And they make us understand That we're just patterns Pieces of a puzzle Some are more important Some just insignificant And then we try to fit in Into spots that don't fit Shaping ourselves from the edges Wondering when we'll be there In the place where the brights are.
I've grown tired of this game Of being better than the other By being someone else And then losing it all. How do you keep keeping up With the changes every minute And the demands hanged on your neck? And it all looks like a puppet show The world pulling strings and We dancing to its beat Pretending to smile Blending in the crowd Getting lost with the lost.
From birth you're groomed To talk a certain way Look a certain way Walk a certain way And be a certain person. Machines with human parts Lookalikes from different wombs Smiles painted with ink Trying to get to the top Where there's another on top of it And another and another And it goes on and on and on Till grey hairs appear Cenotaphs are erected New borns arrive And the vicious cycle continues.
I have lost the zeal to be perfect Because you can't be what you can't Even if you try your best You can only fake it Like everything else in the world. I want to be just the way I am Not the way I'm supposed to be. I want to be what I want to be Not what I'm expected to be. And if I can't be better, I'd rather be different.
Let me tell you a story about fire. Fire is often depicted as a bright blaze or a glorious furnace. It's oft described as a hungry beast ravaging landscapes. That much is true about it, but fire's like a pet. It's art in hues of red and orange and yellow, and sometimes it's dressed in blue and white too. Fire licks, like some slobbering old dog that's hungry and all but toothless. There are souls in the fires, well, not exactly. Not in the fire I am talking about. It is more like there are voices in it. Sparks screaming out their lungs in a bright but short flash. Infernos wailing and raving, mad at everything in the world. I prefer the flickers— they don't scream, they sing to me, quiet mournful songs about how yellow girls dance with the orange lads until the winds come and they die. There's rhythm in their songs, a beat that thrums and hums its silent way into my mind. There are tales of glory in those flames, of power and love and everything passionate about the world. There's a song in the flames and I call it the arson's lullaby. I dance to it every time I sit by a flame or light a match.
Fire is insatiable when unleashed, spits ever so often at anything it picks and leaves dry slobber over everything it catches, like some barbaric predator with no soul, but it does have a soul. It drifts, from place to place, searching for something it cannot find, the very thing it destroys with its roaming scorch path. Fire tastes like smoke and charred paper, like fuming madness and scalding fury. My brother likes the fire, he plays with it every chance he gets, but I have tasted the fire and know of its revolting content. So I leave him to play and perhaps burn himself once or twice before I put the lights out. He should never have to be haunted by the harrowing songs the fire sings.
Fire burns brighter in the dark. You could never appreciate its beauty until it's the only thing alive in the darkness, well, the only thing alive and friendly in the darkness. It casts the darkest shadows to the depths and ofttimes, the brightest fires create the darkest shadows. Fire is light, and I never liked the light. I was born in the cold arms of the darkness and the light torments my eyes.
You should see fire burn a man. It makes them smell like roast pork, well it roasts then to the point it mimics alchemy and creates a delusion of edible danger, driving your senses to the point of no return. I have seen fires gulp children and adults alike and watched them yell for help and beg for mercy as it devours them with relish. Maybe those screams I hear in the fires are those of the people who died instead of me.
You've never been to Texas. You never really wanted to go somewhere like that: The scalding heat, the oblivious desert, the gun-toting outlaws (okay this part is just fictional, they don't really carry shotguns and hate black folks to the point of chasing them off with pitchforks-and-torches now, do they?.....seriously do they?...cus' Lord knows I don't know). You don't like the town, that's all. Nothing personal, you just prefer a frozen tundra or at least, a place where rain falls....often. As for the guns, well, you did grow up in a hood mostly filled with reckless youth who never knew what respect was so long as there was a weapon within reach, and old hands that never hesitated to beat you always near-to-death just because you existed. So yes, you've got no problems wielding a shank, skive, skeng, bloody Janix, and any other shit you can find when you decide to send a brother into a two feet by six feet hole early....the locals don't know that though. You love the nice people...but they seem too nice, and for a brother, too nice means you better vamoose before they love you to death; Case in point: the movie Get Out. You don't dig the weather. That place got heatwaves that rival that of Sokoto on a good day and makes Kano seem cool during summer. Not the weather for this reptile, thanks very much. You are a sucker for Alaska, and Vancouver and Siberia and the nice gentle Antarctica. Not coyote country.
When you hear the name "Texas", you almost immediately have to fight the thought of the Southern outback wilderness, two opposite trains coming at full speed on what was, for many years before and many more to come, abandoned tracks; A jackal, a murder of crows and some introspective vultures nearby, watching the ensuing clash of the locomotives from the dry mountain-like hills that have eyes, forgive the reference; A black man, 6 feet plus, walking with purpose into the path of the oncoming trains. That man is you.
You want to visit Texas, the good ol' loving and caring state of Texas. Not for the booze, which is renowned for being good; you don't drink, not anymore, No, Sir. Not for the women, and the women sure ain't gon' like you; A tall boy that don't talk much and don't drink and don't even want to associate himself with the locals is good for one thing only: trouble, with a capital U. Not for the delicious food and fine cuisines and oh, their wonderful maternal hand-me-down secret recipes; You love to cook but you love to starve more. Not for the air or the climate; Dry air makes your skin itch and you sweat shiny stuff like some dumb vamp in the sun. Not for the sex, Heavens, No; Why you think any lass would choose to ride BBCs intentionally/willingly is a freaking mystery, mate. Newsflash: they won't, so keep Fenris down there in check. Can't have him scaring the folks and making the men get whingy about their cock sizes. Not for the cowboys, thank psycho Uncle Sam for remembering that: You've rounded up blind bulls with your pen most of your miserable life, now is the time to rest those big balls of yours, young blood. Not for the livestock and wildlife; You've got enough animals love, and the dogs there are too feeble and small to be of any use to you, Except of course you find yourself a nasty giant Cujo. Then Steve Austin can cringe in terror as you bring Stephen King's nightmares to life on dem rattlesnakes. Hell Yes. Amen. Not for the hell of it; You want hell? Dude, you are a Nigerian with an English accent. Surely, only the literal Hell itself can be worse than getting chinged or crashed in on these meddlesome streets. Nah. You want to go to the Southern (or is it Western?) part of America for a whole different reason.
Do we come home to the memories, Where you and I still can't figure out how to build ourselves into each other's future? Or do we come home to ourselves, That we built separately but has built thousands of dreams?