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by tape loop

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Cops hide behind the bushes of busy highways like cockroaches planting themselves in the shadow pathways of your home. Danger has an ego. It disguises itself in comfort, shifts restlessly in the folds, and waits for acknowledgement. Lights on. Antennas up. Instantly, you realize you don’t have the privilege of not being fearful. Immediately, you sit up straight and your palms start sweating. Clutching the now slip-stained handle of a steering wheel as you try to remember how much weight your foot can hold, how many times you’ve slammed your shoes to the floor, how easy it is to confront death. Instead of you killing the bug, the bug kills you. And all of this murder reminds you of when you were young and the Bible told you “thou shall not kill.” Thou shall not kill, I guess, unless it is a mosquito on your baby’s forehead: The flight of thin wings resting after a wind-weary search for flesh. In that moment, you become executioner: A quick palm smack brings oblivion, or bardo, but no blood guilt or mercy. Just death. Thou shall not kill, I guess, unless it is that cockroach - the bug laureate - its slick brown skin soon to stain clean wall paint. The larger the body, the more brutal the murder. Be it a sneaker or poison shot straight into the eyes. No blood guilt or mercy. Just death. And thou shall not kill, I guess, unless you are a policeman and the slick brown skin that scares you belongs to a Black body, still breathing before you become slayer. No blood guilt or mercy. Just death.
The preacher reminds us that we are never truly in our bodies. The skin is a blanket for an already warm soul, deep sleeping through life before heaven’s alarm clock. So, really, what could be more spiritual than realizing your spirit has outgrown the body it was given? What could be more truthful than knowing your true self is wide awake in a sleeping world? You are free to find heaven even if you don’t believe heaven exists, you are already the God that God intended.
Maybe we actually start from dust. Particles of some heavenly universe before we form flesh and are forced to adjust. Coming in loud, full of raw emotion into a world that hears the volume of our vibration then tells us to hush and quiet the noise that attached itself to body and skin. This is how we all begin before brushing off the magic that initiated from space. But when I look at the deep miraculous mirror of your face, I remember that we are born with the black nostalgia of planets. Thrust into a blue horizon of water and flesh - a steady see-saw of life and death, through never-ending rhythms of parallel breath, held by the spirit hands of ancestors who passed the test. Until we return to an avalon memory. A flickering sound of echo energy, as wide as the shadow that blankets every night, spiraling up from a world that wants us to be afraid of heights.
I’ve burned all of the sage, but I am barely on fire. I’ve counted every inhale and exhale of air and still came up short of breath. I’ve sat in silence only to unpause an explosion of thought. I’ve kissed cold hands, hoping to come away with a warm and friendly touch, and then I realized that no amount of incense, no quiet meditation, no body can hold what makes me whole. I hope to remember that the world needs nothing from me but my authenticity and willingness to be human in the moments when I can not conjure temporary magic.
And in the beginning, God gave your body a checklist: Keep your heart on beat and your lungs dancing with oxygen, not passive to air. Make sure the path of your blood slows down for checkpoints and avoids bumps in the road. Train your nerves to keep a balanced pace and stay within the lines of steady flow. Push forward without putting too much pressure on movement. Remember to return to water when your spirit and its frame are in drought. Treat your body like a well-rounded planet built for all seasons, or pretend you are an adaptable star: Float in the black and stay there if you need to, save some light for yourself. In other words, rest like the sun does: Schedule some time to stay out of sight when too many people praise warm energy. Keep in mind all of these things when depression tells you nothing is working. Keep in mind all of these things when it tells you there is no invisible force connecting us, when your veins are stopped by blood clots, when your bones are dry, and the water is too quick to boil. Keep in mind all of these things when it tells you that the soul is like the body: Made to be broken, open to deterioration and doubt. Yes, keep in mind all of these things and remember: Even when it seems like the clock isn’t ticking, you were made perfectly for this moment in time.
And we opened ourselves up in a way I hope the earth never does. Our friendship, solid as concrete, held fever at its core. And we were so hot our energy triggered fire alarms at every graffiti-stained hole in the wall. Every rumble of rum or tremor of tequila shook us from the inside and knocked us off our feet. And we walked into rooms knowing death or ecstasy was one breath away. And we were natural disasters, too hot to touch. Hard-headed gamblers flipping a coin to chase tail. And we were Goliaths in a holy story that didn’t need any more giants. I was poetry, promise, and power trips. Turned on by every sudden release of energy, talking my way in and out of rock-solid aftershocks. And we were weekend warriors, temporary residents in our own homes, paying the price to a liquid landlord who told us that heat held inside can not stay underground forever. And it was beautiful.
Of Color 02:04
i’ve never been able to remember the names of constellations. i’ve seen many stars, but none of them have left an impression that lasts longer than the time it takes to blink them away. all they do is shine from a distance. shine as if being bright is enough light to survive in a heavy & dark experience. i can’t relate. besides, they only come out at night. i am a creature of the sun. there’s one that’s shaped like a snake. another is orion’s killer. i am not a murderer; just a scorpio with a sharp tongue who sometimes wonders if his eyesight is good enough to see when an imminent path has been set ablaze. also, i want to hold people closer than the stars hold our attention. i want to admire you for longer than a firework spark. i want to be the fiery friend who chooses to be charged up after every electric conversation. as far as i know, we can’t hold the atmosphere even though heaven holds us with its absolute power, encouraging us to look up.


spoken word + experiments by the first poet laureate of charleston, sc.


released April 12, 2022

sounds / production / & things :::: marcus


all rights reserved



tape loop Charleston, South Carolina

the electronic musical stylings of marcus amaker, poet laureate of charleston, south carolina.

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