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The E.A.R.: Some Music Ramblings for the Month of June

 

1. I listened to T-Pain’s catalog of music. For the longest time, I never really listened to anything beyond his singles. His singles were super catchy, but I wasn’t feeling his music enough to warrant listening to entire albums. I finally decided to listen to everything.

2. T-Pain’s His R&B stuff is okay to solid at best. Some of the more welcome tracks are when he decides to sing without autotune. I’d like to hear more of that T-Pain.

3. Where he really shines though is as a rapper. I’m just learning more recently that he was a rapper before he was a singer, and it shows. There are a few tracks where T-Pain raps, and my goodness does he have some BARS!!!!!!!!! Everyone needs to listen to the T-Wayne mixtape. That is some of the hottest fire I’ve heard T-Pain spit, and the best I’ve heard from Iil Wayne in a while.

4. Is it bad that I just discovered the Hip Hop collective Little Brother? Rapper Big Pooh and Phonte are straight fire 9th Wonder’s production is something else. I need some more 9th Wonder in my life. This is the most 9th wonder I’ve gotten since listening through Rapsody’s material.

5. I’ve gotten so wrapped up in Queen Latifah’s acting career that I often forget that she was a rapper back in the day. I’ve been listening to her stuff recently. Y’ALL DIDN’T TELL ME A SISTAH HAD BARS!!!!!!!!!!! Queen Latifah in her prime could body Cardi B.

6. Speaking of female rapper that could body Cardi B, Y’all weren’t gonna tell me about Monie Love? Monie Love’s “Down To Earth” is probably one of the better hip hop albums I’ve listened to recently.

7. I watched an episode of Ellen where she interviews Cardi B. Cardi B sounds exactly like Cardi B in real life.

8. The marriage of hip hop, and house in the 90s was something magical; that and New Jack Swing needs to make a comeback.

9. I’m finally starting to dig into Ja Rule’s body of work. I’ll admit I looked passed him due to only knowing him by his radio friendly singles, and that he was that guy that got bodied by all of Shady Records for talking shit about Eminem’s daughter. His stuff is actually pretty solid, and he goes pretty hard. I liked his first album (Venni Vetti Vecci) a lot more than I thought I would.

10. Wale’s The Album About Nothing is probably his best album since Attention Deficit. It’s a nice mix of quirkiness that made me fall in love with the his debut album, and the best of the more mainstream styles he adopted when he went to Maybach Music. That, and it’s Seinfeld influenced, so you can’t go wrong.

 

Flemmings Beaubrun is an avid gamer and lover of music. When not working, Flemmings likes to spend his time whipping up dank beats for the masses. He also spends his weekends thrift shopping for rare video games and obscure electronics. Other times he’s in front of a TV with a giant bowl of cereal enjoying shows from the 90s.

 

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Three Cents with Jacques Fleury: America’s Rapper, Shea Rose

 

“Where did all the female hip hop artists go? We need to find the next generation and make sure their voices are heard.” –Queen Latifah

Although the charts are inundated with a plethora of ubiquitous pop artists like Beyonce, Rhianna and Lady Gaga, one tends to wonder…whatever happened to female hip hop acts like Queen Latifah , Da Brat and Salt and Peppa? Perhaps this is a sign of the perpetually transformative trajectory of the musical landscape or perhaps our musical posterity has yet to look back at the derivative sounds that encompass today’s music. Nevertheless, new generations of female artists are doing just that, bringing back the hip hop sounds of yesteryear and infusing it with other musical genres to create a fresh eclectic sound and one such artist is Shea Rose.

It was just only a few years ago that Shea Rose began singing. She started out as a poet and progressed to song writing. After leaving her dream job as a writer for MTV in New York City, she began to sing as well upon returning back to her native Boston where she experimented by performing with neo soul and classic rock acts, according to Noelle Janka in an article in Performer Magazine at Berklee College of Music. After listening to her current LP, “Little Warrior”, it is clear to me that her oeuvre are drenched in heartache, righteous anger, and communal frustration mitigated by a subtext of humanitarianism, hope and inspiration.

“Music is a Godsend, a life saver thrown out to me at a time in my life when the light at the end of the tunnel was flooded by unrelenting darkness,” declares Shea. She goes on to say, “Music has helped me to reconnect with the human condition, my community, humanity and the world at large.”

A retroactive assessment of an artist’s early years is often the best indication of their musical influences. Her recordings showcase an array of musical influences including Janis Joplin, Marvin Gaye, Amel Larriuex and Queen Latifah, whose hit song “U.N.I.T.Y” she recently re-recorded. Latifah—who coincidentally was determined to find female poets, emcees and musicians—initiated a nationwide search which resulted in her handpicking five fresh talented female voices among six hundred and Shea Rose was one of them. In an interview in Ebony Magazine, Shea talks about what it was like meeting the Queen, “…it was all about sisterhood and just being you. It was magical.” Yet still Shea struggles to define her sound, one of which is Rock ‘N’ Roll, a genre not accustomed to her prima facie physical portraiture as a Black female urbanite.

“I struggle to describe my voice and my songs when asked because…I’m still discovering me…I can say that I am a soulful…performer with traces of Blues, Folk, Jazz and Rock influences…Or as I often say, ‘The Female Lenny Kravitz meets Lauryn Hill.” And from listening to her “Little Warrior” LP, I can eagerly concur with her utterance. Songs from “Warrior” to “Go So Hard” and “Jungle Fever” capture an intransigent call for awareness surrounding issues of transcending life hardships and antiquated racist ideologies. And in a world where assertive and confident women are easily called the “b” word, songs like “I’m the Sh*t” is an affirmation of female self esteem and empowerment. The lyrics and tone of the LP can at times be perceived as austere and astringent to the senses but it is balanced with a fair amount of facetious levity.

As Shea Rose prepares to embark on the echelons of the music industry, she has a clear message for her musical peers. In her interview in Ebony Magazine, when asked about what’s missing from music today, she said plainly, “Content. We need more stuff, not fluff…something…kids can take home and really think about.” And I couldn’t agree more.

 

Jacques Fleury is the author of Sparks in the Dark: A Lighter Shade of Blue, A Poetic Memoir and It’s Always Sunrise Somewhere and Other Stories.

 

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The E.A.R.: A Review of Eminem’s Revival

 

tl;dr: (Score 6/10) This album is an interesting mixed bag with an identity crisis where you have multiple variants of Eminem where each one never gets the time they deserve. The era of Eminem you grew up in will determine which tracks you enjoy the most. It’s a cluttered mess at times that once again proves that Eminem’s only competition is himself.

Eminem is a rapper you really don’t see in the spotlight much until he decides to put out new musicIt is then that he awakes from a slumber that can range from 2-4 years to prove to the rest of hip hop he’s still got it; but does he really still have it? Does he still have the caliber to match a body of work that lives on in hip hop lore?

At the age of 45, Eminem is an example of a rapper so far past his prime. Many rappers have come and gone, but Eminem continues to bless us with an album every few years in a genre that has become crowded with some hot up and comers, a couple of OGs, and some really crappy rappers who bastardize a genre whose purpose was to be a poetic expression of the black experience. Eminem’s love for the genre is evident by his urge to continue to write music at a time he could’ve bowed out.

Eminem has been rapping since his early 20s. He dropped his first album Infinite in 95 and, his second album (major label debut) The Slim Shady LP in 99. Between then, he spent much of his time in climbing to the top in the Rap Battle Circuit where he was discovered by an Interscope intern. A tape eventually made its way to Dr. Dre who took Eminem under his wing, and the rest is history. Eminem would hit the ground running with his Slim Shady LP followed by the critically acclaimed Diamond Certified Marshall Mathers LP.

This would be followed by the now Diamond Certified The Eminem Show. Eminem, much like Drake in his prime, would be the number one featured artist on several songs. Music would sell solely on the fact the Eminem was featured on a track. Emimem even stared in his own movie 8 Mile, which was loosely based off of his life. Two years later, Eminem would drop Encore to mixed reviews. After a slew of tours and a few new projects, Eminem would disappear from the game for a bit. He would come back with Relapse, where we find out he was battling a drug addiction

Relpase would release to mixed reviews. Despite the album being produced entirely by Dr. Dre, you could tell Eminem was a bit rusty, as he would have to re teach himself to rap without being under the influence of drugs. Eminem would stun the world a year later with the critically acclaimed Recovery, where he would have to prove to the world that he could still keep up with his biggest competitor of all, himself. He would eventually drop The Marshall Mathers LP 2 in an attempt to top a classic we can all agree will never be topped for reasons I could devote an entire post to. In 2016, Eminem dropped an anti-Trump freestyle and let the whole world know he was working on a new album.

Months would go by without a word from the artist who tends to keep his projects pretty close to the chest. Like with many album releases, you would start to hear the various rumors like who would be featured on what track. In November we were graced with the first single from his new project, “Walk on Water,” which like many songs on this project would be released to mixed reviews.

He would then drop “Untouchable,” which would alienate a good amount of his white fan base who wasn’t very fond of someone who looked like them calling them out on the systematic racism they benefited from. The album, like the two singles, would eventually drop to mixed reviews. Some loved it, and others absolutely hated it. So where does this album rank amongst a body of classics? Let’s find out.

The album opens up with the Beyonce-fueled ballad “Walk on Water;” the track then leads in to “Believe” which is followed by “Chloraseptic” featuring PHRESHER. These two tracks are interesting because they both involve Eminem experimenting with the “triplet flow” popularized by The Migos and a few mumble rappers. These tracks are a mix of Eminem being hip while showing that he has the chops to tackle any style of beat or flow with his famed Eminem precision. They’re a solid effort that also serves as a commentary/jab at the current state of hip hop. P

HRESHER does a good job with delivering a chorus that complements this style of music. Eminem then follows these tracks up with “Untouchable,” which tackles the subject of systematic racism both from the perspective of a cop and a person of color. He eventually follows up with “River,” where Ed Sheeran offers his vocals in another ballad that focuses on love, infidelity, and heartbreak. “Remind Me” delivers the Rap/Rock production known in some classic Eminem tracks like “Sing For The Moment”, “White America”, and “Won’t Back Down.” The flow was pretty solid on a track that brought us his vintage woman-bashing with a slew of punchlines.

The next song “Feels Like Home” features Alicia Keys and delivers an uplifting anti-Trump anthem that preaches togetherness and is sure to be the subject of controversy. The next track “Bad Husband” is an apology to his ex-wife Kim for years of abuse at the hands of his music and his behavior. This song reminded me of “Headlights” off of The Marshall Mathers LP 2 where he apologizes to his mother. “Tragic Endings” features Skylar Grey and touches on similar themes expressed in the prior song, but in a more lighthearted form. I enjoyed both the beat and the flow used on this track. The next track “Framed” is Slim Shady at his finest with lines like:

Donald Duck’s on as the Tonka Truck in the yard
But dog, how the fuck is Ivanka Trump in the trunk of my car?
Gotta get to the bottom of it to try to solve it
Must go above and beyond, ’cause it’s incumbent upon
Me, ’cause I feel somewhat responsible for the dumb little blonde

And:

But when murdering females
Better pay attention to these details or you could be derailed
Better wear at least three layers of clothing or be in jail
If you get scratched because your DNA’ll
Be all up under her fingernails

I really enjoyed this song because it reminds me of his Slim Shady persona from Relapse except it lacks the really annoying accents that ruined the experience.

“Nowhere Fast” features Kehlani and felt too poppy for me like a few tracks on this album. “Heat” is another Rick Rubin produced Rap/Rock anthem that is solid and is in step with “Remind Me.” “Offended” is a pretty solid track produced by Illa Da Producer where Eminem delivers a bevy of flows against a jazz/swing inspired beat. “Need Me” featuring Pink is another poppy out of place track that just didn’t feel like an Em track.

The last three tracks however would be a grand finale to a musically inconsistent album. “In Your Head”, “Castle” and, “Arose” are an introspective on Eminem’s past as well as him revisiting his near fatal overdose addressed in various songs in the Relapse/Recovery/Revival trilogy. These tracks are probably the strongest tracks on the album as the feature a return to a vintage Eminem that can ride a beat with strong rhyme structures and well-crafted story telling.

“Castle” outshines this entire album as it features a DJ Khalil produced track that is rap/rock enough to fit in musically with the rest of the album but sparse enough that it compliments Eminem’s flow and allows his vocals to shine, unlike the louder and cluttered beats provided by Rubin and, Alex Da Kid. It’s a shame there weren’t more tracks from DJ Khalil because I felt like they would’ve worked substantially better than some of the other beats used on this album.

This album is an interesting mixed bag with an identity crisis where you have multiple different variants of Eminem where each one never gets the time they deserve. The era of Eminem you grew up in will determine which tracks you’ll enjoy the most. It can be a cluttered mess at times. This album is one that starts solid, gets a little too poppy in the middle and finishes strong with some of the best tracks he’s ever written.

I found the album to be far too crowded with pop features and, a lot of the songs sound like they want to flood the radio with Eminem songs. For an Eminem album, there are far too many radio friendly singles and not enough of the darker tracks that Eminem albums are notorious for. I wish we got more tracks like Castle; I also wish we got more tracks like “Chlorasepctic” because I really do enjoy Eminem tackling different kinds of flows as well as providing his own take on the beat with musical touches that allow them to fit in an Eminem album.

Overall, this is a solid effort in a genre that has become increasingly crowded. Some tracks may appeal to some while falling flat to others. It really depends on your taste in hip hop and, music in general. It’s an okay album that falls short of being a truly caliber hip hop classic. It definitely won’t hold a torch to some of the classics in his body of work. Eminem is his own worst enemy and this theme comes out in this album for better or worse.

 

Flemmings Beaubrun is an avid gamer and lover of music. When not working, Flemmings likes to spend his time whipping up dank beats for the masses. He also spends his weekends thrift shopping for rare video games and obscure electronics. Other times he’s in front of a TV with a giant bowl of cereal enjoying shows from the 90s.

 

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A Twist of JP Lime: Rap Flashback – AmeriKKKa’s Most Wanted

 

May 15th, 1990 marks the release of Ice Cube’s first solo album, a landmark Hip Hop social commentary known as AmeriKKKa’s Most Wanted. When the album title alone doubles as a political statement, you know you’re in for a heavy record, and that’s exactly what Cube delivered. After management and financial disputes drove Cube’s split from N.W.A., he teamed up with New York based production team, The Bomb Squad, who were best known for their work with Public Enemy, introduced his own rap crew, Da Lynch Mob, and dropped this ferocious album. At this point in Hip Hop’s timeline, with both Ice T and N.W.A. well established, the Hip Hop sub-genre known as ‘gangsta rap’ was hitting the mainstream.

That said, Cube’s raw socio-political edge gave AmeriKKKa’s Most Wanted more punch than its gangsta rap predecessors. It also helped establish Ice Cube, the solo act, as a major force in Hip Hop going forward. The album peaked at #19 on the Billboard charts with the title track reaching #1 on the U.S. rap singles charts. The success of this album proved to everyone, including his former N.W.A. posse, that Ice Cube had the talent and mass appeal to make it on his own.

I remember loving this record as a 10 year old way back when, even though I was probably too young to have been listening to it. My favorite cut on the album on the time was “A Gangsta’s Fairytale” which was less a political track and more an inner-city play on some of our favorite childhood fairytale characters such as Mother Goose and Humpty Dumpty. Lyrics about Cinderella and Snow White fighting over the Seven Dwarves cracked me up then and still do today.

Other notable tracks include the politically charged “The Ni**a Ya Love to Hate”, the smoothed out and brutally honest “Once Upon in the Projects”, and the Yo-yo assisted gender wars commentary, “It’s a Man World”, where Yo-yo poignantly points out that “it wouldn’t be a damn thing without a woman’s touch.” I couldn’t agree more.

Shout outs to Ice Cube for turning what was potentially a career threatening situation in leaving N.W.A. into the best decision he could’ve possibly made. And to any new school and old school cats alike not hip to AmeriKKKa’s Most Wanted, do yourself a favor and give it a spin. It’s a great listen and many of its messages are still relevant today. The word classic gets tossed around a lot these days within Hip Hop circles, but this album is certainly one befitting of the title, in my humble opinion.

CLICK HERE FOR ARCHIVAL ICE CUBE CONTENT

Kicking sh*t called street knowledge

Why more ni**as in the pen than in college?

Now cause of that line I might be your cellmate

That’s from the ni**a ya love to hate

 

For more takes on music, culture, politics and more, visit JP Lime Productions.

 

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A Twist of JP Lime: 1000 Words And 1

 

Photography has been dope for me because it forces me to actually slow down, but still get out in the world and match ideas with action. With writing I can have an idea and flesh it out on paper or my iPad, but it’s a longer process of evaluation and appreciation. Think I was editing myself too much for a while, but I was definitely struggling with the focus and delayed gratification aspect of writing. I’m learning not to view it that way anymore. The struggle is not as hectic with the camera. I’m excited to get out smell the air and see what the world has to offer. I’m falling in love with capturing colors and the human condition. However, in this changing world, I’m also realizing that we need ALL forms of media and expression in order to shed light on our humanizing truths and change what needs to be changed so we can ALL experience the equality that should exist everywhere.
I am truly blessed. Accidents happen all the time around my home and I am usually not around when they occur and definitely not in harm’s way. Before I took the picture that is showcased in this week’s article, a driver used a stolen car to have a reckless cruise that left a car totaled on my street and a couple other vehicles wrecked before he ejected from the illegal joyride and impaled the car on a street pole. I’m guessing the stolen vehicle was being ditched right as I was cursing traffic. It’s funny how so often a perceived inconvenience saves us from some detriment or peril and we’re ignorantly cursing it at the same time. I was about to park and go home but I noticed there were ambulance and police lights at the top of my street so I drove further up my street and decided to check it out. The stolen car driver definitely caused his fair share of damage as I alluded to beforehand. It’s not often you see a vehicle perpendicular to the street with its hood basically in a store front window, crashed and abandoned.
I was fascinated by the image and the chaos so I raised my camera and went closer. There were plenty of policeman surrounding the area because of the accident, however there was no yellow tape set up to determine a crime scene periphery or boundary. I surveyed the scene saw no opposition and went in for my shot. Here’s where the issues started happening. You can determine for yourself how you feel about it after you read my experience. I was getting pretty close to the stolen car in question for the crime and I started taking photos. At this moment a cop just starts yelling at me saying it’s a crime scene , asking what am I doing, don’t I know I shouldn’t be here. Now as I was approaching the whole time, apparently no one noticed me or the camera, I don’t know how because I was looking at them with a camera around my neck and pointing the whole time. I walked into the ‘crime scene’ and no one wanted to say anything or have a conversation about my whereabouts. I don’t mind people doing their job. I don’t want to obstruct justice, I just want to document life. However, I do have a problem when cops are in my neighborhood conducting business and they don’t have the decency to speak to me like a human being. This cop could have displayed far better people skills but he chose to get hyped up and yell like an ignorant person, who happens to have a badge. After we stared each other down and I moved to the aisle to take pictures, the tension was obvious. There never had to be any tension though. It has been my experience that cops are quite aggressive towards residents in my neighborhood of Dorchester, MA. It truly seems like they don’t want to engage properly and respectfully with the residents of the area even though they are public servants supposedly there to help us. I will speak for myself, but the law enforcement in the area seems like they want to cause a confrontation more often than not if you’re not their color,or white. Very rarely is there a nice dialogue between cop and civilian in my neighborhood. These guys are so ramped up when speaking to a Black man, it’s like they want to bait us into trouble, fuck helping in any way.
In my last three encounters with the police I have experienced nothing but hostility and I’ve only been asking questions about their own practices. One cop on detail actually told me, “Fuck you” while I approached him on his cellphone and he got defensive. In my latest meeting with one of our city’s finest, officer badge number 2626 told me not to call 911 if I ever got into trouble. I promptly told him I typically don’t because they take too long to arrive in my neighborhood. I think Public Enemy had a song about it, look it up. My point is, this should be over. There should be no room for racism left in the police force. But, since I am mature about things and realize they don’t go away suddenly, I really would like to state this clearly. The Boston Police department needs change, now. I am not a criminal and these guys with badges have no respect. We need more black officers and we need white officers to stop getting special treatment. I have heard countless times of white officers being transferred while the black officer gets fired. I’m tired of the special treatment certain white officers get, while they simply don’t deserve it.
Our city has a problem. We have a large police force that either doesn’t want to know the black population or they don’t care. Furthermore we need to get more black cops in their own neighborhoods. I don’t need to talk to another white man, who assumes the worst about me and doesn’t know me. I also don’t need a multitude of scared white men around me with guns, because that’s all you’re doing. Why can’t we have proper representation as black people on the police force? Until we have more honest talks there is going to be a strong racial divide on the force and beyond. I don’t feel protected. I feel targeted and oppressed. The picture above shows a cop staring at me while I just take photos. There was no dialogue, just his partner trying to yell at me. You see his hoodie? I don’t. I don’t trust the police.

 

For more takes on music, culture, politics and more, visit JP Lime Productions.

 

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A Twist of JP Lime: Ecencial, Part 4

 

Greetings, Lime Nation! We hope you’ve enjoyed our month-long series showcasing the short story, “Ecencial”, by our good friend, Dave Vierling. CLICK HERE to check out Volumes 1, 2, and 3. Dave will returning to the pages of #JPLMagazine in the coming months, but in the meantime be sure to follow him on Facebook, as well as his band, A Night on the Sun (and buy their album on Bandcamp).

We present the fourth and final volume in context so today enjoy ‘Ecencial’, the full edition.

How will our hero, Khan, deal with this new threat called Jumala? Is his sacred, beloved Ecencial in danger? Find out in the stunning conclusion, only at #JPLMagazine.

****************

Ecencial

by Harold Cash

 

3/30/0

Dear future,

English is on the brink of extinction. Countable worldly circles as an esoteric power tool have whittled its citizenry into pockets, scattered across the land. Planets worth of vocabulary have been disappearing in middles of the light. One may exist for decades of nights without communicating the dying tongue to another talker. Even worse, those who talk including me, often exhibit anti-sapien behavior. We’d rather squander our sociability than mingle or cooperate. In dark of this, I feel compelled to diary these words to plug the hemorrhaging that is my aging fluency. They shall document the pending tragedy explicitly enough.

How rude. I am apologizing. My ancestors named me Khan. It doesn’t matter why but what does. I’m not bilingual. Neither are any of my Nearbys. The most influential difference between us is our language. Theirs need not deem titling because it’s subservient. Every new light, the Nearbys try to steal from her like pioneers of invention. That’s their quest yet I don’t blame them for it. She feeds all creation and sanctions privileged talkers to be Khan. I re-stoke the eld before darkness comes.

 

 

4/1/0

Dear future,

This was once a fecund land, bursting with caloric bounty. Back circles, my Pai and Majka oversaw the Nearbys more like celebrities than actual rulers. Intermittently ripe, it was the fruits and vegetables that allowed this dynamic to materialize. Happy stomachs equal peaceful masses. Ecencial’s value had depreciated but her worth remained indespensable as forever. It used to be easier to divvy out freebies and placate the Nearbys from one to another moment. I’m told that my family was proud to talk English then.

Cracked planet, the forecast has dried indefinitely. Earlier lush fa shriveled into sanded seas. Formerly spilling snakes shed their beds to path way for thirsty drifters. Along with political fraternization went the unpredictability of meteorology. Stagnancy ripened into the climate’s default. A few circles before his life stopped him, my Pai would always talk, impersonate and laugh.

“Attention Nearbys. First light should develop clearly. At middle peak, cotton patches will elude the blue. By horizon fade, chuva is still nowhere in vision. Over-darkness, forecast unquenched aridity. Evaporate, cycle and echo forever more.” Reminiscent, I raise lip corners. Softer memories serve to dilute Pai’s crusty legacy. Despite his fairness and well intentioned deeds, he destroyed existence over the smallest of crossings. I remember a moment when Osoba, his lifelong ally, siphoned two vats of Ecencial during the same light. This was not an accident of overconsumption. Osoba knew in his beat that all Nearbys are rationed one vat, zero mercy and negative tolerance per light. Pai waited until darkness, until words had smeared reputations across sleepy eyes. After smelting a fresh edge, into Osoba’s shelter he stalked.

“I prefer to chew rare flesh but you’re so filthy I will heat you exceptionally done.” My Pai talked with small wind while gutting the crook’s entire torso. Osoba was left to twitch, semi-consciously, long enough to hear the sizzle of his own sausage over Pai’s eld. A savage precedent was etched in every Nearby’s thinker and it threatened…

Even though the Khan glories in treating his habitants better than slaves, don’t bungle insistent professionalism for judgmental lenience. If you exploit Ecencial’s generosity, if you intake more than she can bear, the Khan will not trade eyes. He will gouge your feeble imprint out of history. The darkness is deep now. Sugary dreams.

 

 

6/21/0

Dear future,

I always open the land at first light. Pai used to talk an archaic utterance, “The early rooter sucks the water table dry.” Some of these words have since been misplaced in translation. I can only glean his context of early.

The climate this light was gorgeous. No Nearbys had roamed the dark in search of her nourishment. Perhaps they raided a neighboring talker. These infrequent calms earn me moments to undividedly pray to Ecencial, my surrogate Majka, which culminates in the imbibing of her sample. Congratulations. She exudes the most consistent taste in the land due to her untainted origins, boom, bust, blessing or a curse.

Ecencial. My purpose serves her. My profession profits from her. There is no separation of church and state here, like rotted democracies past. Chalky soil, scarce game and no chuva for circles upon circles have choked out any liberal sovereignty around. Once ago, talkers had webbed majestic social networks that stretched further than the known land. I read they could even communicate through far away machines without yelling.

Those relic moments barely glimmer now. Think-tanks old enough to have progenerated The Gold Age are burying any optimism for sapien equality. Some talkers recently coined our new age. The Drought. This scientific word hasn’t been pronounced since paper was made from fa, undetermined circles back. I suppose it means an unfurling chuva shortage.

Another book read our bodies survive at least eight drinkless lights. When staple public leaks dehydrated, Nearbys were the first to thirst. Acts of insubordination grew passively in the beginning. The more humble Nearbys started to beg for discounted access to Ecencial like she’s some measly floozy. Uman, a runt among twits, especially angered me. A miscarriage had sapped her strength’s majority. Dizzy and cramped, she fell to knees, kissing my repulsive feet. A trade was then offered, fleshly compensation for Ecencial’s nourishment. Blast! I ignited in English.

“How dare you equate my bestial lust with divine endowment.” I grasped Uman by the follicles and dragged her shrieking to the shore-step of heaven. “Is this what you crave?” I baptized her dirty face into virgin nectar. Gargle, thrashing, panic and lift. All along, my elitist tongue disqualified her comprehension. “Ecencial will spread her legs until they become your gallows.” I spat mucus in eyes, submerged her breath and weathered the storm. Ravenous resistance benumbed into a glassy peace as bubbles ceased.

Drained of emotion, I rested on fallen fa. Waning light had beautified the blue above. Colors pasteling cotton wisps chorused by faint birds all guided me toward a revelation. There I sat thinking that The Drought had only transformed us into savages, panting animalistic endorsements. Dearth of excess has simplified life and necessity has metamorphosed into conscious desire. Nourishment is fiended for. Passionate spirituality steers us once more. Yes, we are savages but you could talk that we cut out the fat. Only those with resourceful access will flourish. When alternatives are at a premium, hierarchy is born.

I tied rocks to the Nearby’s leg gifting her to Ecencial. After short prayer, there was meal and music. No one ever vomited Uman’s name again.

 

 

7/4/0

Dear future,

My Majka’s life stopped her when I was a mere five circles round. Her legacy is sketchy in my mind. Pai talked of her perpetual kind beat. She must be the excuse why I’m half as cruel as him. My closest neighboring talker is honest, despite his mistrustful appearance. He’s named Ningen and has existed for over 60 circles, an extraordinary feat these ages.

“Your Majka would frequently convene with Nearby women,” he stories with the clarity of a photographic memory. “She recognized their resourcefulness as more nomadic procurers and exchanged vats for gathering cues. She also applauded their sticky family unit.” Each talking of my Majka conjures subtle approval in Ningen’s words but I have mixed feelings. She was a beautiful wife who could cook. Why pine for more and endanger your safety?

When the chuva vanished, so did the Nearby husbands’ patience. They viewed Majka as a spy, briefing the talking community and assembled a crude witch-hunt party. The husbands met the male talkers, aligned on flat land. Nostrils huffed, kicks revved up soil, and a solitary moment before death bled everywhere, Majka intercepted the battle, scurrying.

“Both sides of you are wrong. Fighting for me is thinkless.” These suicidal words stabbed a fatal edge into Majka’s neck. Gasps dropped jaws. She danced a stagger while pumping red squirts high in the climate. Surprise plagued as not a being could have predicted her end. Majka had obtained everything necessary yet through cavalier progressiveness, dumped herself in the refuse.

Ningen believes she promoted valuable concepts. I disagree. He’s old school, a dying breed that hasn’t calibrated civil rights to modern circumstance. To empower women publicly in this dire Drought would be to convolute the simplicity that will haul us through. They already exercise dominance in the shelter. Hence, there has to be balance. We shan’t especially cut across privileged lines to teach English either. The very fabricate of our society depends on non-action. Once Ningen’s life stops him, I will restructure the system. He’s the last lighthouse of a shipwrecked age.

I loved my Majka. She taught me survival skills. My eld techniques were all crafted under her coaching and they heat throughout entire darkness’. Majka also taught me how to scout the best fa. I often afford to solicit excess pieces that I’ve gathered as a result of her expertise. She followed a moral compass, which can’t be faulted. A woman long after her moment.

 

 

9/21/0

Dear future,

I merchant vats when our star is at peak. Several circles ago, Pai conducted a census of the Nearby population. Since then, over half have migrated in promise of more opulent flora and just three remainders still exist. They are tolerable when compared to the tales I’ve heard of the rare super-Nearbys, monsters of physical awesomeness rivaling for privileges in select anecdotes.

Ludzki is the oldest on my land at 44 circles. An eternity of struggle has rendered him decrepit. Each peak on the shadow, he limps to Ecencial’s shore. Because of antiquated conditioning, his thirst is more ferocious than the other two. I push all Nearbys to bow and show her homage before they fill a vat. When Ludzki bends over, quenching his hankering, I wish he wore clothes. Circles of arduous walking have kept lipids from accumulating below his waist, like a double scoop ice cream cone that won’t drip. He’s a mess with constant currency. Only wise gods could fathom how he earns it but as an unscrupulous businessman, I don’t query financial lifeblood.

Like Ningen, Ludzki’s abides by a fossil code. He disburses on time, lacks greed, shuts lips and cognizes his niche. There’s no health in uprooting what grows sufficiently. More Nearbys should counterfeit his lead. Ludzki’s English hovers near zilch and aims to maintain the status quo. What a genius.

Pessoa is one of three single female Nearbys in the known land. Her birth was never officially logged so no thinker knows how round she is. Pessoa’s circles rely wholly on mouth words. I trust they swell and slump with her mood. In fact, the last census surfaced a pervasive trend of undocumented female births which cut across privileged lines. Pessoa’s English has improved since my Pai handed me the Khandom. Hush-hush. I suspect Ningen teaches her by darkness, committing treason. The Nevertheless, until hard proof evidences itself, I mustn’t bark conjecture at an elder talker.

Pessoa is a magician whose shelter reeks of medicinal lore. Whenever disease sics us, she negotiates to cure. There’s a famous legend. At one moment during the Gold age, a neighboring land, imaginations away, had been suffering analogous climate to The Drought. When they finally caught whiff of our fortunate salad, envy bloomed and poison was leached into all creators, including precious Ecencial. Clueless, my widowered Pai prayed next light. According to him, life herself looked, smelled and tasted the same. Yet later, his thinker ached before puke roused. Ningen also remembers full on dehydrated diarrhea within the same light.

When symptoms persisted over-darkness, they had to implore Pessoa. For a meaty price, spells were cast while concoctions soothed malignant bugs. Having nursed the rulers back to health, she demanded more profit for her civil niche. Thus, an unprecedented currency floated into legitimacy. Pessoa became the first Nearby ever to reap discounted access to any creator she pleases. Lifetime guarantee. It crumples my sapienhood.

Mens is a two-eyed pirate at 20 circles. Because he’s the most able-bodied Nearby, his foxy trial and error abides no bounds. What he lacks in thinker, he atones for in vigor. The riper majority of my lights are spent hunching over his next caper. Siphoning from Ecencial ties the least twisty plot I can recall.

By darkness’ veil, Mens has disguised himself as Ningen, lured me away with limping mammalian game and exploited my weakness, new books. He once tried to hogtie me in my slumber. On time I woke, bludgeoning his think-tank with a salt block. Mens has stabbed at capturing Ecencial since his Pai taught him to scheme. Nihilistic role model. Aristocratic cannibalism is socially acceptable in our land. We may shove down those under us, never above. Men’s Pai broke this hallow covenant and feed on a talker. Oh how gross a no. He was exiled until his life stops him.

 

 

10/31/0

Dear future,

This light was profoundly more anomalous than any before. Winds askewed. I inaugurated it, stuck on routine like a German dental exam. Order appeared to have prevailed over-darkness, apart from failed siphoning vestige at the far edge of Ecencial. Judging by tooth marks, the hose’s pure diameter posed an insurmountable girth challenge for Mens. Suction was never achieved.

As I disposed the embarrassment behind my shelter, an exotic breeze caught my smeller. I whipped around to witness a streaking blur duck behind rocks. Never had such extremities footed this land. Jagged agility crisscrossed springy hops. The being’s evolution showcased a palpable teleportation. For the first moment in my life, I felt threatened. Ironic tinglings fluttered down from think-tank to heels. For a deifiable advancement has come from a more cosmic gene pool, he will be called Jumala.

I grabbed my only real weapon, a whittled tree sapling. Although its length matches average sapiens, my composure was still shuddering in fear as I approached the rocks. Tense biceps trembled sweaty palms. Our star spotlighted us, summit happy. I raised spear, ready to destroy life if necessary. The moment stretched. My mouth wind plumed moisture into The Drought, over and again. For Khandom! On one, I charged over the rocks, veined out, mouth foaming.

“Ahh! Crypt you!” Partly to defy physics, my thunderous roar echoed off empty space. Beating through pectoral, I sighed, silently ecstatic to encounter no freak. The poker dropped. Thud. A small rodent cameoed amidst my traumatic renaissance. Hindered by a drowsy gait, this champion of The Drought pattered upon disturbing footprints. So enormous were their impressions, cartoonish could be the pertinent description. I lapsed crawling to examine them. Gulp. They almost sized my foot twice and mutation had webbed their toe gaps. If any Nearby peeps genetic realities that sum this portion, words will spread land-wide and a dawning image will demarcate the crumblings of my ruin.

I swashed sandy planet athwart the smoking guns while a chasm yawned in my thinker. Bang like our hierarchy, the conflict is inherent. That brute craves what his anatomy saps. Peripheried by decreasing resources, he has ventured afar in search of a potable creator. Desperation snuffs out. Without proper nourishment, sapiens fang ravenousness and bleed whatever they will to lap life.

Unlike its blooming predecessor, the solution mazes itself. When that anomaly inevitably circles back, how will I protect Ecencial?

 

 

12/25/0

Dear future,

Our closest mine walks less than a quarter-light from my shelter. Far preceding The Gold Age, Pai read mineral shakers were shelved indoors and sapiens had to actually purchase them. Can you brainstorm such a swindle? These circles, individual salt limits are confined by your own ceiling for hauling weight. Before infinite supply slit demand’s throat, I heard there was an untalked age called “The Periphery.” The mineral digested this illicit phase when fearless Nearbys would seize control of mines and ransom off hunks to talkers. Wayside blather.

Yester-light, I returned home from the salt mine to discover all of my burlap snares flung blue-ward. Loads of lifelessness sagged from five trees surrounding Ecencial. After I slashed inspection, facts were clear. Jumala had not only evaded, but mocked my booby entrapments by switching the currency bait for a substance not seen in histories. Each burlap sack was bricked up with gold, more than I can lift. My incredulous lids blinked over dreamy eyes. In humbling inferiority, the score doubled what I lured. Such sweepstakes should ship sapiens sailing effervescent gusts but instead, my nerves froze frightened. No Nearby has defeated me since Pai lived. Dense tears trail plops to my shelter where I encounter the ill-est fortune of intellectual dimensions.

Smack me, stir me, tumble me from this gravity. At nest’s mouth, I dwindled to shins, face gawking. Jumala had torn the entrance in half and stolen all my books, leaving behind a single leaf of fa paper. Its alien tongue stuck out at me like a conquerors’ steel boomstick. Never have I read script so elegant. Cursive suavity grooved amidst dots and squiggles. My beat’s dash coldened as a creepy revelation washed over me. Quite simply, Jumala had upgraded the ruler of privilege. Written knowledge. An invaluable lost art. Without which, our creation based system becomes tameless and choke-holds over Ecencials alike gasp vulnerability. Yester-light, Jumala exemplified how he could banish my throne, flagging a terrifying new age where English, as a stigma, perishes in oppression. While the foed psyche gears up from war-song, talkers pray, and envision inevitable coup.

 

 

1/1/1

Dear future,

My pride will not surrender reigns without sabotage. Despite the dignity instilled in typed text, these ages social mobility only manifests itself through brute force. Once one disinherits birthright, no mastery of linguistic dexterity shall rectify their grievances. Ages ago, this paradox grew amidst systematic educational inequity, where those privileged perpetuated selfish interests and those deprived internalized degeneracy. Khans past institutionalized tongued knowledge as a hierarchical weapon which subjected the Nearbys to cultural resistance. Floating under patriotic façade, democracy subtly mutated into monarchy.

Having only lounged atop the food chain and tasted entitlement, I can’t share her now. We’ve prospered monogamously for too much elapsion. The juggernaut of jealousy that would ensue from any infidelity may cripple our species. If I’m to lose her, so will the victor. Thus, because no sapien shall escape my selfishness, this light I dissolved my entire salt cache into Ecencial. A sacrilegious poisoning. While tears cascaded, prayer pleaded forgiveness. She hasn’t been mineralized since Ningen, loopy from fermented coconut milk, adulterated her with a sulfuric overdose. We found my Majka writhing in anguish, innards elding and nearly blinded. Pai embargoed Ningen for circles after that notorious blunder.

It’s peak. Our star bakes the planet. Deafening silence preludes showdown. During every previous light such tranquility would canary a successful Khandom. However, this finch appears to have been stuffed, more Christmas ornament than barometer. Ludzki, Pessoa and Mens had all transacted early as if they scented bloodstained peril in the wind. My beat palpitates.

Death and change resonate great fears for sapiens. Both scope mortality inside universality and force us to recognize that nothing lasts forever. Time outlasts political boundaries. Your forever is fried spit on a star’s surface. Regardless of will or strength, no tongue can eternalize dominance. After sleepless darkness’, I’ve made peace with this ideological realism. My passing is a new beginning.

Jumala jaunts into the background, sleek and well-fed. He was unarmed. I rise to feet, white knuckling my spear. Ecencial, the hinge of our conflict, rests between us. Jumala roars like atomic sound waves. Goosebumps rash me while our planet tremors. His muscles flex evolution in the glistening light. The end is imminent. I can only pray it be abrupt. Jumala fists his chest. Shot! Adrenaline, breaths, soles and doom race toward collision.

“Inferior beast!” He screeches English, sprinting wasteless strides. As bilingualism drips onto his privilege puzzle, our tug of war slips through my fingers. I can barely manage to dodge natural trip wires, let alone retort coherence.

“Now.” Nostril snarl. “Cycle my ashes!” Dread cracks my post-pubescent scream. Conditioned to inflict damage, Jumala lowers a deltoid. Rather than Hollywood slomo, our suspenseful sequence gleaks for the marrow. His rocketing stature shadows me while flashing mirages of bear electrocute my vision. Stub! A root stumbles me to the sand and I slide over a rock. Clock! Consciousness wavers our star, more out than in, rainbowing speckles. Clothed by synthetic material, a daunting silhouette overcasts my tweety birds. Polyester rumors scamper rampant across the land, but no kin of mine had ever sighted it before. I caress my skull. Jumala grins green teeth, gems not cavities.

“Where do you hail from?” I cough dust into the question. He laughs then lightly steps on my throat.

“Your hidebound culture couldn’t even hallucinate a land like mine.” Frantic fingers scratch boots for aerated relief. Jumala acknowledges conspiracy.

“Khan, I’ve been watching you for a circle.” One-handed, he begins to drag my weight toward Ecencial’s edge. Torso squirms. Legs flail. I chomp to tear flesh from his arm and shatter a fang against scaly skin.

“Not yet! Make me your sideshow! Please!” Jumala throws my begging upon damp sand.

“Life has tested you Khan. From conception, you’ve been instilled with the absolute power to create difference. So what transpires? Instead of humanizing society, talkers spin long-term weather cycles into droughts, which any Nearby will confess are political figments reinforcing bottlenecked access to her.” Jumala smashes my face into a puddle. Muffled struggles bubble a tyrant’s demise.

“Before you decay, I will feed your edibles to the Nearbys.” His murderous conviction holds my wind holes under. “Barbarism is all you deserve.” I numb. A goddess. Our creator. The planet’s Majka. Loving her too much spawned my downfall. Ecencial floods me. Sunshine flees from this dark oasis, clouded with trauma, as Jumala executes Khan.

 

3/21/1

Dear Nearbys and their ancestors,

By law, all tongues are hereby declared equal, except English, which shall be publicly condemned. No longer should the talking aristocracy control natural resources like fresh water. From now until my heart arrests, every sapien can drink from Ecencial, money free. This privilege will be revoked if you even mention Khan. As for fertility and empty bellies, irrigation trenches will filter into the most promising land plots. Consider multilingualism an asset instead of abnormality. Also, Talkers must implement breadth education via classes at reasonable prices. Let us expunge the water monarchy and embrace merciful times. As king, I govern you now. Welcome to a new age. I am not Jumala.

Wordart by Dave Vierling
Wordart by Dave Vierling

 

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