Wednesday, November 23, 2011

ARCHITECTURE

This is a new(ish) poem I have only performed a handful of times. People seem to dig it so I chucked it up here. I guess it's a love poem. Sort of.


Architecture

She tried to apply her architecture to our lives.

She tried to build our lives along straight lines
of order, ladders, latticework, brickwork and mortar,
and deep aqueducts underneath to keep us nourished with water.

I never told her- "I have travelled unshod
along distant and pockmarked highways
to meet you here my dear.

I sailed on oceans of eggshells.
I camped in deserts of charcoal, burned spinifex and hurt,
resting in hovels and outhouses,
pieced together out of debris making form
outta chaos no payoffs in a life attempting to make joy out of pathos
I travelled unshod for you
my scarred flanks holding histories of love and loathing,
grudges clubs, drugs and cruel liquors, and me here hoping,
all the time with you in the distance,
a dreamlike lighthouse,
the raw glow of an open flame and a siren's song
with that skin a darker shade than bronze, and your promise of
perfectly pieced geometry, mosaics, skilfully drafted architecture of love,
I should have told you how far I'd come to meet you."

But when you told me you had been pregnant
with my child but decided not to keep it,
I didn't think of the airy domes, the picket fence houses where I could raise my
never to be born son or daughter, I didn't think of the women
in my hometown whose faces were inked with loss and the men
who raised the back of their hands or went running.

Instead I built coliseums of amber bottles
to lie in,
like a mock latter-day pharaoh or emperor,
staring upwards.
In the nadir of febrile nights
I would swim up through the sweat, shake myself awake,
and go stalking and
snarling into the cosmos.
I watched the prophets of my age preaching in parks creating myths or
strapped up with Krylon cans painting street hieroglyphs,
smoking spliffs in alleys reeking of piss.
I stared deep into TV screens as if into the black bore of a gun, numb,
I patted the heirloom diamond ring that I would never give you
and under the manifold lights of weeping suns and whirling moons,
neon billboards, halogen lights and blacklit rooms,
You would appear
stepping solemnly like a sleepwalker,
beautiful, wounded and haughty and severe.
I would freeze your tears and crucify you with them.

We both loved to suffer didn't we?

And there are two sides to every poem, aren't there?

You will be my Iliad, my epic.
You will be my Petra, my relic.

The desert is laced with ruins,
threaded with the skeletal remains
of boom and bust cities
once opulent with water
and the architecture of hearts.

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Play On lyrics



PLAY ON
by
Omar Musa


This is a warning to everyone.

Tomorrow is not your friend.

Tomorrow is a visitor whose arrival you cannot prepare for, whose moodswings you cannot anticipate. You cannot anticipate because you never know whether he arrives at your door bearing flowers or a handgun, but you know that he approaches by the hour.

This is a warning.

Never let the fire in the lamp burn low. Never stop making your music, even if the record is scratched, the needle is snapped and the mic is unplugged- play on.

Even when you stand looking out over treacherous reefs, where coral is like the blades of razors, where the sky is glimmering coal above sharks and shimmering shoals. Where you wade through tides of information (some right, some wrong, some plain insane) waves of opinion so powerful they threaten to drown you- play on.

Even when it feels as if friendship is a battleground, where the breeze is rich with ego and mistrust, where the burnished sun is blackened by a billion arrows that sing with the clarity of birds. Where we exchange pugilistic words in bourbon bars and hotted up cars, where we feel as if we are the flotsam and jetsam of marooned ideals- play on.

Even when the rejection letters stack up like a pyramid and they tell you that you have no talent and that no-one wants to hear an Aussie rapper from a small town and no fucking radio station will play you and you scream and scream and nobody hears you- play on.

But I'm not sure why we should, when clearly the odds are stacked against us. And I know that men's hearts are pastures that bloom with darkness. And when I look up at a crystalline structure of stars… I see just that.

All I know is that I am blessed to be here and that some day soon this man of passion and lust will be ashes and dust. And they will sprinkle me back into the soil from which I sprang and I don't want my final whisper to be a lament. I want to say that I sipped from the chalice when it was handed to me, that I leapt from the cliffs when the moment demanded it. That even though the record was scratched, the needle was snapped and the mic was unplugged, I played on.

This is a warning to everyone. Tomorrow is not your friend. So never let the fire in the lamp burn low. Because you never know when today might end.

My Generation lyrics

Some students/teachers/people have asked for the lyrics to my poems My Generation and Play On. I resisted for a while but since some of the students are studying these poems in class, I thought it might make it easier to have the lyrics than have to transcribe them. Here you go! -OBM



My Generation
by
Omar Musa

My generation sat on the brim of the ocean,
waiting for the tide to bring something in.

My generation
was populated with boozehounds and pillheads,
crude clowns and bedspreads stained with the
neon dreams of cocaine fiends,
I mean
the diamond flooded visions of sex kittens
who sweat bullets, glitter and Chanel
I mean
the ones who
live in debt buy spray cans of fake tan
I mean
the ones who drop out of college to get collagen
hoping to hook with pop collar gen Y men with
copycat tattoos,
footy contracts and right angled jaws.
Hoping to ride
amphetamine horses and red Porsches
into clubs
whose shelf life is over right.
about.
NOW.

My generation
took solace in
false prophets who promised change
and did more of the same,
whose ideologies of optimism
were turned into
fridge magnets and bumper stickers-
YES WE CAN

Yes, we witnessed
prime ministers slain.
Hushed coups in the halls of parliament-
heads rolled over bad polls, tongues lolled,
drums rolled as newspapers harmonised like baying wolves.
New kings and queens smiled for the all seeing camera's eyes
that blink but never flinch.
Freshly anointed "leaders" with polished teeth and long knives-
they would smile
deep down knew that
the guillotine waited also for them.

My generation
bloomed with the blood of artists
who sent messages in bottles
that ended up lodged in bleached coral,
and humanity was a deep fossil to be fossicked
some day by a people other than us.
While the traditional custodians of the land
sweated in the concrete gizzards of govvo flats
left wing activists sipped red wine
and talked of reform.

My generation had hot buttered sex to
cookie cutter music.
We made autotuned love and men learnt how
to have sex on a curriculum of
pixellated pink pornstar pussy
and double D tits and digital dicks.

We made love between oil spills and massacres,
tangoed between
the headlines of history,
flitting between
hush love making and murder,
draughts of cool wine and hellish salt pans wimpling
with dancing mirages
that brought brief joy to our desiccated hearts.

My generation never stopped being children.

We grew wearier, but not wiser,
we grew older, but not up,
and our only possessions were our winged imaginations,
sitting on the brim of the ocean,
waiting for the tide to bring something in.

Monday, November 7, 2011

Gold Dust Woman

Soooo,
every year, my good friends Michael Nolan, Easy Bee and Sean M. Whelan put on a show called Liner Notes. They get a famous album, give writers of all different descriptions a song each to write spoken word responses to and then get them to perform the pieces to an adoring crowd. It's always an amazing night. The album this time was Fleetwood Mac- Rumours. The song I got was Gold Dust Woman. I wrote this a while back so some of the lines have popped up in newer poems but I got a few requests to put the piece up so here. We. GO!

GOLD DUST WOMAN

Gold dust woman, white powder dreams,
silver spoon nightmares, red neon beams,
blue smoke plumes, black fire hair,
I saw bright worlds in your crystalline stare.

But nevertheless, I asked you,
can we stay like this forever?
like this
weighed down by each other's fingerprints and
garlands of kisses
that you hang on my eyelids
like this
plummeting through wells of wistful nights
making love under the manifold lights of weeping suns and whirling moons,
halogen bulbs, neon billboards and blacklit rooms,
like this
in febrile bedsheets bloom fire and steam swoon perspired droplets afire and soon
hair inkspreads on pillowcases from Sydney to California.
like this, where I worship in awe
that spot on your collarbone scented like driven snow and arctic ice
and we unite from shaking flesh, pinned limbs, swimming linen to the tremulous core.

You called me amor, love and corazon, heart,

And it seemed that like this would last forever

But then time tripped and forever flipped into one single moment,
one phrase of time that couldn't last
and
I saw you smile a slow knowing smile
and I knew you knew
the truth of me
that I would love you forever, even when we weren't together,
I would dance with you on palpitating skylines that beat like a dying heart or tribal drum.

That night, I didn't realise it would be the last time you lead me by the wrist to a bed of nails,
I sweated hail,
read in braille the secret messages you left in the opal scars on me,
a cursive of the wounds of love,
for the last time I set sail on the diamond lake
backflipped into the icy crevasse
with my mistress, my princess, my temptress
temperature went way down and then you were gone.

I couldn't eat, I stopped rhyming,
I vomited comets, black onyx and black diamonds

I went running and shaking through the city
heart drumming and breaking,
draped in flames, like a screaming beserker,
swelling and shaking
shook and shattered like shards of ice
and scattered like cards and dice
into pieces on the asphalt.

Because love like addiction like war,
can be over and not over, you can simultaneously survive and not survive,

so now I roam so alone, in obscure and remote reaches,
left to pick up the pieces
and go home.