The Theme from Shaft

I.M. Isaac Hayes

I. Geometry

We dig the architecture of a hit:
The hi-hat takes us in, all loose and tight
with wah-wahlate guitar laid over it.
The lyric pipes are flying high and light.

Then taped-together charts for high school horns
lay out a little longer than they should.
The rhythm section tenses like it’s torn
between the dialectics. And that’s good.

But nothing comes to nothing ’til the string
ensemble disrespects the starting gun
and cuts its lines up over everything.
You kick the snare kit twice and then you run–

and shut your mouth: Ba-a-ad Mother F*** er’s comin’.
And no one understands him like his woman.

II. Social Studies

Some things are just too perfect, baby
Like the sky crane sweep
Of urban exoskeleton

Real time
To the hi-hat tap and tambourine

That’s right
Perfect
Like a section of the uptown wind
All private dick and leggy extras
Shaft! …Right on

A complicated bedroom scene
With Foxy Hi-Tone
And an emerald fist of pistols

Call it Blaxploitation
If you will
And you can call it wuchyu want
See, I’m just talking
‘bout the man.

III. History

In a stone astonished week of revelation,
on a road no longer strictly Roman Catholic,
I heard it’s tin-can-true sophistication.

Through the caves of adolescent masturbation
where my Playboy daydreams blew most graphic
and astonishing there came a revelation,

and my worldview went on permanent vacation.
In my father’s Fairlane, driving to Passaic,
I heard it’s tin-can-true sophistication

on the backseat vinyl. Cracked communication
of the baldest, blackest spoken lyric—
tonic weakness jacked to revelation—

left my Grand Funk Railroad at the station.
High school horns, once loathsome, came on mythic
in their state of tin-can-true sophistication.

And the AM kept this Isaac in rotation
long enough to tribe me to The Classic
in the stone astonished week or revelation
when I heard the tin can true sophistication.

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