Age: 15, Grade: 10
School Name: Berkeley Carroll School, Brooklyn, NY
Educators: Erika Drezner, Rafael Sanchez
The Name Of This Collection Is He
You Should Play More Bass
Bass is a window to the loud harsh whims of society.
We follow charts and scales,
play hollow fiddles of independence.
Ballets and ballads of monogomy and matrimony
present the American dream.
Well maybe I slept too long on that one.
See, cause the only dream I see is a nightmare.
The lucky few to reap and climb life’s ladders flatter no one but themselves with their boujee golden platters.
And still you can head on down to Compton lots and L.A. bridges,
where sparkles of urine and shit dot the ground,
yet they’re treated better by the crowned clowns,
than the mounds of the homeless.
Ain’t no shelter, only fresh pounds.
Jim Crow ain’t gone, he just serving time.
It’s a circle jerk chain of corporations patting themselves on the back.
Money can’t buy happiness but it can sure as hell buy the weak.
Every worker bee’s having a ménage à trois with ignorance and thirst,
with satiation leading to nothing but pain.
We are all only 8th notes on this opera of a mortal coil,
stupid mobs with Oedipus complexes towards our captors.
Oh, how I love the creation of muscle memory.
The closest thing to robotic perfection.
Little error occurs with the mindless repetition of a machine,
and yet it is here that you can turn your focus from accuracy to creative improvisation.
Only after mastering a chart can you add your own voice,
and massacre perfection.
You can run in the dark with no thought, as long as you know your own feet,
and how to feel the ground below you.
Oh my little lamb darlin’ run.
Bass is a dark, strong instrument.
To hold one is to hold a screaming child.
Gasping for air under your crushing grasp.
You must extend your body, wrap your grip around its neck,
And hold it tenderly and tight.
You cannot rush brilliance, in bass.
The more you push your body, the more it will push back.
You must accept and embrace the possibility of painful failure.
Submit to the rhythm and take breaths before you begin.
Take good care of yourself, and worship your body as a sacred vessel.
You actually have a beautiful groove in your heart.
take that back.
I don’t know if I’d say beautiful, as I don’t really even know who you are,
So I’m just gonna assume you’re mildly average
with an okay groove.
Like, you can kinda vibe to it, but it’s nothing special.
Do not hide it, but rather, focus in on it, and welcome it with open arms,
You mild, wild ruffian. It’s all you own.
Repeat your beats and plucks until you get the sound you want,
and bark a binding aria.
Regulate your pace so as to not exhaust yourself, but maintain a fierce,
bold streak of notes.
Drown in the toxic trance of your own creation.
Breathe not oxygen, but suffocate in the colors of struck sweet steel.
When you are distant from your playing, and your music is your nature
you have found your peak.
The truth is yours, you Icarus.
Just don’t drive the world into the sun.
I Might Just Be My Father’s Son
23 chromosomes turn the world on its axis,
But my world runs on child support.
They tell you not to hate strangers,
but I’d rather curse this imagined amalgamation of my mind
than piss on a family tree I’ll never own.
You know what I share with my daddy?
My mother always said he was good at figuring out how things worked.
You know, taking shit apart, and pulling it back together.
He couldn’t build a family, but god, could he build a stereo.
A good real good man.
He ran away from the Marines.
A real good man.
He screwed his education, and the lives of pretty much everyone he loved.
But for everything he did to us,
everything he put my mother through,
we got the same thick blood.
Now I can slick my hair back,
and I can beat my jaw and pinch my face
until it don’t look nothing like him.
But even if I slit my wrist he’ll own every last drop of my blood.
My father killed my daddy.
He murdered the man who raised me.
The man who told me I would be strong,
and that he was proud of who I’d become.
He stabbed him, again and again,
and sliced the father I loved into strips of eggshell white envelopes.
Until all I had left was a piece of paper telling me how much he had yet to pay.
What price do you pay for murder?
At the very least his shadow could never hurt me.
Shadows tend to grow weaker the further away from them you stand.
Yes, I think myself my father’s son,
but I will be more than he ever was.
For I have no tears to shed for a man who will never reach his prime.
Recipe for Attraction
Manmade Moon Man cries
Cast a cheese tear from your eyes
And surprise my frowns away
Devil doll maul my cell wall
And cram my flesh with clammy crawls
Frey the splayed tendrils of my ego
And undress my sprawled demeanor
Drown my downtown clown cone spite
Spike my 5-hydroxytryptamine
Pull my tap water
tacky laffy taffy
And consume my sin and bones, starting with my lips
Slit my slithered selfish throat
As you rake away my flaws
With bitter oaths of shrill protections
professed from midnight imperfections
Possession lust and mind dissection
Just to make a (thin) connection
Should I be blind to misery
There is No Point to Reading This.
Neon fights of lights and frights
Powdered cakey corpse decay
Smear of icing on my face
The glaze of my flayed gaze
Inverted hurted sculpted hearts
Blood pumps through
Lick my smokey froth
And teach me your sweet rhythms
I am but a minstrel.
A phantom of an artist
Spewing worldly nonsense like a poet.
An empty philosopher trying to tie lines together
with the stillborn glue of rhythm and rhyme.
Milk is a strange and bitter fruit
Grown from dancing prancing plants
Happy clouds and fluff and feathers
Cold raw meat and rotten leather
Minds of glass absorb
or thoughts of future pain
homebrewed in the rain
Cattle battle over brittle hooves and bullhorn cabarets
But unlike neutered kits and pups, cows are bred and never spayed
like records on a sickly saw
sliced through with a knife
from their nape to maw
Sour milk’s no fruit of life