Three new poems by Michael Collins (poetry, ’03) appear in the latest issue of BlazeVOX.
I didn’t really want to murder lots of people
back when I drove around, windows up, doors locked,
Tupac counseling me on how to cope
when I ran out of endo and my mind
couldn’t take the stress – and how to die
straight thuggin’ even in dark times
when I could no longer trust my homies –
In point of fact, I had no homies
in my head that had done passed away,
was not, in reality, a G,
for whom getting high was a way to be free,
and my interactions with actual gangsters
had rather dissuaded me from that career path.
Thinking of how ridiculous I was
makes me want to be smarter than the memories
to which I’m returning, a ghost to the scene.
Remind you that songs about sex and power
and money and killing are just
another mirror of our culture.
That accepting death is the last freedom
for those our society has silenced.
But that is just using the truth to lie.
It wasn’t my mind who saw something holy
in Pac and his music, some soulusion
that rapped me into a desperado
hiding out from fantasized crimes
instead of the victim literal ones,
conflated me with the gangbangers
who found it funny to put a guns to my head
in the hallway at school for their friends’ amusement.
He soldiered me on in the confusion.
One way or another, he promised an end
to a world where my soul refused to live,
his language replacing her silence,
its righteous nihilomantic violence
already schooling me to her own ruthlessness,
that she had no sympathy for my mortality,
even less if I stooped to live without music.
So, I sang along and praised him as if –
No. My life depended on it.