a Realization in the Mirror
Ok. Let me puff out my chest a bit.
Been writing ridiculous, since I was an infant.
Some say brilliance. I say resilience.
And I bring it all together, in the present
with presence, and you’ll miss me in my absence.
So, Sense One is on the case, and Man the Storm
is playing bass, and Sick Ass Beats is in the back
setting fire to the whole place.
And this paperchase went back to Ricki Lake.
Kept going till the skies break and the earth quakes.
Till the land shakes, and the bough breaks.
Till the moon rises, and the flowers grow,
the sick style grows, roses in dustbowls.
Indigo flows, don’t need a typewriter ribbon.
Been grateful since Thanksgiving,
been writing poems on dinner napkins,
trying to get people to stay in same houses.
Since Jimmy the Mouth and Supa Fly Jimmy Snuka,
I been moving and gathering, finding the rhythm
in this rhythm thing.
Till the old lady sang, and the fat lady stood,
I kept on writing this good,
Been in the books since I was catching looks.
Now Oddball is on the frontlines,
and Sense one is behind the bleachers
smoking with the cheerleaders, and the drug dealers.
But whatever, I am on the JJa 6000, that’s Oddball
backwards, saw it in the mirror
When I was wearing a rimmed cap, baseball hat,
Been down on my luck, took a look at the shamrock, and it stuck.
Been a Celtic fan since I was a Bobcat,
when Reggie collapsed, I go way back.
My heart is hurting, and my chest is heaving
’cause George Floyd is no longer breathing,
and I am hearing protests in my dreams
’cause I know white privilege, yeah, I know what it means,
and I got checked, and it was nice
to bear witness, to listen to the sky, and the wilderness,
to hear the same song twice,
and turn the channel to a different sound.
That’s a privilege I understand,
and I don’t even have to explain it now.
That some people can turn the news off, or the radio down.
And some people can write songs
and protest North and South.
And some people can burn it all down,
and I can write about it from a safe distance.
You want to talk about white privilege,
if anything it is this,
and I bear notice, and witness this,
that I know I can do something legit
from the words I spit
’cause I come real with it.
Maybe I keep in focus,
breathe from the chest a bit.
Been through a lot of shit.
But me, I keep in focus.
I keep in focus.
Sense one, Sick Ass Beats,
Man The Storm, JJA 6000,
it’s all good.
It’s all love.
It’s all I have.
(Will I ever get off this Train) Emmanuel Kant
The mind is a machine,
a steam drained brain
on a slow-moving train.
And there is riots in the streets,
and I practice peace again.
Am I sad to know that this is all I am?
The Son of Sam and Wutang Clan?
Or am I just finding cracks in the pavement,
when I feel like Stan.
It’s funny being an ill poet
and a shitty lyricist.
It’s like saying, hey you could rap
if you just focus a bit.
Fuck it, never been down with it.
But If I was to put down 16 bars,
a hook, 16 bars to the boom bap
then what does that make me, rap?
Does that make my poetry, that flows,
since I ever knew who the fuck I be?
Who I realize that the rain and the storm,
And Man The Storm makes 3?
Fuck It. Call me experimental,
not like Aesop Rock,
but I got potential.
If I could rap ill presidential,
I’d still have this ill mental,
and the medical bill
to pop a pill and be in bed by seven.
Fuck it. I am not very good
at puffing up my chest a bit.
I am not really very good at it.
Probably the anti-depressants,
mixed with venom. Made me a menace,
tripping on the medicine.
But I listen to stoner rap,
Madlib, and Kool Keith,
Just found out Keats, and Keith,
and the B.I.B.L.E
make for good poetry.
So I kick it to the lo-fi beats.
I say good bye,
but the beats got me.
I keep on going,
and the fader dims the theater.
And away we go, a winner,
weed fiender, a medicinal madman,
trying to grab ahold
he could never understand.
And still can’t.
Jason Wright is the editor and founder of Oddball Magazine. His column appears weekly. His new book is Train of Thought.