Sunday, September 6, 2015

Waking Up

This came from a lot of places. The passing of loved ones mainly. And I mean every word of it.

Waking Up

I woke up this morning feeling mortal again,
Knowing that someday my heartbeat will stop,
That my days here will end.
With that quick and lightning flash,
It's not always just that life is too short,
though to many it really is,
It's that life is fast.
As all of this floods my thoughts.
Grabs my heart.
Wets my eyes. 
I woke up this morning feeling mortal again.
Reminders came to make sure I felt it.
That weight of those that came into my life and left marks.
And those that left before me.
All at once I remember the ones that aren't here anymore.
At the same time I wonder about my own departure.
Echoes of "the good die young,"
Coupled with others tagging me as a "good guy."
Am I on borrowed time?
If so, when do I pay that loan back?
But, I always think of who I've met.
Everyone not here.
Definitely everyone still here.
I think of it like I don't have friends,
Instead, I have family.
Believe that if I've called you friend that name is meant for a lifetime. (And more.)
It's up to us to keep it.
To make it.
To keep it strong.
To get it to grow.
Or if paths differ,
I woke up this morning feeling mortal again.
Though not in a way that makes me afraid to die.
Instead, in a way that makes me feel this:
When I reach my end, whenever that is, I can look back and firmly and sincerely and lovingly say that I was never afraid to live and to love.

Dedicated toYOU my friends, my family.

Tuesday, July 28, 2015

For My Friend, Than

This, plus and minus a comma or three, is exactly how it came out of my heart. This is for my friend Than who passed away five years ago this summer. To borrow a line from Atmosphere, he's one of the best people I've ever loved.

For you Than,

It's hard for me to wrap my brain around time. It's a concept that has always escaped me. So when I'm looking at the year, 2015, it's even harder for me to fathom that it's been 5 years. It's been 5 years since a good friend has gone. With every memory in my heart and mind, I sit here today still missing you Than. I remember so much more than I can ever form words to describe. Than, you were my first friend at CSC. And also my first roommate. We made quick time in making that room a campus legend. The Batcave. There is no doubt that room was ours. (I still see it that way.) 

But, amidst all the stuff that made college, college, I believe with all of who and what I am that the these memories made with you are so lasting because of everything you were and continue to be. I remember you sharing your spirituality with me on so, so many levels. Be it lighting your smokeless menorah during the eight days of Hanukkah, or talking about how simple, yet overlooked, the concept of "one love" really is. You didn't know it, but you were teaching me. Hell, I didn't know it then either. But, you did. And you still do. I know it now. I feel it now.

Another lesson you left with me is that "this too shall pass" really works. That's not to say that you, or I, didn't freak out when something big was due for class, or when the dumbasses somewhere in the catacombs of Ellis Hall set off yet another fire alarm, but the core of that stayed. That it'll be over. It will pass. That, in your words, "everything will be alright." And even as I sit here, crying for the simple and complex fact that I miss you, you were right. 

But, you were also wrong too. Because even though you're not here on this Earth in body, your spirit never left me. Even in the long stretches of no contact, those impacts you made on me have always been there. Always will. It's why it was always easy to talk to you Than. And just as easy to keep missing you. Your laugh, smile, and outlook. I fucking miss you Than, but that will never change what you ARE to me. 

Stay at peace because I know you're at peace. I'll see you when I get there Than. 

I love you always,

Wednesday, May 13, 2015

Race Day (Hopeless Romantic or Romantic Hopeless)

An all too familiar theme is at work here. Some direct quotes used (with some poetic license of course). The influence hip hop has on me is very visible in this poem as well. Beyond that, I think this poem speaks for itself.

Race Day (Hopeless Romantic or Romantic Hopeless)

(It's safer on the inside.)
Heart lives on the outside.
My heartbeat is my compass, making it too easy to lose track,
But Heart brings me back.
Heart filters my view of the world,
But, lately Heart's got me writing poems about girls.
Heart's got his own logic,
His own way. Brain can't use it, he'd look sick.
Maybe that's why Mouth always sounds like he's got nothing to say.
Leaving nothing to black and white, only variants of gray.
Thought I drank the sweetest of juices.
Should've known it was all fittings for all of the tightest nooses.
With every sip I should've had at least a sliver of a hunch
That what I had been drinking was spiked punch.
She has a boyfriend who's name isn't mine.
No action attached to when she said I'm "one of a kind."
I suppose her means justify her ends
When the only way we'll ever be described is "just friends."
Which is all good.
Which is all fine.
Which is all fair.
But, man, she didn't stop there.
"You're the nicest guy," she said. "You'll definitely be a hit!"
But, I'm still on some 'nice guys finish last' shit.
I'd like to say I'm so far behind I think I'm in first place.
Though the truth is, I'm probably not even in the race.
Missed the gun. I'm still in the blocks.
Shyness or insecurity or whatever holding me down like a sack of rocks.
Like "swimmin' with the fishes."
Drowning in the depths of wishes.

(Drowning in wishes, I stay a hopeless romantic, or romantic hopeless, in the deepness of wishes.)

Sunday, April 19, 2015

Thought Too Much/Draught Too Much

Admittedly, I'm a pretty low-tech guy. My usual way to write is with an "old school" composition book. What can I say, I just love the feel of a pen in my hand and the paper I write on. That said, I have an iPhone. It's a fun little gadget. One of my favorite features is the notebook. It comes in handy for all sorts of things. Most notably, shopping lists. But, the fun part is that with the mic option on the keyboard, I'm able to speak into my phone. With that, I've "freestyled" a handful of poetic rambles. This is especially useful when I've been drinking. What comes below is one of those musings. Minus a few switchings of words so it would make sense, and with the addition of a title, this is one I found while I was cleaning out my phone's notebook.

Thought Too Much/Draught Too Much

I know I might drink too much
Been said I do
Think too much
Been said I do
Drink so I don't have to think too much
But I still think a lot
Even when I drink a lot,
So I keep on with the drink a lot
Because why the fuck not?
I function
I fit
I do what I'm supposed to
I do my shit
So I keep drinking
To slow my thinking
But every drink, I fucking swear,
Makes me do more of the think
And so that cycle rolls on
And on
And on
Thinking to drinking to more thinking
I see no stopping either 
I see no legitimate reason
I'm feeling what I'm supposed to be feeling 
Dealing how I'm supposed to be dealing
So I come around again 
Nothing to lose
Nothing to win
I'm going to keep thinking too much
Side by side with drinking too much

Wednesday, January 21, 2015


This one was kind of a slug-fest during the writing process. It worked me over. I'm not entirely sure why. I hope it's clear as to why I named it "Wordfare" though. It's because of all of that I'm going to let this breathe on its own, with this being my only introduction...


Isn't it funny that what is said,
And what is meant,
Could not be further apart from each other?
That sometimes intent changes all meaning?
Even if that's unbeknownst to who it's said to.
Or who said it.
It's almost like we all speak in some code,
A code in which words change meaning depending on who says them,
Or who hears them,
Or some live and hyperactive combination of the two.
Long and short.
Either easy or difficult to pronounce.
We all depend on them,
We all have been known to hang on them,
Leaving us prone to hang by them.
That knot can be tight.
Too tight and tighter for differing definitions.
Proof -
Loyalty that can be seen in bullet holes from taking shots for others,
But showing that doesn't mean it's money in the bank,
A savings protecting us from blade shaped scars between the shoulders.
There's word misuse and abuse too...
"Love" is a common victim to this.
People carelessly using that word as if it's synonymous with "enjoy" or "like."
(Though I know those that use it carefully and truthfully)
Or telling someone in a way that can only be heard as true and honest,
But, heartbreakingly, isn't.
Love from the wrong mouth to the right heart.
Or is it right mouth, wrong heart?
Either way, damaging.
Falling in love.
Said that way because even with perfect air currents under the wings,
It hurts like hell to land wrong.
Singular meaning/Multiple meanings
To "who really knows the meaning?'
Leaving everyone of us in one of two states:
In the know.
Or in confusion.
All determined by intent,
the tone,
the choices of the users.
Why else would "soon" mean "wait longer still?"
"Sometime" mean "probably never?"
"Someone" mean "no one?"
That when a person speaks of "other fish,"
The "great big sea" still looks so empty?
We've all heard these words before.
We've all said these words before.
We all know these words by heart.
So, you really don't have to take my word for it, do you?

Wednesday, January 14, 2015

Hip Hop Is Free

Hip Hop Is Free

For as long as I can remember, I've loved Hip Hop. All manifestations of the culture. From the graffiti on walls, trains, trailers, to you name it. To the flattened out cardboard boxes that made the makeshift dance floors of break dancers. To the beats and rhymes of DJ's and emcees that took over my eardrums. I love Hip Hop. My favorite aspect of this is, while I grew up, all of what I described was around me. I was surrounded by it all. On my way to school, or the store, or the park, I'd see the vibrant colors left by spray paint cans. I'd hear the beats the dancers were getting down to. That the rappers were rhyming to. All of it first hand. I never had to go far to soak any of this in. It was all a few steps away. I was inspired. I learned to dance, and when I figured out what words could do, I started to write. I was taken by the culture. Lived in it. Breathed it in. So, if Hip Hop is a "house" as some folks put it, it's one I grew up in.

Which brings me here and now, and to my point... I've been watching a ton of videos lately. As much of a rabbit hole YouTube can be, if I focus, there are some treasures there. I'm not completely sold on the idea that VladTV is a treasure yet, but I find it provides enough thought-provoking interviews to start and continue conversations on many Hip Hop related issues. So there's that. With this said, like many people, I've seen the number of interviews with Lord Jamar of Brand Nubian. There's no way I'll argue that Hip Hop had its start anywhere but in the South Bronx. That it wasn't created by black people. That would be stupid. The Teacher KRS-One taught me that. Like Kurtis Blow says, "those are the breaks." Or more accurately, the facts. That's Hip Hop History. No argument from me against all of that. But, that doesn't mean I don't have some thoughts on some other things Lord Jamar has said that started with his comment that, "white people are guests in the house of Hip Hop."

If that comment stayed right there, I would have moved on and probably wouldn't have much to say. But, Lord Jamar goes further into it. It's my understanding that the conversation started around Macklemore's song, "Same Love" and branched out from there. In my YouTubing, I viewed many videos to make sure I have what was said straight. From the smallest of comments about Eminem rapping about pills not being relevant to black people, to the larger issue that racists claiming they love Hip Hop being beyond an oxymoron. With the Em/pills comments, Lord Jamar may want to listen to some Pharoahe Monch lyrics referencing "percs" to name just one source of disagreement. Also, the idea of addiction is universal. Substitute pills for any number of things, and it's relateable. As far as racists claiming they're down with Hip Hop though, not a chance. There is no way for both there. Not a chance of it. I wholeheartedly agree with Lord Jamar on that part. No racist can legitimately love Hip Hop. Back to the initial issue... Macklemore's "Same Love." Though the content of the song is part of Lord Jamar's beef, I won't start any debate on that specifically. There's a catch in it all though, artistic statement. A person doesn't have to agree with an artistic statement at all. That's the right of anyone that views it, or hears it. But when Lord Jamar says Macklemore, "overstepped his bounds, as a white rapper, by trying to promote homosexuality" I take issue. He further states, "don't come in the house and start redecorating without talking to the motherfuckers that own the house." Further yet, "We are the makers and owners of this. As far as the intellectual property of it." Again, I'll never, even jokingly, take up a fight on who created Hip Hop, but this isn't about that. This is about an artist's rights to say whatever he/she wants to. This is about artistic expression. The owner of that expression? The person that paints the painting, makes the film, or in this case, writes the song.

An artist should always respect the architects. The history of the art. I firmly believe that. But, should an artist stay in a lane just because that's the way it's always been done? Shy away from taking on issues that haven't been talked about before? No and no. So when Lord Jamar talks about bounds being "overstepped," or "talking to the motherfuckers that own the house," or the "...owners of this," he's talking about censorship. Since when has any artist in Hip Hop ever asked for permission to do what they do? To rap about what they rap about? Any and all subjects are fair game. Even if some people don't want to hear it. Hip Hop is not run by a committee of elders like the Jedi Council. KRS-One & BDP or Public Enemy never asked for permission to bring world politics into the mix. N.W.A. never asked to do anything they did. Point being, Hip Hop is, as Mos Def (Yasiin Bey) says, a folk music. With that, folks will write and rap about what they see in the world. The things that matter to them and those that they know. The lives they know. It's as simple and as complicated as that. No matter what though, Hip Hop never had a cap on its subject matter. And it never should. It doesn't matter if it makes anyone uneasy. Art isn't always easy. Hip Hop is artistic expression and is no exception to that. Let's not forget that Hip Hop itself, as a whole, was once considered taboo by many people.

With love for Hip Hop,

Links to the videos cited (in no particular order):