Necessary

NECESSARY

I think I’ll write a poem that speaks epic truth, tonight
It doesn’t matter if you tend to lean left or lean right
Politics aren’t helping us, the gap is greater in-between
We need to stop fixating on whose King or who is Queen

We need to shift the focus to what matters, that’s for real
We need to stop the spinning and start breaking culture’s wheel
Martin wasn’t joking when he wrote that brilliant line
The story’s great, sure, but a grander message lies behind

Nothing’s stronger than a thread that’s woven one and all
But if you try to weave it on your own you’ll sadly fall
History has proven this, it’s not news to anyone
The ink in this here pen I wield weighs more than your big gun

Every life we live is shaped by minds that can run free
And if we came together just imagine what could be
Forgiveness, empathy, this is what we need
And we ever grasp these things our whole planet will be freed

Fire doesn’t put out fire, its ego you should bury
Someone had to say it, right? These words are necessary.

This is Ass Whip Hop

Spare a moment of your time and talk to me objectively

This elephant must be addressed, its been standing there rejecting me

The topic of discussion was created here specifically

You guessed it: rap culture; let’s review it scientifically

 

I needn’t say for we all know that music molds and shapes our mind

So first let’s talk about how rap is so…refined

After all, doesn’t everyone like money, cars, and clothes?

And let us not forget what’s most important: hoes

 

Just hear me out before I twist your panties in a wad

I admit that not all rap is like the oppo word of God

But let’s be real and speak in generalities

So let’s please cut the shit and drop the useless, dumb formalities

 

In fact hold on I’ll tell you what, let’s try something on the run

Let’s take a shot at mimicking the rap game, don’t that sound fun?

Ahem. Give me a moment to prepare my new mentality

After all I’m new to this, I must change my personality

 

That’s right you bitches listen up, this white boy rap’s begun

These tasty bars will burn so hot, like wagyu steak that’s overdone

All this coming off the top, the lid is popping off

So much fire on this page you’d think I threw a Molotov

 

This is not hip hop, this is ass whip hop

Let’s switch the rhymes up on this text

Take a breath, collect yourselves

You’ll need the air for what’s up next

 

Hold up Matt the fuck is this? I think the flow just changed somehow

That’s right ma-fucka I switched it up this game is run by rhythm now

I hope you laced the Jordans on cause the pace is picking up ya’ll

I’ll tell you what just numb your lungs, here take this alcohol

Don’t be shy bitch take it all, open the throat wait that’s what she said

Aw come on now you know I’m playin, or maybe not cause that’s good head

There we are don’t that feel nice? These fifths can always heal the pain

I hope you brought your parka too, the forecast says its bout to rain

 

Actually fuck it I think this rap is done

I think we had a solid quarter Asian run

Oh, before I forget just one last thing:

No hoes we’re harmed in this production

They’ve been chillin’ in my bed…for accidental reproduction

 

 

 

 

 

 

Written in Stars

Close my eyes, give my thoughts the reigns

As the darkness outside, it brings the rains

The bittersweet memory, it engrains

Every value, love, regret; it pains

 

Open my eyes, and I start to write

Blow the candle out and dim the light

Pick a concept and my pen takes flight

Thoughts hold the reigns and they’re pulling them tight

 

I’ve written two books now I’m on book three

But tonight I’ll discontinue Continuity

Cause my thoughts have steered toward this poetry

I’m just a passenger writing on this carriage, see

 

I don’t know when I sit down each late evening

What will pour out or what my thoughts will bring

The compass just spins as it weaves this ring

That I use to propose to this writing thing

 

Every second of my life there’s one thing on my mind

What’s the word that’s coming next on my journal’s line?

Searching for the others who spend all their time

Like me, all their thoughts consumed by prose and by rhyme

 

Yeah so many out there say they work so hard

But there’s just a few who know they really hold that card

They put on their mask and they put up their guard

But when the time comes they just seek fame and reward

 

They say they’re virtuous, yeah well I say, please

They need to study up on Kant or Socrates

An unexamined life isn’t worth living, these

People preach morality but live to appeal and appease

 

But that’s how we’ve created this world of ours

We can’t stand the pain yet we keep creating these scars

And then just forget it at the concerts and bars

Yeah that how we live, as if its written in stars

The Tour

Psst, hey you! Come here, my friend

To you, my hand, I shall extend

Don’t be shy, come quietly

This is for you, just follow me

 

A tour this is, with me, your guide

So let us gently step inside

Now take a seat, get strapped right in

Prepare the mind to twirl and spin

 

First stop, its here, a bright red light

We look around, no soul in sight

And so we drive, but wait! Just stop

A ticket written from this cop?

 

“You ran a red light.” So, my friend?

There was no one around the bend

What purpose do you serve, you see?

Protect and serve, for my safety?

 

Then why, dear sir, must you oppress?

I looked each way, both right and left

‘Twas obvious, no danger here

And so I went, but still you’re here?

 

Truth is, my friend, that light you see

Is simply there for trafficking

A ticket now is petty, no?

Written only ‘cause “I told you so”

 

But hey,  you there, let’s move along

Let’s not get caught up in this “wrong”

The point of using it, you see

Was to make you sit and think

 

So come on now, next stop ‘n still

Is at my cousin’s funer-ill

But don’t feel bad, no please don’t cry

He had it coming, stupid guy

 

Just look around, observe and see

All these tears and cries we grieve

Tell me, is your faith in God?

‘Cause if it is, he’s just a bod

 

That’s right, he’s nothing now, down here

So wipe and dry that tumbling tear

If believe, you truly do

You’d be happy for the news!

 

He’s up there in your heaven, right?

And as you lay down, every night

You tell yourself “we’ll meet again”

But will you really, my old friend?

 

Okay let’s pause, and take a break

I know it’s hard to be awake

This tour is tough, it’s hard for me

To drive folks through reality

 

The truth is harsh, it doesn’t care

What color, skin, or crown you wear

These words offend you? Sacrilege?

Buy “ignorance is bliss” package

 

This tour, I say. it must go on

And money man, it pays the bondS

So let’s move on to our stop three

And talk about our friend, money

 

Here we have, right in our hands

The instrument, that rules our lands

Every single thing you do

Is to make more, more accrue

 

More and more until its thought

We can afford the life we want

Well what if way back, way back when

‘Fore money was invented, friend

 

They’d thought of something else, instead

Like I build houses, you bake bread

Existence without currency

I know its weird, this tour with me

 

Its in a world, where things are not

The status quo, these thing’s we’re thought

Hey, you know, I’m just your guide

That’s how it is, just let it slide

 

Pretend its normal, this new world

Cause every curl we have uncurled

Is hard to think of, yeah that’s right

Because you’ve learned one way, alright?

 

Conditioning, please don’t feel bad

But when you wake up, don’t be mad

These things we’ve taught you to believe

Are all an act, a just reprieve

 

Created rules, and laws you see

To contain the thought that’s free

But now my friends, you have a guide

I need support, this scheduled ride

 

We must end it, I decree

And bring back our humanity

There is a game, you know it’s true

And trust me, world, I need you

Pyramid

Pain

It fills my veins

Evades the remedies

Reaches all my extremities

A life of love so temporary, I allude

I opt instead for darkness, and solitude

Pen and pad are all I want, they’re all I need

Though I try to hide the pain, each day I grieve

Search for calm and peace of mind, a still reprieve

It will not matter now or then, the things that I achieve

The only thing that matters is creation, look and see what I did

Read and read and keep on reading, at the end you’ll see – my Pyramid

No I Say

You want an album? No I say

Cause I don’t rap, not any day

I just write, my words they say

Enough for you and me today

 

I get it, all these things I write

They make sense when you read at night

This world is filled with hate and fright

And reading lends a small respite

 

But when will this all change, I ask

Cause fixing this is my one task

I know I’m not the only one

Who wants to rise and get it done

 

I guess I’ll have to wait and see

And keep on writing, fervently

To change the world, its hard you see

No gun I need, just poetry

Tough Love

When you’re bored, don’t bitch at me

Just shut your trap and write, you dweeb

Don’t pout and whine and stare and blink

Just grab that pen and think and think

 

Come up with something folks will read

And sell it so your dog can feed

Don’t waste your time excusing the

Stops to productivity

 

Its not that hard, just look at me

This poem right here took two or three

Minutes to type, unless you need

To count the time I took to pee
Cause then its four, technically

But hey who’s counting? My point, you see

Is writing can come easily

If only you just sit…and think

Don’t Wait

Oftentimes, I’ll look to see

The person looking back at me

Watching through a hazy lens

At who that strange reflection is

 

Staring forward, several blinks

Is he the person that he thinks?

Does he do the things he speaks?

Is practice coming from the preach?

 

My eyes still glare, this man ahead

I’ll wonder what, that day, is said

Right now I live, and yet I dread

What memory, of me when dead

 

What mark have I bestowed upon

The family that I belong

I hope they say, when I’m a thought

That happiness is what he brought

 

Improved the lives, of all the men

The girls and kids, the children

For life is but a journey, yes

We walk and run, we talk and dress

 

We do the things we love to do

To make ourselves enjoy the dew

Every day, a precious gift

So smile wide, and heart uplift

 

This path is short, don’t waste your time

Just search and search until you find

The purpose you’ve been looking for

Unlock and open passion’s door

Free

Sitting, gazing, pondering

Watching, waiting, wondering

What things do others think at night?

What lights turn on, when shining bright?

 

Some will think of gentle breeze

Blinding true priorities

Truth is veiled, this life of fun

As fear resides behind the gun

 

Condemn them not, instead envy

And long for their reality

To think the things we wish to be

This mind, it pains and torments me

 

The words I write cannot express

But for my sake I shall digress

Question all, its not a sin

Your truth, the real, comes from within

Sincere

Hold on.

Wait.

What did you say?

Did I hear that right,

Or should you say it again?

I could have sworn

You’d minced up your word

Cause surely I didn’t

Just hear what I heard

Let me say something

Don’t twist this, today

I say what I mean

And I mean what I say

So if you are speaking

To me, or to them

You stand by those words

‘Cause I’ll remind you, my friend

So next you request

One to lend you an ear

Consider your words

And make them sincere.

The Tiki Torches: 1

“‘Ay Carl!”

“Wut?”

“Ya think this in’ll work?”

Strolling along the calamitous alleyways of the local Wal-Smart, Carl and Joe have a bit of difficulty deciding what torches to carry to their Klan march.

Plop

“There!” Joe shouts, proudly placing his newly acquired bug-deterrent torch in the basket, ready to check out.

“Now just you wait a tick,” Carl says, squinting his eyes as he pans the strangely smelling torch up and down. “I think we can do better’n that. That one ain’t gonna light much ‘a nothin!”

“Hell, you’re prolly right, Carl.” Joe says, scratching his head. “Well, shit on me and call me a skidmark, what’re we gonna do now?!”

“You hold it right there.” Carl says, matter-of-factly. I’mma fetch us a torch the resta the boys’ll be talkin ’bout for weeks.”

Exiting the aisle of bugly torch sticks, Carl takes several minutes before returning. Joe, meanwhile, stands next the Wal-Smart buggy, picking his nose, rolling boogers between his fingers.

“Ha!”

Suddenly, Carl jumps into the aisle again, a brand new torch in hand. It seems he has given up the bug repellent torch for a new one. A brilliant, highly flammable….tiki torch.

“This one’s gonna light up the night like you ain’t never seen!” Carl shouts to Joe, beaming at his new possession.

“Awwww boy, that thing sure is gonna make a lotta light!” Joe chirps, flinging his booger behind him so Carl doesn’t see it.

“Come on now. Let’s check out and join the resta the boys!”

The Words Behind the Words

meaning_of_music_emotion

Music.

Its one of our culture’s greatest creations. I think we can all agree that music can truly change the way we feel and perceive the world around us. It can be a catchy tune, somber melody, emotionally resounding lyrics or one of the many other components of a song –  our moods can shift like the ocean tide when we absorb good music.

Before I began my pursuit of a writing career, in hindsight I must admit that I never truly appreciated the creations of artists. Now though, my view of music has drastically evolved. For one, after entering the world of the arts, I discovered a newfound respect for anyone in the creative arena. We all know that creative endeavors aren’t easy, requiring a lot of thought and time – but my level of admiration has grown enormously now that I myself can empathize with the amount of passion, discipline, and commitment that these individuals maintain to provide us with the better things in life. More specifically as a writer, I’ve noticed, is that I now pay particular attention to song lyrics. I make every attempt to not only appreciate the words, but to genuinely perceive their purpose. Perhaps this sounds tacky, but there have been more times than I can count where I have literally been physically impacted when the meaning of a song finally clicks. Its a phenomenon very difficult to describe if one hasn’t experienced it themselves, so if you’d like a better explanation of what I’m referring to, Google the “Stendhal Effect”. Unless this has happened to you as well, of course.

In light of these points, I’d like to use this post as a running project to highlight some of the most significant lyrics I come across. My plan is to point out individual lines or verses that resound more than the rest. The ones that allow an artist’s real, unfiltered feelings to be viscerally exposed. On occasion I might add commentary to explain why I selected a specific lyric, but generally the words should speak for themselves.

So let’s get started.

 

Yes, there are two paths you can go by, but in the long run
There’s still time to change the road you’re on.

Led Zeppelin – Stairway to Heaven

Oh, but everybody thinks that everybody knows about everybody else.
Nobody knows anything about themselves, cause their all worried about everybody else.

Jack Johnson – Wasting Time

I have to comment here because of how powerful Jack’s writing is. Despite being known for whimsical hits like Bubble Toes, Banana Pancakes, and so on, Johnson is (IMO) one of the most somber, deeply insightful artists to have ever lived. If you read his lyrics, you’ll quickly notice his heart-wrenching views on humanity and how badly he wants a better world. Incidentally, he is constantly involved in philanthropy and other charitable endeavors. Truly one of the most genuine, good people we have.

You’ll be seeing a lot of him as this list goes on.

The message I stress: to make it stop, study your lessons
Don’t settle for less, even the genius asks his questions
Be grateful for blessings
Don’t ever change, keep your essence
The power is in the people and politics we address

Tupac Shakur – Me Against the World

One of rap’s greatest lyricists ever. The passion in his message is insanely deep.

Its a beautiful day,
Don’t let it get away.

U2 – Beautiful Day

Simple, right?

That’s me in the corner
That’s me in the spotlight

Losing my religion,
Trying to keep up with you

And I don’t know if I can do it
Oh no, I’ve said too much
I haven’t said enough.

R.E.M. – Losing My Religion

I am so fuckin’ sick and tired of the Photoshop
Show me somethin’ natural, like afro on Richard Pryor.

Kendrick Lamar – HUMBLE.

Another lyrical poet. Even though every rapper EVER brags about how “real” they are…Kendrick actually is. Mad respect for him and a huge personal inspiration.

Won’t admit what I already know
I’ve never been the best at letting go
I don’t wanna spend the night alone
Yes, I need you, and I need to.

Zedd feat. Alessia Cara – Stay

Because who couldn’t empathize with that?

There’s something in the stars, there’s something missing
We’re better off apart, cause I’m out here wishin’
That we can make it right, make it feel good
I’m running out of time, I’m running out of lies

Tell me lies
Fairytales of you and I
Tell me we can make it right
Pretend we’ll never die
Pretend we’re not telling lies

Tell Me Lies – Deorro

A depressingly real song about the dynamic of so many relationships. Check this one out if you have time, its actually a pretty cool tune.

Insidious is blind inception
What’s reality with all these questions?
Feels like I missed my alarm and slept in 
Broken legs but I chase perfection
These walls are my blank expression
My mind is a home I’m trapped in
And it’s lonely inside this mansion

Yo my mind is a house with walls covered in pain
See my problem is I don’t fix things
I just try to repaint

Cover ’em up, like it never happened
Say I wish I could change. Are you confused?
Come upstairs and I’ll show you what I mean

This room’s full of regrets, just keeps getting fuller it seems
The moment I walk in to it is the same moment that I wanna leave
I get sick to my stomach every time I look at these things
But it’s hard to look past when this is the room where I sleep

And I regret the fact that I struggled trying to find who I am
And I lie to myself and say I do the best that I can
Shrug it off like it ain’t nothing like it’s out of my hands
Then get ticked off whenever I see it affecting my plans

NF – Mansion

NF is a young Christian rapper whose up and coming. This entire song is ridiculously heartfelt, and tells the story of how a history of being abused in a broken home led to his tortured mind. Google the lyrics – your jaw will drop at how creative and powerful his writing is. The song is bad ass too.

Oh there ain’t no rest for the wicked
Money don’t grow on trees
I got bills to pay, I got mouths to feed
There ain’t nothing in this world for free
Oh no, I can’t slow down, I can’t hold back
Though you know, I wish I could
Oh no there ain’t no rest for the wicked
Until we close our eyes for good

Cage the Elephant – Ain’t No Rest for the Wicked

This song is why the original Borderlands has one of gaming’s best trailers.

I only see my goals, I don’t believe in failure
Cause I know the smallest voices, they can make it major

Lukas Graham – 7 Years

I absolutely love this line.

I’m fresh to death, I’m in the zone
I checked my head, but no one’s home
The mood is right, the party’s on
Looks like tonight, I’ll be drinking alone
Fuck everyone else, I’mma party by myself
Do this shit all night, I don’t need nobody else
Fuck everyone else, I’mma party by myself
Higher than a kite with nobody but myself

Blowing up my cell but I don’t think I’mma answer!

Party by Myself – Hollywood Undead

Because this song is hilarious and great for the pregame while you’re getting ready.

Why don’t the newscasters cry when they read about people who die? 
At least they could be decent enough to put just a tear in their eyes 
Mama said 
It’s just make believe 
You cant believe everything you see 
So baby close your eyes to the lullabies 
On the news tonight

Jack Johnson – The News

This song is about how much BS “the world” feeds us, and how its numb to the real atrocities occurring throughout.

Slow down everyone 
You’re moving too fast 
Frames can’t catch you when 
You’re moving like that 

Jack Johnson – Inaudible Melodies

I assume that third line is a metaphor for how we live so fast-paced that we’d show up blurry on a photograph (pretty creative analogy). But his point is to slow down, relax, and enjoy life. Good advice.

Ever since I been alone I’ve been thinking back
Listenin’ to your autotune in my mike-phone making us laugh
You know the past was a blast but it never could last
Pretty sad when your love got a separate path
Used to read when there’s nothing to do
But it’s funny, doing nothin’s never nothin’ when it’s somethin’ with you

Lil’ Dicky – Molly

People know Dicky for being the “funny” rapper (a white Jewish kid, go figure lol). But this is one of few “serious” songs, and its sad AF. Its about the girl he loved and dated prior to his rise to fame, and how it destroyed their relationship. Its clear how much she meant (and still means) to him when you read the lyrics. That last line though…

Brendon Urie’s part is amazing, on a side note (lead singer of Panic! At the Disco).

Everyone knows what went down
Because the news was spread all over town
And fact is only what you believe
And fact and fiction work as a team
It’s almost always fiction in the end
That content begins to bend
When context is never the same 

I was reading a book 
Or maybe it was a magazine 
Suggestions on where to place faith 
Suggestions on what to believe 
But I read somewhere 
That you’ve got to beware 
You can’t believe anything you read 
But the good Book is good 
And that’s well understood 
So don’t even question 
If you know what I mean 

Jack Johnson – It’s All Understood

This song is about the prevalence of gossip a superficiality in pop culture, and how most of what people believe is grounded in baseless rumor. Just another one of his sad observations of the world. And not to critique religion, but I like how that last line (which is brilliantly delivered as if it were an ellipses) is a subtle slight to blind faith.

 

Thanks so much for reading!

To be continued…

Episode 7: Cultural Evolution

Episode 7! This week we talk about how far we’ve come as a species, focusing our talk on cultural evolution!

Episode 5: Division and Unification (Part 1)

For episode 5, the group chats about the current state of affairs in the United States in regard to how divided we are – outlining possible causes and solutions to the issue. Guest appearances: Chad Grindstaff and Ryan Fennel.

 

Episode 3: Institutional Reform (Part 2)

For episode 3, Johnny and Matt sit down with Virginia Corbitt, who gives insight into our education system as it was in the 1970s as opposed to the system we have today.

Will Burkitt, who contributed to Episode 1 on Purpose, rejoins as the discussion continues on to institutions such as education, criminal justice, media, government, and organized religion.

As institutional reform is such a deep and important issue, episode 3 of the show is split into two hour-long segments.

 

 

Episode 3: Institutional Reform (Part 1)

For episode 3, Johnny and Matt sit down with Virginia Corbitt, who gives insight into our education system as it was in the 1970s as opposed to the system we have today.

Will Burkitt, who contributed to Episode 1 on Purpose, rejoins as the discussion continues on to institutions such as education, criminal justice, media, government, and organized religion.

As institutional reform is such a deep and important issue, episode 3 of the show is split into two hour-long segments.