Thursday, April 16, 2020

2 Minutes. Go!

I saw somebody drowning, underneath my foot
my forefathers wore blackface, it was coal soot
they breathed it in and coughed it out
spat it on sidewalks, the color of money
they tried so hard to beat the odds, 
but it ain't the way the game's played honey

and dirty white boys shoot yellow meth
while their girlfriends smoke themselves to death
no one cares if the jones gets fed
redemption costs, try this shit instead

yeah, it's dumb; yeah, it's chickenshit
but them doctors always gonna write the scrip
they'll climb inside you, but don't enable it
don't let them put a fucking label on it

run like a motherfucker and never stop
tip that bottle to the very last drop
life's a bitch, life's a cop
you dodge one kind, and one?
one will be the mountain you climb
the hill you die on
while toothless men laugh
on the way to the soul mines, rotten


  1. Love it. The rap really goes in poetry. Chickenshit scrip is a cool rhyme. Lots of rhythm.

    1. I like the rhythm and the rhyme, too. The thing about your rap is that it doesn't get in the way of the message; it enhances it. Also really like the last two lines... "soul mines" is absolutely haunting.

    2. Yes, love the rhythm, the music. That second paragraph! Man. That hits hard. And what Leland said.

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    5. Cool. Love the last line especially and yes, absolutely the rhythm was great.

    6. Your lyricism is amazing, Dan. This is pugnacious and in your face and it rolls like a train. Excellent, as always!

  2. Retro kid

    I stand here singing my heart out
    To the back of a nylon hairbrush
    As my brother tries to capture me
    On my mother’s flat tape recorder:
    Fingers up, down, stop, pause, up, play.

    Dancing in front of the long mirror,
    Humming along to ‘Bend me, shape
    Me’, it’s my finest moment surely,
    While the old 45 runs rings around us,
    Needle on the record bouncing in tune.

    We try to capture every part of the song
    As the midday sun calls out to us
    To head out on our bikes and play.
    But we need to finish our recording –
    Fame beckons – out there, somewhere!

    It’s a world of orangey brown in the 70s,
    From my mother’s dress to the plastic beakers
    With white dots perched on kitchen shelves
    To the shag-pile carpet our cat is splayed on,
    And summer is never-ending, lasting a year or two.

    Our friendly neighbours shake out a green hose
    Like a snake where our two gardens greet.
    We spin in circles, laughing, leaping the spray,
    Our collie dog barking and stamping his paws
    As the water cascades in a silvery sundance.

    1. This is a lovely tribute to such a specific period of time.I was right with you in that orange- brown world. Great details.

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    3. Beautiful imagery. I could see all of this.

    4. Thanks :) It's a real memory of when I was about 8 or something.

    5. This takes me right back to my earlier days. I used to tape tunes off the radio, with my fingers poised on the record and play buttons, just waiting for the DJ to stop waffling. I love this; it's like we were siblings almost.

    6. me too. It's how I discovered Jimi Hendrix at the age of 12. I'd have the ends of songs cut off and sometimes the tape got chewed! I had a vinyl record melt on my table once in the sun too.

  3. Percent

    I believe in the power of technology. I like the way it can slice the unbelievable into little pieces of believability and probability.

    Take my weather forecast app, for example. In big print, it gives me the current temperature, the forecast high and low, and the percentage probability of precipitation.

    Oh. I didn’t notice.

    They’ve updated the app.

    In small print, they’ve added “Probability of death.”

    Well, it’s important to know the chances of returning after I finish my grocery shopping.

    Today it’s marked 10%.

    I wonder if it comes in showers or in drifts?

    1. Ouch. They might call that a "death event" now.

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    3. You're scaring me. Mostly cause I believe in the power of tech too.

    4. I found this really funny! In a dark humour kind of way. Did you write if to be funny? It's the mix of talking about death and the mundane thing of grocery shopping - which ironically, is the only thing we're allowed to do now. In drifts? lol.

    5. Cloudy with a 50% chance of death - it might be a good day to carry an umbrella. I love this idea and your approach on this. It's such a great concept.

  4. They didn’t tell me it could be like this.
    No one mentioned that there are two ways to die from the virus. I mean, I’ve heard the gruesome stories about people drowning in the curious liquid in their lungs. The gasps, the sounds, the death rattle.

    My own body, surprising me, is fine. No fever. No cough, dry or wet. No aches, no pains. Nothing beyond the after effects of decades of abuse and enjoyment.

    But the longer this goes on, the pangs, the twinges, the stabbing. It is my heart. For how long can we go without a hug, without holding hands, without kisses, without making love.

    The body survives. The soul wastes away. Or perhaps it is only hiding, shivering in the dark, asking the unanswerable question.


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    2. Perhaps. I think it's sadder tho. I think it already knows the answer to the question.

    3. Yep. The anxiety and loneliness. I hope it's all over soon. Someone I know got taken to hospital with this and heard someone die. If that was me, I'd never forget it. Awful.

    4. It's heartbreaking and it's a very real possibility - to spend 60 years together, for example, and to then die alone, knowing your loved ones aren't even permitted to see you. Or even worse, to know your life partner is soon to breathe their last, knowing you'll not be able to comfort them. It's horrific.

  5. Nonsensical "poetry" from the time of pandemic

    The Best Words
    “ I used to use the word incompetent. Now I'll just call them stupid. I went to an Ivy League school. I'm very highly educated. I know words. I had the best words. I have the -- but there's no better word than stupid, right? There is none. There is none. There's no word like that.”*

    A lot of people
    Biggest decision
    Fake news
    good things
    many people
    never before
    nobody knows
    nobody thought
    nobody’s ever seen
    strong feeling
    terrible word
    very smart
    very soon
    very special
    we’ll see

    *Donald Trump at Campaign Rally in Hilton Head, SC - December 30, 2015

    1. Love it. It's also like a poem where you could move the lines around to create something new. Just moving the words around like game cards, snippets. Ever evolving.

      Stupid is as stupid does, as my mum always says!

  6. Come on down to the country store, we’re selling the whole thing out. The Saudis get first dibs on the lives of our journalists, but everything else is up for grabs. I mean, Putin has pretty much locked down the government, but Jared’s got a shitload of N95 masks that he’s giving away to the biggest donor. Just be quick about it; we want to get this all wrapped up before the rich, white bitches realize that Ivanka is just The Donald in drag. She’ll grab your money though; they let you do that when you’re famous and blonde. And, BTW, Ivanka is banking on getting this taken care of before Jared hits puberty, so…

    Dignity? The celebrities have it. They’re suffering in their private home theaters. Don’t get me started on the athletes. You think I’m not sad that Lebron James has to sit in his mansion and NOT be worshipped for a little while? That shit hurts, I know.

    Work ethic? That shit’s overrated. A golf course handshake is worth a thousand nurses.

    North Korea called the nuclear codes. No big deal.

    Yeah, come on down to the country store. The General Store has been silenced thanks to some misplaced faith in the chain of command. China’s laughing behind their concerned Winnie the Pooh mask.

    How much can we suck from the American people? Hey, you in the red hat. Buy a banner. Paint your truck. That fat fucking con artist in the White House is fighting for YOU. It's the the least you can do.

    The absolute least.

    You want to buy a big Orange Bridge?

    1. Wow. This was so good. And wow, the whole paragraph beginning with "Dignity?" would have been enough for me to say that.

    2. Yeah, you can hear the anger in it and the frustration. It must be hard isolating in your mansion - both funny and poignant because others can't isolate in their overcrowded housing conditions, have lost jobs, are poor, might not have food on their table. Or are relying on deliveries, handouts, etc. There's a lot of political weirdness right now.

  7. Awaiting the tree

    I wrap my poison around a tree.
    It is the great outpouring,
    The grief of the human psyche
    Hunting a different kind of comfort
    Through a reckoning with nature,
    An apathy missing in the outside in.

    We seek an understanding of stardust
    And the drip of clouds during rain.

    This tree has travailed longer than I,
    It breathes wisdom through its leaves,
    Rustles branches to distill
    Greater wonderment than we can see,
    So I wait. I wait for an answer
    And guidance only the tree spirit can give.

    1. I love this... "We seek an understanding of stardust, And the drip of clouds during rain.' It's such an evocative, poignant pair of lines.

  8. Boxes

    A life in boxes.
    Dog-eared, taped up,
    Dusted histories –
    A waiting chorus line
    For unpacking.

    Items for rediscovery,
    Stories to be reread
    And outcasts of writing;
    Unfathomable conceits
    Of a youth long dead.

    A questionable age
    Of endurance.

    Things don’t stick
    When you’re young.
    Life’s burns trickle off
    Like water.

    1. This felt very familiar. In the way stray moments you experience do. Maybe cause I'm purging. Very nice.

    2. There's a lot of Spring cleaning at the moment! I have a book on tidying and decluttering - it was a present.

  9. Buzz

    It’s the time of bumblebees,
    Little stripy fuzzballs simply buzzing,
    Bobbing between flowerheads and grasses
    While a warbling blackbird sunbathes.

    Perched on the fence, orange beak open.

    I wonder if all the worms have sensed him
    And are hiding their naked heads by burying
    Deep underground in the hope of invisibility.
    The laughing sun bears witness to it all.

    1. A natural moment well conveyed.

    2. I could hear the buzzing. Nice moment and details.

    3. Thanks. I love bumblebees. Especially the big fluffy ones! They're like hamsters with wings.

  10. The Landlord’s Son - part 1

    “Tell me a story, Papa.”

    He chuckled to himself, and patted the boy on the head. Already he could feel the nubbins where his horns were beginning to make themselves known.

    “A story? Surely having bestowed all my gifts upon you, you have a devilish enough imagination to come up with the most entertaining stories on your own.”

    The boy stamped his small cloven hoof. “But I want to hear one of your stories, Papa!”

    “All right, then. No need for such displays. Come, sit beside me and I’ll tell.”

    For it was the most special of rooms in his domain, Beelzebub took his only son to his private chamber, cozy and dark save for the ring of fire, and there he began his tale.

    “It was many years ago that I made the acquaintance of the son of a powerful landlord. This landlord was indeed feared by many who had no other choice than to live in one of his hovels. And, not to toot my own horn”—he laughed at the old family joke—“but I am the reason for his success, or at least what he chose to call success.”

    “He offered his soul?”

    “Yes, when he was but a young man. And a fine soul it was, too.”

    The boy frowned. “He had a son. The son was born to a man who had sold you his soul? How is that possible?”

    “Oh, it is, my boy. In nearly all cases, a soul is given anew to each at birth, and when they grow up, it is each mortal’s choice to do with it what they will.”

    “Isn’t that quite painful for mortal children? To have a father who has bargained away his soul?”

    “Yes. Quite painful indeed. At least from what they tell me. Maybe that’s why the landlord’s son…oh, but I’m getting ahead of myself. Anyway. The man made himself a tidy business of our transaction. He asked to become rich beyond his wildest dreams, and when he had a family, to bequeath his wealth to his family. He indeed grew rich as a king, purchased more of his disgusting properties…and gave his fortune to his son.”

    The boy’s eyes widened. “Just as he wished!”

    “Yes. Just as he wished.”

    “So, all should have been well for him. I am getting the idea that this story is not quite over.”

    “No, indeed it is not. Many years later, and of his own accord, mind you, I made the acquaintance of the son. He was about as young as his father had been, but his request was very different. He claimed he had all the riches he needed. He wanted love. He wanted the love of beautiful women, he wanted love from his future children, he wanted love from every mortal in the land. But what he wanted most was the love of his father.”

    “So it was painful for him,” the boy said.

    Beelzebub nodded. “So very painful that he signed away his soul without another thought. And I monitored his goings-on, as I do to those who have struck the bargain. See, I blame myself in part for what resulted. Because his father had honored the bargain, and because foolishly I felt a little sorry for him, I gave the son the benefit of the doubt. I waived my due diligence and chose to collect at a future time. He did have the love of beautiful women…who all eventually left him. He had the love of each child in turn, until they grew old enough to fear and distrust him.”

    The boy looked up hopefully. “And his father?”

    1. Part 2

      He shook his head.

      “How very sad,” the boy said.

      “That’s when I started having a bad feeling about the whole deal. So I paid the son, now a man getting on in years, a visit. He was not happy to see me. Not for the usual reasons mortals fear my return. He was angry, and he gave me a right chewing-out, blaming me for all the misfortunes in his life.”

      Beelzebub sighed. “And that’s when I knew. What I should have known years ago. What I now check for in advance of any signature on the dotted line. And what you should too, when it’s time for you to reign at my side.”

      “What, father?”

      “The man, despite all trappings to the contrary, had no soul to give.”

      The boy, as his father had imagined, looked thunderstruck. “He cheated you! Did you strike him down on the spot?”

      “No.” He set his hand on the boy’s shoulder. “No, I figured it would be more of a punishment for him to live out the remainder of his days. But I did exact one price for his deception.”

      The boy looked up, his red eyes all questions.

      “His children, my boy. His children belong to us now.”

    2. Easily fell deep into this. That ending was perfection.

    3. Just read part 1. Love it and the setup. It's funny at the start when you realise who the characters are - the clue when he's rubbing his head.

      I love this bit especially: For it was the most special of rooms in his domain, Beelzebub took his only son to his private chamber, cozy and dark save for the ring of fire... (!!)

    4. ooooh no! The ending! ahhhhhh! And I have to ask you a question on it.

    5. Fabulous, Laurie. I was hanging on every word until the ending. And that finish. BAM! Brilliant!

  11. Times like this, time stands still, becomes a non sequitur: a man-made construct followed by an impossibility. Time stops for no one. It's a runaway train on a circular track, circuitous in nature, rounding moments like bends in the track. Even the now isn't now. It's then. "Live in the moment" is greeting-card verbiage for those who think you can postpone yesterday's arrival. We do so that we are. Purposeful drones droning on without purpose. Even God doesn't respect time. An immortal who, given eternity, still took six days to create an entire universe, when he could have blinked everything into existence in an instant, and then had the audacity to take a day off. What was he doing before he started?

  12. Tick. Tick. Tick. Tick.

    She turned the key, feeling the spring tighten. It was late and she'd been resisting her tiredness for hours. She should have been asleep hours ago.

    Another turn. And another. The escapement within her chest continued ticking, its mainspring driving the gears which energised the pump that circulated the blood around her body. She gave the key yet another turn, incrementally tightening the spiral's curve still further. An internal set of ratchets clicked as she did this, their pulses deep and sonorous, the mechanism capturing its energy. She felt a corresponding lifting of her stresses as the spring compressed, a lightening of her heart.

    She was alive. She would be able to sleep. She would continue for a while longer.

    1. It may come to this. I'm most definitely intrigued.

    2. I felt this in my own chest. Tick. Tick. Tick. Very intrigued.

    3. Cool. I'm thinking of her as a wind-up doll. Intriguing is the word. I could do with a key to get me going some days!

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  14. Are you the fourth quadrant?
    Are you part and parcel of the circle of men
    who will hold me dripped and dipped
    with no need for me consciousness at all?
    And you’ll keep me here?
    Tony and tied up; enthralled in my largesse?
    That truly would be something.

    I need men like you in my life.
    I know this because my strength and stony gaze are a front.
    An affront, to the strong and stony reality of those
    who really do hold sway over their own existence.
    Three is not enough men like you to hold in my life; never mind one.
    One is a paltry sum even if he is the first and he is everything.
    And actually he is, both.

    Are you the fourth element?
    The consoling inspiration.
    The sun rays in my future tresses.
    The sexual juggernaut who leaves me openmouthed
    And panting in a heap like any good soldier would.
    Loving the love into all things I only lovingly give to you
    It’s not science. It’s chemistry so it doesn’t have to make sense.
    Like most things don’t.

    She was a hater after all.
    Not all the she’s. Just the most important one.
    Her gaze was both strong and stony for real. For real.
    And she didn’t see me when she looked straight into my eyes
    That’s why I need you.
    If only to tell me I’m different.
    If only to buy me a Nova.
    If only to run my bath.
    If only to clip my toenails.
    If only to come home to me again.

    Are you the fourth direction?
    I hope so.
    You have to be.
    you know, I’m good.
    I got this.
    I know where I’m going.
    I can cancel where I’ve been.
    For real.

    1. Wow. I loved going on this journey. Thank you.

    2. Atmospheric and wild.
      I really like these lines: The sexual juggernaut who leaves me openmouthed
      And panting in a heap like any good soldier would.

      They say a lot and I like the humour in the good soldier.

      And the idea of cancelling where she's been. Erasing parts of her past that failed, I guess? Really interesting.

    3. This is another of those engaging lyrics that just rolls and pulls you along with it. Wonderful. Well done!

  15. In the ballpark...

    “And this is all you do?” The reporter looked sceptical.

    The capped man – his name badge said he was called ‘Norman’ – nodded. “It’s an important part of the process,” he said, adding a wink. “Many folks say quality control adds nothing to our sales figures, but I’d be the first to disagree.”

    He refilled the pitching machine’s hopper and sent the balls through the machine. Most of them shot off into the bin that was waiting for them, while a few looped off at odd angles, scattering to spread out across the floor of the court. A younger man was waiting out of range until the machine finished; he’d obviously been caught out before, judging by the bruises he’d collected.

    Norman chuckled at him, dabbing at his cap. “You’re good to go now, bud. It’s all clear.”

    The photographer took a few more photographs to add to the hundreds he’d taken, fussing about his light and the key shots to produce his narrative. The reporter had packed away his tablet and was about to finish off when he had one last idea for a question.

    “All this,” he said, gesturing at the ball machine and the court beyond. “It’s so very organised. How many balls do you reckon you do every day?”

    The man grinned then rubbed his chin, making the bristles rasp. “It’s hard to say. It varies. But if you need a number, I’d say about a thousand. You can use that for a ballpark figure.”

    1. I love that: And this is all you do?
      Good entrance to the story and Norman remains nice and polite, ignoring that put down, and at the end he knows he's bettered the guy.

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