis Bryant July 11, 2021 This poem is no riot. It’s a poetic and peaceful demonstration of how to highlight the lawless atrocities that darkened our cities in 2020 and continue to do so to this day. What a marvelous job you have done, Jeff! Thank you for this toe-tapping marvel that gets its huge and relevant message across skillfully and admirably, the plus side being, no one was injured, maimed or murdered in the process. Very well done, indeed. Reply Daniel Kemper July 11, 2021 I think the poem was hilarious, though I’m only familiar with the Johnny Cash version of the song. My feeling of hilarity though is as an ex infantry man who has a dark sense of humor. “As Stalin says, dark humor is like food. Not everybody gets it.” (From the T-shirt.) Reply Jeff Kemper July 11, 2021 Thanks, Daniel. 2020 flared brightly in the darkest of ways, of course. I never heard the Stalin quote – it is indeed dark humor. Stalin, were he alive today, would have many disciples in our nation today, as Che Guevara had a few years back. It scares me. By the way, I have a nephew who owns your name, who also served in the U.S. Army. Jeff Kemper July 11, 2021 Thanks, Susan. You’re right: There were no deaths perpetrated by this song, just as there were no deaths perpetrated by the so-called “insurrectionists” on January 6, although I heard several Democrats saying that that awful thing was far worse than the entire summer of destruction of property and lives in 2020. Are there any brains in those cranial cavities? Reply Daniel Kemper July 11, 2021 Quick note: I’d consider calling it “Riots Everywhere, Man.” FWIW. 🙂 Reply Jeff July 11, 2021 Daniel, that would be sexist! Reply Jeff Eardley July 11, 2021 Jeff, this is brilliant. I hope you can get a country band to record it and spread it all over your great nation, and the world, to remind people of the unacceptable anarchy going on. We had an English version by Australian Rolf Harris, one of the most famous entertainers to fall from grace and into obscurity. I think the original recording was by Lucky Starr, no relation to Ringo! Great stuff, thank you. Reply Jeff Kemper July 11, 2021 Thanks much, Jeff. I wouldn’t know where to start, but I’ll look into it! Reply Mike Bryant July 11, 2021 This is a really great adaptation of the song. I agree that adding “, Man” to the title would be smart. I also think it’s rather sad that the news media has skewed the meanings of so many words in order to serve the new authoritarians. I know that words usually have more than one meaning, however let’s not lessen the tragedy of the attempted authoritarian takeover. I believe our only hope lies in the power of the states. An interesting video: https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=CtEStbp4shU Reply Jeff Kemper July 11, 2021 Thanks, Mike. The authoritarians of whom you speak are the purveyors of hate, who cloak their hatred with hate accusations, new definitions of familiar words, new words, and new education patterns to teach their evil-is-good manifestos. But I’m talking to the choir. Thanks for that video clip. It’s what leadership is: recognizing the incredible gulf between good and evil. Reply Sally Cook July 11, 2021 Excellent ! Words have meaning; let’s hope people are starting to wake up. Reply Jeff Kemper July 11, 2021 Thanks, Sally. My sentiment exactly! Reply David Paul Behrens July 11, 2021 I have liked this song ever since I first heard it many years ago. It’s a brilliant concept for the basis of a poem and very enjoyable. Well done! Reply Jeff Kemper July 11, 2021 Thank you very much, David. Reply Daniel Kemper July 13, 2021 Btw. 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