Cloud Cover

====Draft 1=========

Today i raced against a rain cloud,

Its dark underbelly sliding across the glass skylight,

sweating drops before the downpour,

as i weaved threading my line between dreams, 470s and icons.

For a while we kept pace as the sky dimmed,

setting the depressingly perfect north western mood.

I could hear the cackle of a grunge guitar scratch its way through the sky,

as my muffler grumbled it’s melody out of key to the tune of the thunder.

Come nightfall the grey will be painted over with black,

still hanging a heavy lead thickness to a slippery oil sky.

And maybe i’ll look up long enough,

stare long enough,

to see the stars beyond the weepy cotton veil.

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stream of consciousness 1

In the context of getting things done. I’m getting close to 30. A few of my friends have passed away, my family is aging and because i cant afford the airfare, I’ve missed a few weddings and funerals. The midlife non-crisis I’ve got to stop and think about where I am, how my current life happened and where I’m going. When i was younger I thought i would have a clearer picture of where I am, however I can’t help feeling like I will be stuck with these feelings of uncertainty until i die.

Granted, I live in a new environment, experience events differently, may be a little wiser about the darker sides of people, but I haven’t found my “center.” The grounding portion of myself that has remained the same since birth and will be with me till i die.

Real life is more immediate here, consequences for choices define lives and for the economically depressed in Phnom Penh there is no mobility.  It doesn’t help that I’ve gotten used to seeing children selling flowers at 2AM. Or that I’ve begun to ignore the old women begging on the streets as they stand just beyond the invisible line where restaurant workers shoo them away.

The other day I saw a man gripping his child as he lay lifeless in his arms. I like so much of the traffic  were bystandards watching a stain on the pockmarked roads in Cambodia. What is to be done? What comfort can one offer when traffic accidents are spectacles. The roads here are unforgiving at night and I wonder why people gamble so fiercely when the odds are not in their favor with cows, dogs, bandits and no lights. The sight of dead bodies are up on facebook here in Cambodia, locals have a love of the grotesque.

These thoughts persist, and I have no idea how I will write my spoken word piece for my dad who passed away 2 years ago. I expect myself to get over it, I hope I get over it, i thought i was over it, but when I dream and he’s there i cant help but wonder if its just part of my subconscious forming him or his actual ghost.

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Famous

=Draft 1=

Who the hell do we think we are?

think about the last time when someone asked what you do,

before they were finished talking,

You already knew exactly what you were going to say.

The 50 words or less streamlined self-narrative answer rehearsed and simplified to reflect your goals in life and current job state.

Maybe you went for that humble beginning self-made man.

Or the self-aware artist who is just so in touch with the realness of life that your existence is on another level.

When were we tricked into thinking our bios were the truth.

How did our lives become one long job interview?

It’s when our friends became our business partners and fans.

When our social lives became promotion time.

Come to my event, fundraiser, show, buy my album, club fundraiser, release party, buy my chapbook, T-shirt, support my kickstarter.

In this day in age where we depend upon recommendations,

And force ourselves to smile while everyone else wears a plastic mask,

We are judged upon by facebook likes, comments, twitter followers, and how many people read our blog.

We have to co-exist with people we hate and fall out with friends because we just cant have honest discussions anymore.

People get hurt, and its not All Good, when keeping it real means not telling the truth.

Listening to sirens calls that feed the ego while we  can’t check our friends because they check out when they don’t like what they hear.

Listen.

Maybe at lunch time we need recess again,

because I may be angry at you, but after i hit you in the head during dodgeball,

yeah, we’re cool again.

Resist the Narcissus in all of us,

and ignore the rippled reflecting pool image of ourselves.

so sit back,

lets get back,

to laugh about our failures.

cuz everybody poops,

and all we are in this existence is star stuff and dust.

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Playlist

With a little help from 112, Alicia Keys, Al Green, Aaliyah, Babyface, Bootsy Collins, Bryan Adams, D’Angelo, Daphne Loves Derby, donnel jones, dru Hill, Earth Wind and Fire, Eydie Gormé and Los Panchos, Etta james, Frankie J, Genuine, Incubus, Ingrid Michaelson, INJO, The Isley Brothers, Jamiroquai, Jason Mraz, Junior,  Jack Johnson, Jodice, John Legend, Marvin Gaye, Maxwell, Lauren Hill, Michael Bubble, Michael Jackson, R. Kelly, boys 2 men, , Roger, Mint Condition, Mayer Hawthorne, Musiq Soulchild, Neo, New Eddition, Norah Jones, Passion, Ramsey Lewis, Rufus and Chaka Khan, Rama Duke,  Robin Thicke, Sharon Jones Dap kings, LL Cool J, Stevie Wonder, Sade, Silk, Shai, Seal, The Cure, Tamia, Temptations, Tevin Campbell, Tyrese, Zapp & Roger, UNV ===Draft 1 ===========================================================================

“Hey Lover”

“Can we talk” “You Should Know” “What’s Going on”

 “Don’t Know Why” “When It Hurts so Bad” “Every Time I Close my Eyes”

 “Come and Talk to Me” “Do You Remember the Time” “I Found Love”

“Just Can’t Believe” “We’re Not Makin Love no More” “These Foolish Things” “All About Our Love” “Complicated” “Lost Without You” “You Know Wassup”  

“Hey Lover”

 “Mama Used to Say” “Story of my Life” “More than Words” “Love and Happiness” “Doo wa Diddy” “Crusin” “Cruisin wet remix” “As” “You” “Just like Heaven” “Ribbons in the Sky”

 “Where did my Baby Go” “I’snt she Lovely” “My Cherie Amore”

“Freak Me Baby” “Turn the Lights Down Low” “Turn Me On” “Shorty got Her Eyes on Me” “You” “Pretty Brown eyes” “I’ll Make Love to you” “Love you Down” “On Bended Knee”

  “I Wanna Sex You Up” “So Anxious” “I Second that Emotion” “Feel Like Making Love” “Brown Sugar”

“Save Room” “We Rise” “Between the Sheets”

 “One Mo’Gin” “Oh Me oh My” “Ooo Baby Baby”

 “Isn’t she Lovely” “Spend a Lifetime” “Only You” “The One I Gave My Heart To” “Is This Pain or Pleasure” “When it Hurts So Bad” “Killing Me Softly”  

“Tell Me Something Good Sweet Thing” “I’m Yours” “I Wanna Love You” “Computer Love” “Me and Those Dreamin Eyes of Mine” “Still”

“For Once in My Life” "I Was Made to Love Her” “Natural Born Lover” “One In a Million” “Stellar”, “Stellar Acoustic”

“Step in the Name of Love”

“Step in the Name of Love”

“Step in the Name of Love Radio Edit Remix”

  “Can We Talk” “Sweet Lady”

 “I’d Rather Be With You” “Teach You a Lesson” “These are the Times” “A Change Gona Come”  “I Should Be” “5 Steps” “By Your Side”

 “These Foolish Things” “Love You Down” “Tired of Being Alone” “Lost Without You” “Stranger On the Shore of Love” “Crazy Over You”

“Sexy Love”

“If I Ain’t Got You” “So Sick” “Yester-me Yester-you Yesterday”

 “Nothing Even Matters” “After the Love Has Gone” “I Don’t Know Why” “Stingy” “Weak” “Knocks Me off My Feet” “Sabor a Mi” “Same O’l G”

 “Hey Lover”

“Love is a Losing Game” “Just Ain’t Gonna Work Out “ “Just My Imagination” “Guilty by Suspicion” “The Way I Am” “Got to Give it Up” “Everything She Wants” Simple Starving to be Safe” “What You Won’t Do For Love” “It Don’t Have to Change” “Be Alright” “All in Love is Fair” “Nothing Left to Say” “At Last” “Walk Alone”

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=Draft 1=

The blank page eats away at my thoughts.

gorging itself on my rejected words.

Chomp chomp chomp, that doesn’t Rhyme.

num num num, sounds are so in articulate.

cookie cookie cookie, repetition empties from the page as a cheap space filler.

The vast void of silence swallows my voice,

twisting sound in a swirl as deep and black as my cold dark americano.

 

Poem for the Lost

=Draft 1=

I write a poem for the lost,

the dazed and confused drifters,

the misused minds who’s thought traces have been erased by mental frustrations,

what a situation when our fears have become more realized than our dreams,

our schemes have been cut in half,  

 reach for the stars became,

reach for what’s easy,

the pipe,

the bottle,

the women we use who smoke us,  

caught in a storm of self-medication,

the prescription that was written was once a week,

but we easily make devils of ourselves,

standing on our own shoulder saying "Come on, one more hit."

hanging over bowls throwing up our bowels,

we’re on our knees searching for a second of clarity,

so we can stumble back home again to do it all over again,  

 how did we get here?

cuz im writing this poem for the lost,

the seekers who haven’t reached their destination,

the sidetracked smokers victims of their own self gratification.  

See guilt drops us further into the cycle,

and like an echo we use what we abuse when we feel bad about what we’re using,

and the self-abuse cuz of overuse- gives us feelings of stagnating,

settling us into the destructive behavior that we’ve been fighting,

while the guilt washes over us when we’re drowning in our whining.  

I’m with you writing this poem for the lost,

because none of us are beyond redemption,

and now that i’ve got your attention,

lets get the hell out of here.

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the path

= 3rd Draft=

I want to walk the earth,

searching my rebirth on a trail of stones,

using my feet to seek with their own intuition while my head plays tag with the clouds,

My thoughts exchange stories with like minds as they pass from Phnom Penh to Bangkok,

I stock amnathyst rocks so drunkness doesn’t steal my sanity,

drowned with cement blocks Angkor drinks it down dollar by dollar.

While i’m escaping fake smiles  from females who retail their bodies hour by hour,  

Hold my hand cuz I’m catching contrails of passing planes,

so my mind can lift from the foam,

and the smog,

and monitization of everything and everyone where law and bodies and lives and are bought and sold-out to the highest bidder.  

i need to take some time away from JLO and Pitbull,

cuz everytime a club head bobs to the tunes to his tracks,

an angel of inspiration Dies from the repetition of a fake ass musician,

My decision still stands no matter how many times your song says it,

I will not get on the floor,

get on the floor,

get on the floor for your terrible trend setting,

reason why the terrorists hate us,

brain rotting soul stealing falsified objectified stupified missapropriation of hip Hop,  

I want to stretch my legs,

so much that they match my shadow during dusk,

so i can feel what it’s like to sit on a sunset,

See my stride makes fools of map makers,

life takers of so many refugees who’s detention resulted in death,

Subject to soldiers who hide behind sunglasses and bars,  

the way forward is blocked by boarders and check points,

the way back the way back is red tape held at gun point,  

When it counted the middle path requires the right papers,

The 8 fold path was plastered in a skyscraper with soldiers providing security at the door.

so tell me your 4 nobel truths about why we have so much money in asia,

and all we can do is build a Golden Buddha of a man who rejected the material.  

Do not overrate what you have received, nor envy others. -Unless they are carrying cash.

Hatred does not cease by hatred, but only by love; this is the eternal rule. -Unless they are Cambodian, or Vietnamese, or Thai.

Holding on to anger is like grasping a hot coal with the intent of throwing it at someone else; you are the one who gets burned. -Unless you got the bigger guns.

See the truth was already written on simple papers,

but golden statues blind as much as they  dazzle,

However many scriptures you see,

however many quotations you speak, 

it’s empty without action.

I want to rest,

lay down on on the jagged horizon sculpted by mountains,

taking all of your burdens,

draft them on paper,

and scatter the worried ash onto the wind.

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S 21

My latest performance, it was the most difficult piece I’ve had to write. It was written prior to moving to Cambodia. Once i actually visited the S21 facility  and met one of the 4 survivors the weight of the place really changed my outlook.  

Draft 9

In 1969 we sent a man to the moon.

Led Zepplin released his first album without the thought of getting a reality show.

The Beatles gave their last performance and Joh Lennon went north to release "Give Peace a Chance."

 I said in 1969 we sent a man to the moon baby.

Bobby brown was born, for better or for worse,

the Brady Bunch premiered on ABC and Ohio State defeated USC at the Rose Bowl.

 In 1969 Woodstock defines a generation while Jimi Hendrix redefines the Star Spangled Banner.  

On the other side of the planet 1969 is marked with the first bomb bay doors opening a new era for Cambodia.

Blasting through fields blasting through huts American forces announce themselves with the whistle of a bomb.

while the pilot listens to purple haze.  

"Scuse me while i kiss the sky."

After a 4 year romp through the jungles of Cambodia Kissinger Sobers up from his bomb binge.

The Napalm shots have worn off and now Nixon takes the walk of shame right out of Cambodia.

But not before giving birth to their love child, the Khmer Rouge.

And like the last helicopter out of Saigon, they’re gone.  

Leaving behind an orphan of hate alone in a social experiment playground.  

Rolling back the clock to year zero,

Pol Pot’s Khmer rouge bleed from the jungles to the streets.

Forcing anyone that’s every picked up a book to work in the fields.  

 A word to the wise, keep your head down and your story straight.

When they ask for a confession,

give them nothing.

These are women and children,

who slaughter women and children.  

Music has left this land,

the guitar string leaves it’s home on the fret board to find itself wrapped around the neck of an eight year old girl.

The sound of music replaced by the drone of propaganda.  

"To keep you is no bennefit, to destroy you is no loss"

"To keep you is no bennefit, to destroy you is no loss"

"To keep you is no bennefit, to destroy you is no loss"  

 Fate is then delt like the ace of spades  

You, you’re a doctor? Get in the truck.

You, you’re a student? Follow him to the truck.

What do you do? Your a farmer step over here.

You with the glasses, get in the truck.  

All along they send a trail of tears to the end.  (11 sylabyls)

Footprints dressed in red, (5)

led down to the doorway of mis-education, (12)

as the watchtower comes up ahead.   (9)

A Photo is captured in silence, (9)

Class punishment will put them in their places. (11)

Lined against the wall a shutter snapps, (11)

smiles have left these people’s faces, (8)

Hot unit cold unit they crack skulls to steal secrets. (11)

forced to finger kin, (8)

families embrace in mass graves with no caskets, (12)

as soon as a brother dies, a sister is brought in.  (13)

screams echo the empty hallways,

as nails are ripped from flesh,

the prisoners cry puddles of tears,

fearing who will be next.  

And Every day this circus of horror continues,

away from the minds of Americans that started the show.

The price of war is paid far from home.

But the words on the prisoner’s lips echo.  

There must be some kinda way out of here,

Said the joker to the thief,

there’s too much confusion,

I cant get no relief.  

 Never again became a broken promise to the people stranded in S-21.  

In 1969 we sent a man to the moon.

in 2012 I hope we can save a child from a death camp.  

Words and Weapons

A room of 9 students,

silent, cautious and careful with their words.

I thought this was going to be a program where adults talked and students listened.

The system is laid out like dried squid in the sun.

Student’s listen, adults teach, students are only there to please adults.

You will recieve an A from me if you do what I say.

What we have programed our youth to be?

Compliant, receptacles for knowledge.

And that knowledge dumps right out after class is over.

Not here,

Not on the corner of 1st and Elm where fresh fruit is sold on the street and we pack ourselves into a room with windows.

We break into minds and steal the secrets so closely guarded giving that experience back to the people.

They speak as Robin hoods giving their own wealth through words back to the poor.

No flashhiders will muzzle the barrels of their guns because the heat is too strong.

Lips part as words reflect the soul inside, THIS is what education should be about.

Life and what you make of it.

(revise and smooth out)

So that kids when asked what they want to be when they grow up answer I want to be RICH.

When kids asked what they want to be when they grow up answer I want to be SOMEBODY.

9 students turn into 7 Fierce minds,

who’s truth cannot be denied.

the myth is that the world tells you who you are, we answer that truth lies within.

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I love my work

This is one of my first spoken word pieces. I wanted to post this today because I’m going to be performing it tonight at an event.

I don’t like performing it because it does bring me to the edge and sometimes to tears. And that’s why i want to post it so I won’t have to perform it as much and the girl’s story in the piece can get more exposure.

================================================================================

I love my work,

but sometimes reality can get too heavy.

I started my hour and a half commute like every day.

Driving to the station, taking the train then biking to the office.

My morning began by reading essays from highschoolers applying for scholarships to Nara Bank.

The Rubric, spelling punctuation and organization.

Immediately I felt like something was wrong.

Spelling, punctuation and organization.

No where was it written that we actually look for the content of these essays,

Or peak into the soul of these students.

Spelling punctuation and organization were god,

So writing a safe essay about sunshine and rainbow’s the American dream, patriotism and hard work with PERFECT Grammar.

Would be defined as the winner.

I am skeptical by nature so I approach these essays with distance and mockery,

Because I know that half of what goes into a scholarship application… is bullshit.

I am in a position of power where what I write down can determine if these young gifted minds will receive the money they need for school.

Their futures rest in my hands, and they will never meet me.
I read stories of sacrifice and triumphs against all odds,

I also read a lot of bullshit.

But one story sticks with me.

This application is written from a girl in Queens,

She has a single mother who takes care of her and their annual income is $8,700 a year.

That includes rent, that includes utilities, that includes food.

Her story unfolds before me.

Since she was 3 she has been molested by her father.

The man charged with protecting and providing for his little girl took advantage of her dependence upon him.

Instilling within her fear and mistrust of any man that would approach her,

Wondering if he too would force himself upon her.

You see, oppressors don’t always have to be rich.

The social worker assigned to her case only worsened the situation.

The mother who could only speak Korean had to translate through her 15 year old daughter.

Unfortunately it’s still PC to make fun of ACCENTS.

so the social worker who has the ENGLISH ONLY complex laughs her way right out of the case,

dismissing it because this 15 year old girl waited too long to tell anybody.

A 15 year old girl waited too long to tell the authorities that she has been molested by a man that terrifies her.

The man who is waiting for her to come home,

The man who sleeps 4 feet away from her bed.

The girl dreams about escaping and going to college.

She dreams of what that education can bring to her and what life would be like WITHOUT Fear.

About liberating herself from her situation and not having to live in poverty anymore.

She has kept her grades up DESPITE EVERYTHING.

And Achieved more than what most would even attempt.

As my eyes reach the end of the page she asks for help,

Because school isn’t free,

As it used to be.

She says Help me,

And I want to do more.

I want to reach through the page to break into her world just to hold her and tell her,

“Everything will be alright,”

and I want to believe it.

I want to beat the shit out of the man who touched her with his filthy hands,

I want to send that fucking social worker to Iran where speaking English could get you killed.

I want to put her mother up in a loft in J-town where her biggest worry would be what color to paint the walls.

I want to send this girl to any school she wants with enough money so that she will never have to worry about bills or starving again.

I want to wash away all of her pain and give her memories from a happy childhood because she never had one.

I want to tell her to her face that she is a queen from queens,

And she has rocked her crown every day that she continues to struggle and breathe.

But I can’t ,

Because I’m 3 thousand miles away.

And my job requires me to give a grade based on spelling punctuation and organization.

So I give her the highest score possible and send it with the hope that the next person to read her story will look past the Rubric and into this girls heart.

To see what I saw,

To be moved by words that pierced the soul.
I find comfort in believing that her fight for life has trained her to beat anything that life throws her way.
And I hope that the next man that she meets,

Will do right by her,

That he will support her and give her the love,

That her father was supposed to.

Then Perhaps, some form of justice will have prevailed.

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