Christmas is a special day in Milwaukee. At least that’s what Kavon Jones believes.
The poet, activist, and Milwaukee native (also known as “Kj Prodigy”) says he’s always wanted to write a piece that captured the sights, sounds, and characters of downtown on Christmas Day, saying a holiday poem was “years in the making.” Tuesday, Jones spent an hour recording a poem he wrote and committed to memory the previous week with Ugly Brothers’ Alex Heaton, who added upright bass and piano accompaniment. Now—just in time for Christmas Eve—Kj Prodigy is finally ready to say “Merry Christmas, Milwaukee” in a poem by the same name.
“Christmas. It wraps its white ribbon arms around Milwaukee so tight, it’s inescapable. Why would we want to escape?” Jones says in the early lines of the roughly five-and-a-half-minute recording. He references the “painted fluorescent landscape” of Wisconsin Avenue and semi trucks making the bustling city streets “hum holiday hymns.”
While uplifting at its root, the activist dreams the city—which he personifies as a strong, heroic woman with an afro and a Clay Matthews jersey—can dispel segregation, save sex trafficking victims, and fight to combat homelessness.
“The spirit of Milwaukee will be singing for you,” Jones says over improvised jazz chords. “Remember to spread the love this new year. Merry Christmas, Milwaukee.”
Milwaukee had lots of things to feel good about in 2015. Let’s all build off that and make 2016 even better. Happy holidays.