- Andrew Boyd (via blasphemefatale)
- The Kite Runner, Khaled Hosseini. (via writingbeforeeating)
(Source: centuryf0x, via )
he read one of my newer poems (the one i plan to do tonight at an open mic) and once he was done, all he had to say was “why don’t you write poems that rhyme?”
I know poetry isn’t everyone’s thing but i was incensed that this extremely intelligent individual had no other critique of my writing other than the fact that my thoughts and emotions don’t always come out in a catchy rhyme scheme.
ah yes, the ol’ “lack of rhyme” discussion…
i dont rhyme much, but when i do they typically occur in the middle of my sentences or maybe last word in sentence 1 then first word in sentence 2. offbeat for no reason other than it feels right for the way i approach it. “ron, your words almost dont rhyme right… it feels off.”
malcolm x once said: “im not the type of person to come and give you what you like.” that’s been my aesthetic ever since i first heard it.
but usually, the complaint i get the most of (usually from the folks who dont like reading) is that i use too many ‘big words’ and/or too many obscure historical or literary references.
anyway, most rhyming poetry doesnt ‘work’ because we’re mentally jumping ahead in our reading to the expected rhyming word: if the first line ends with ‘breath’ we generally scan ahead to the end word of the second line anyway… yep, ‘death’… we expect ‘death’ to be that word while simultaneously hoping for an entirely different word that will blow our mind - which rarely ever happens. rhyming is a craft… we shouldnt even know we’re reading a rhyming poem until we get a few stanzas in because the ‘story’ of the poem actually has presence.
besides, after 30 years of hiphop, the casual, older audiences have nearly heard every which way our general words can be rhymed - so if the several words leading up to the rhyme aint saying much anyway, then you’ve just wasted everyone’s time to begin with.
never wanted to be “a poet”.
my older sister was a poet,
i didnt like her… used to whoop
my ass when she babysat me.
so, years later, “fuck her and
the poet she rode in on.”
sibling rivalry is a motherfucker.
i started writing @ ‘85… was
working in a black bookstore
located in a room at New Creation
African Lutheran Church. Claude
couldnt always pay me in cash so
i’d grab a handful of books as
payment. nonfiction - beautiful
junk about history & religion.
horrendous memory is hereditary
so i kept pocket-sized journals
to keep notes in. made me write
in truncated phrases and short
sentences (like now - this is not
a poem, it’s how i write even
the papers are large).
anyway, a nosey friend had peeped
over my shoulder and mistook
my short passages as stanzas…
“ooooo, i didnt know you wrote poetry!”
i really didnt.
it just looked like it.
but then message-rap took off
and many rappers were talking
about the same things i had just
read about - so i started deleting
words from my notes to create
“the air” of something poetic.
"it takes a nation of millions to
hold us back” could have been
lifted straight from my journals!
i secretly accused Chuck D of
somehow biting my notes despite
being 900 miles apart… ( i still
dont know how he did it )
i still didnt consider my stuff
as “poetry”. i really had no clue;
i was reading Dr. Ben not Baraka.
the turn came in ‘88 on my 21st
birthday when “the sister i loved
to hate” gave me an autographed
copy of Earthquakes & Sunrise
Missions by Haki Madhubuti.
his love poems to his wife were
saying things very seldom seen
or heard about black folks in
writing. that book became my bible
and led me to other important poets
from the Black Arts Movement:
Gwen Brooks, Lucille Clifton,
Ishmael Reed…. i wrote poems
for them living in my head as my
audience / my peers. i patterned
myself in their shadow as i imagined
it to be - angry & in love.
from 1991 until 2006 i averaged
about 5 “poems” a day… less poems,
more like “placeholders” for my ideas,
usually 1 really good stanza
smothered within a dozen bad ones.
i’ve written about 20,000 poems
in that time… or i should say that
ive written 10 really great poems
and 19,990 really shitty variations
but i knew from the beginning that
i wanted to write poems that straddled
the line between ‘literary’ and ‘popular’.
pieces that were cryptic & technically
difficult without being too boring and
academic. poems that appealed both
to educators and those seeking
education. it’s just not in me to
write lyrically beautiful joints that
touch folks in the heart or the gut.
i want my work to do both, but i kinda
want my readers to work for it.
poets (and all writers) shouldnt just
drop easily absorbed material into
our laps - that’s more akin to
propaganda, catering to the
expectations of those needing
to be patronizing. - nothing wrong
with that - how else are you to get
your work spread about by word
of mouth? cater to a category
and do it well, then youve won
i want to write jaunty little ditties
for ___________________ types,
but that feels like cheating, to me.
plus, there are many talented
poets already doing so.
its not (entirely) my intention to be
confusing with my words, but id
rather be indecipherable more
than insulting to intelligence.
works for me. or else why bother?
but i still dont consider myself
“a poet” - im just a historian
who writes in superfluous shorthand.
- Allen Ginsberg (via just10r)
"…and to my surprise the water tower blew up;
who shot? what? who? the bazooka was who?”
everybody wanted to blame Heru when
the riot broke out, but everyone knows Heru is a man
of Peace. even named a city after him. sure, he might
tag his name in hieroglyphs and other modern
forms of graffiti, and he loves his beer, the original
recipe with hops and oats as thick as a pharaoh’s
asp; and sometimes he hangs out late cold lampin’
with The Sphinx, pitchin’ pennies and pinchin’ ass,
but lead a riot? no, sir. not Heru. not like that two-bit
knock-off, Hercules… now, sure, disturbing The Peace
is in Heru’s dna, but that’s more his daddy’s racket
(but if a man cut my dick off too and tossed my
casket into the sea then i might up and rebel as well.
no. no ‘might’. uh-unh. that’s one of them so-called
"grievous injuries" ambulance-chasers advertise late
but all that was ages ago. at least what? 8?… 9?… 10
thousand years? now, i know for a stone cold fact Heru did
pitch a fit the day he lost his lottery ticket. it was him,
King Nikonos and one of them Hapshetsut boys doing belly
flops in the Nile, naked as a sacrificial calf. that’s the day they
found that little Ahmose kid drifting downstream from Nubia
the escapades that day turned the whole reverent world
upside down! it’s been one long Benny Hill theme song ever
since. you see, Ahmose’s greatgreat grandson, “Akhenaten”,
inherited his penchant for chasing after parables, glass houses
and monotheism -
(why Ra anem let the whole thing unfold
the way it did is beyond me. vanity i guess.)
them 1300’s B.C. was a bad scene for holy rollers. after that
came plagues and pandemics then eventually the Roman’s
and everybody’s name got washed off the stones. nothing
of that ‘old-timey ‘ligion’ was held sacred. someone even
broke into Tutankhamun’s tomb and filled his coptic jar
with microchips. Hyksos and heathens, no doubt. and to
this day, conspiracy theorists still blame it on the cult of
Bill Gates, but mama says we should all keep our eyes
on them Nazarenes; troublemakers, the whole lot. stealing
Heru’s legacy anshit; they probably the ones who pilfered
his powerball, i wouldnt put it past them.
and if you wanna talk a riot, then them Romans.
from Carthage to Thebes them thieves were known
to paint a town red. you couldnt turn over a fig
without coming across some drunken god sprawled
out, tunic torn, morals shorn, goats and virgins
worn out… there were 12 wonders of the world
before they moved in. and dont let me start on Zeus!
the worse one! Olympus was just a parking lot
behind The Memphis Market - The Monopoly Man
was a prototypical son way before Mercury; and
look at that pantheon now! talk about ‘retrograde’!
shameful! always in the news; you should see
the smiles on they face. some by-the-book criminals,
hard grimaced with a pumice tongue; slight-of-hand
demagogues who never apologize on papyrus, burn
their visage on pieces of toast as calling card…
a ponzi scheme that ‘Shroud of Turin’. they give
gnosticism a bad name. shameful, just shameful.
im not a witch
nor the son of one
but i want to be
so instead, i write
to shore up the lack,
every written word
thrown head first
into the ohio river
more than once
to sink or to float
the thick lipped
phonetics / foundation
for this self-anointed
poet building his towers
audre lorde is my lady of the lake; ghost
hands parting this southern mouth housing
a kentucky pond / each word a frond, every
stem a magic wand / the tongue a baton wagging
in yemoja’s general direction, all of her reflection
upon this body of water i call myself
anyway, the coffee kept on ancestral altars has
crumbled into dirt; prayers dehydrated into dust,
fertilizing the eggs of this diaspora. i can await
the answers to prayer / im patient and i meditate.
besides, all of my ancestors are out on loan:
tho shorn from kentucky i’m instilled with
kinship to dahomey & brazil, to cuba & to haiti;
some of my not-so-distant cousins needing more
angels than i because love is an immediate action
in the aftermath of earthquakes & hurricanes.
and speaking of punching pat robertson dead
in the mouth, he and rush limbaugh can call
my ancestors retarded or niggers and me
a retarded nigger for crafting faith from where
the hate of blacks was created. pyre respects
pyre and i am sunflower-supreme. i do not
shrink shrieking into shadows reeking with
shame or fear or of the fear-of-flame… there
is switchblade in my sepals. and just like all
of my gods, i too speak from my mouth. dont
require prophet-mongers to translate what god’s
written on my cheek, so let’s not escalate this
renunciation to your ignorance. push me too
hard and i shall no longer pray for you
not that praying
for vaude villains
is ever a first venture
must begin and
and the brackets
of my body and
my soul do not
but if i was
a witch or the son
of one, how wonderful…
would come the
of beauty and
to use it.
( god damn the prevention
of this american polyglot
spoiling a black man’s
asymmetrical patois )
[Once I read this in its entirety, I may be back with my opinion. But I did find this interesting.](via mswordnerd)
alternately titled: my wife wants me to seek a publisher, but who the fuck even reads bullshit like this these days? alternately, alternately subtitled: i don’t get “liked” a lot by upfromsumdirt 2012
cognizance and canopicism, ufsd 2005