I was born level red, white and blue
Near cotton fields beneath the sun
In sight of factories and railroad tracks
Next to cornfields and grains of wheat
The smell of car exhausts and taco vendors
And in hospitals while cameras said
I outta be in lights and pictures!
Before I could vote I enlisted
Barely knew who God was
Until I spoke His name in an oath
What was I getting into?
It felt a little weird declaring
Allegiance to a cause so big
All I could see was saying good-bye
Leaving home felt very lonely.
I became a number with others
We became bald headed brothers
Even sisters looked like green us
Learning to march in formation like us
Running, jumping and climbing
Until drill was just a P.T. version of us
And a weapon with digits
With brass metal jackets
Became close friends with us.
We graduated in boots to trucks to planes
Hummers to tanks to choppers to parachutes
Meals ready-to-eat, phone calls and emails
Framed time with our significant others
In convenient slots for sleep and feeling
Something besides uncertainty
And that nagging bug called boredom.
And then the slow descent to Hell began
Doom was howling in the distance
It laughed while we got unpacked
Waiting for us to play the game
Kill or be killed they used to call it
Heavy metal come with me dreams
The boogie man biting at the bit
Hard up for fresh meat FNG's like us.
Devils in the dark and daylight
Got their wish when we arrived on time
Whores who would serve as virgins
For the big bang from behind without lube
Who didn't care if we liked it or not
He was red hot ready for us
And screamed hello in shells at our faces!
I remember day turned into chaos
And z-sounds whizzed past my head
Striking one of my buddies
Hard as a baseball bat that had no shame
A home run on an artery or bones crack
That dude stopped moving
He was breathing just a minute ago.
I ran like hell to not be a repeat
Danger became a broken record of battle
As I charged, its sick sense of humor
Spread smiles and rage porn on faces
All looking at me: WTF?
Murder on their mind gripped my hands
“Your flight is canceled, sucker!”
In battle, Death decides departures.
When I woke up and saw home
A thousand yard stare took over
Quiet was alien to me somehow
And laughter was so damn surreal
TV's, supermarkets and air conditioning
Who dreamed up this crap?
Did I come from here to die over there?
On what level does this make sense?
Guilt demanded a bottle for me
“I could drink or pop in happy colors,”
Doctor Everything Will Be Alright said
God willing it'll make the pain go away
Instead, I stayed awake from sleeping
Because in darkness the boogie man was there
Waiting to steal what's left of my sanity.
I watched the roof tops for snipers
And doorways for trip wires
People arguing over silly things
Have no idea what a good day was
Suddenly, suicide seemed painless
In war, if you get to the end of a day
It's just a sign you might see tomorrow.
Innocence is the first to go in war, then
Anything you saw before, ate before
Screwed before was just a fantasy
Reality wants nothing of this so
Something more sinister and ugly comes
With blood, screams and shouting
“Request fire mission on this position
Now, GODDAMN IT! OVER!!!”
Strangely enough I awoke on a street at night
Before the Sun dared show itself
An angel in red, white and blue light
Loaded me inside, smiling
Did I lose something, I wondered
Why is the sky so dark now?
Somebody please tell me
How did I undo so many layers
Only to be alone on Level Black?
Burden of the Black Man
Brought in bonds to foreign shores,
The pride of Africa was enslaved
Unjustly for white man's work,
The burden of the black man
Priced at three fifths,
Sold as property bearing
Values less than human.
The beat down of suffering
Does not dignify bigotry
Anymore than the whip,
The noose or the brass jacket
Inspires civil obedience
Slavery is a yoke
Fitted in many forms for denial.
The song in the field
And the rap from the hood
Do not sound off
Merely as solos of suffering.
In the houses of God
The cries of the heart
Reach up to Heaven for justice!
Politicians profess lies as truth
The poetry of the black man
Recites the literature of conscience!
A downcast soul for ages,
He rises from captivity,
Sweating three times more
Just to achieve equality!
Liberty is more than an idea
It is existence and action allowed
Its full and equal measure
Opposes and exposes
The bane of an open field
Forbidding things to grow
In the land of tyranny!
When no one is allowed
Atmosphere to rise above
The gravity of getting gun downed
Lowers the legacy of a life of liberty.
The burden of the black man
Carries the conscience of freedom denied
And complete equality unpaid.
The air celebrates you
Whenever you appear
Perfume awakening the silence
The music of discovery
Applauds your arrival
Begs my breath to pause
Reel in my broken rhythm
And revel in your motion
Open an unexpected paradise
Unveiling uncommon kindness
You unleash on me
Front row audience
A living work of art
You compel me
With limitless gaze
To abandon all views lesser
The alluring double universe of your eyes
In precious gravity
Cherish more and marvel
Your luscious, lyrical lines
Soften my selfish edges
By stepping outside the boundaries to share
The aroma outside my own aura
Your luminous atmosphere
Decorates my grateful senses
With you, I surf in generous, oceanic joy
Beauty blossoms beyond you
Your spoken blush of quiet petals
Tender, thoughtful and touching
Radiate your sweet regard on everything
Life once meaningless and without expression
Ripples and expands around me
In you, shameful soil
Turns into sensuous landscape
Amorous pilgrim feasts on a delectable world
I savor the nectar of your soul
Pouring out to quench others
Revealing real beauty
This is the true, sweet flavor
My heart shapes lips to kiss:
You are everything to me beautiful.
Write Your Verse Out Loud
When defeat beats the crap out of you
Over and over again,
You avoid any pretense
And nonsense about meaning
You say what you really mean.
You abandon the futility of insanity,
Of pain without reason
And let the bandages fall
So blood can write the hurt away.
You stop white washing reality
And bear your soul
Naked and not ashamed.
When poverty doubles down on you
Taste becomes a lost luxury
Only the wealthy can afford.
Bitterness and fatigue
Overwhelm the will of tired feet
And hands so heavy wear out from use.
Sacrifices speak of delays
Satisfaction put aside to pursue
And emptiness ensues without end.
Suddenly silence becomes
A sanctuary and an oasis
Where letting go sets you free.
When you stop giving a damn about it
Approval and conformity
Lose their appeal in favor of solitude.
Owning personal authority
Relieves the tensions outsiders
Bring with false boundaries and words.
You begin to see reality is
A recipe you make your way
And the universe awaits your prose.
Your life pens your own story
Free of quiet regret and apology
So write your verse out loud.