Closed Books

The cover is thicker than all pages combined,

but own the pages, you’ll read the best short story.

Three ways to own the pages without being fined;

Trust first or forever thirst for story. Sorry.

 

Be understanding to understand chapter two.

He wrote with goodwill despite errors in scenes.

May whoever lacks any cast the first stone. Few!

Not being stonned doesn’t feel that bad, ’cause we’ve all got sins.

 

To chapter three, loyalty will give you the keys,

four if you can handle one, two, three and still read on,

you’re proof of loyal. He’ll open up more with ease.

There four, you’ll read it in four, not three ways. Pardon.

 

Afraid the book won’t open up without the four.

For before my door I need to know, friend or foe?

The Miseducation of Lauryn Hill

It would be a feat for an average musician to confine spirituality, love and heart break, motherhood, adolescence, childhood and philosophy; all in just 70 minutes of musicality. Lauryn Hill isn’t your average artist.

Released 19 years ago under Ruffhouse Records and Columbia Records, The Miseducation of Lauryn Hill went on to sell more than 8 Million copies and won her 5 of the most coveted Grammy Awards. The album explores relatable themes; one factor that’s credited for its relevance almost 2 decades later. In a 2013 commentary with XXL, rapper Nas acknowledges in his own words that the album “checked me as an emcee because she was pure. There was no chains, no fancy cars, she checked us on all of that. On songs like “Superstar” and “Doo Wop”, she talked to us, she went into who we were as men and women. And that was needed at the time and to this day”. To attract the fancy of old timers like Mary J Blige, who describes it as “one of the most incredible albums ever made”, The Miseducation of Lauryn Hill is beyond doubt Miss Hill’s Magnum Opus. Throughout the album, she squirms her way through the male dominated scene, with the aid of so much soul, wisdom, class and femininity laced with confidence and the final result is an LP that won’t get dusty soon on many record shelves.

The intro is a typical class roll call. Ras Baraka; a New Jersey Teacher, poet as well as politician plays  the stint he knows best, that of a teacher and when he calls Lauryn Hill’s name, she turns out absent. A move that probably was inspired by the title “Miseducation of Lauryn Hill”. Before you conceive, why Lauryn skipped class, she hits your dome with the lines “It’s funny how money change a situation…” in the second track. The 94.91 bpm rate of the beat was typical of that time’s production tempo. You can’t help but boogie along to the boom bap sound as she laces wise lyrics touching on philosophical matters including a reference of the universal laws, karma, and reincarnation. She further condemns self-righteousness and greed echoing the book of Mark 8:36 which warns against gaining the world while losing one’s soul, a scripture quoted by Bob Marley as well. Reggae has a profound influence on Miss Hill’s music, evidenced by a few lines of patois in the same song. “Lost Ones” is not only a rhythmic tick, but also a morally challenging piece. Class interludes separate tracks all through the album. The first interlude on love dovetails the next song­­; Ex-Factor, whose main theme is heartbreak. The song pulls the rag off Lauryn Hill’s vulnerable side. If the slow, mellow instrumentals bring to mind Wu Tang Clan’s “Can It Be All So Simple’’, your ear is precise as it samples the Wu’s hit.

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‘’Ex-Factor’’ is followed by a similarly slow, soothing ‘’Zion’’, a dedication to her son-Zion. It explores motherhood, abortion, love and protection only a mother understands. Zion, is Patois for the Promised Land. Rohan Marley (Bob Marley’s son) is the father of Lauryn Hill’s son, Zion. You can put two and two together. Just like Ex Factor, Zion is slow and soothing with a bpm of 80. The melancholic tone and lyrics are a tear jerker and one should expect the similar sound (Which I find more of Neo Soul than Hip Hop) in various songs such as ‘’When it Hurts so Bad’’, ‘’Superstar”, “Nothing Even Matters”, ‘’The Miseducation of Lauryn Hill’’ and ‘’Tell Him’’. However, in between, she snaps back to her days as the one third of the Hip Hop trio, The Fugees, which were marked with aggressive lyrics, bits of braggadocio and street confidence. In “Final Hour” for instance, she comes in with the line “I treat these like my theses, well written topic broken down into pieces, I introduce then produce words so profuse it’s abuse how I juice up this beat”. One can’t help but marvel at her wordplay and how she manages confidence without having to sound materialistic or accentuate her sexuality. It would be a disgrace to skip “Doo Wop (That Thing)” which is full of jewels, especially for young boys and girls. It encourages vigilance against the slick boys and girls known as fuckboys/girls these days. It does so over a boom bap beat synonymous with the nineties and inextricably laced lyrics. The track list takes you through a melodious journey of childhood nostalgia, reminds you of your first love and how it ended. It also emphasizes on the need for maturity; especially spiritual maturity. Needless to say that “Zion” the essence of motherhood in a tear jerking mannerism. The guest appearances don’t disappoint. With D’Angelou’s vocals in “Everything is Everything”, over a John Legend piano beat, you’d be damned if anything went wrong. I find it queer when bonus tracks sound better than the rest though. Or maybe it’s just me.

Simply put, Lauryn Hill displays Bob Marley’s wisdom, Maya Angelou’s lyricism and Diana Ross’ splendor without veering off the alluring person that she is. Definitely, the Epitome of femininity. The Miseducation of Lauryn Hill might teach you more about life than your school lecture could. Ironic the title right?

Hope

The one that decides most suicides.

The one that whispers to your ears “tomorrow’ll be okay”,

yet if you put so much hope in hope,

you easily lose trust in hope,

’cause truth is, not all tomorrows will be okay.

But tomorrow I know I’ll again be fool of hope

when she whispers that the day after tomorrow will be okay.

How does she do that?

 

Hope is the one behind placebo pills,

Mr. Doc don’t dare claim ownership!

but for the hope in placebo capsules the patients would have lost it

as other hopeless ones hop in.

 

Hope is the reason your love didn’t broach the queer cologne last night.

Doesn’t mean she didn’t smell it, she just hoped it wasn’t it.

Hope is why you dared go home smelling it in the first place,

hoping she won’t notice it, but she did.

One day she might have enough of hope.

Might be the day you lose hope in love. Tragic.

Thank hope for promiscuity.

 

light

 

Hope is why some wrinkles show sooner than others,

some smiles come slower than others,

her trust came easier than hers.

Hope isn’t kind to most drunks.

The bar booms in hopelessness.

Did I mention that I lose hope every now and then?

Hope is everything. She’s religion, psychology…

oh look, like me,ecology is losing hope!

Hope is healthy. When hope leaves your heart,

you get an attack.

 

God thrives in hope. Good thrives in hope.

 

 

Animals Feel

Animals feel…

oh you didn’t know that!

but how can you not know that

when your dog barks and a duck quacks

when they probably got some things to ask?

You’ve probably never thought of that

while overloading your donkey’s backs

with bags but if I may ask…

hasn’t it ever occurred to you that a donkey that brays

that’s a donkey that prays for your mercy up the hill

with a back that’s filled?

 

They shed tears as well.

Perhaps enough to fill your well

whenever they feel like hell

but this, you can never tell

because you don’t even pay attention to your pet’s eyes.

And before you even notice it,

the tears have ceased to exist

and the only trace of your pet’s pain is sleepy seeds

that you may never bother to handkerchief off of your cat’s eyes.

Are we that full of animosity towards animals peeps?

peep this; drop the wild in animals

and just call them animals

because we’re wilder than those

because, it’s gross when we put ourselves to the task

of robbing elephants off their tusks.

 

Skinning cheetahs for carpets,

masks, slacks, sacks and such, it sucks!

They too have families for Pete’s sake

it’s a big mistake to take a pig’s stake.

 

And this piece cuts across poachers

and animal torturers

because both of us know that if we didn’t fell these trees,

we’d probably be having dinosaurs in our midst.

A Mammoth can’t fit in a book’s page

nor a TV screen but it could’ve had the space it deserves

if our environment we conserved.

Man my great grand kids deserve to have sight of  a real giraffe

not on TV, but on a game reserve.

Unfortunately, extinction is all we serve.

Ironic ain’t it?

That we fell trees that animals feed on,

to curve images of the same animals,

and process paper on which to paint images of the same.

Mere images, devoid of reality!

It’s a catch twenty two when both flora and fauna fade to extinction.

 

Animals feel, and I feel their pain.

Matter of fact, I feel much love for animals than humans.

And if I was president, king or something…

y’all would literally watch your steps,

’cause we’ve got ants and termites down there.

Ironic, but I believe we should’t steer clear the elephant in the room.

Not to Show Love

I choose not to show love.

Doesn’t mean within I don’t yield love

but is expression of it worth it, when they always target your loved ones?

I’ve done dirt in the past

and I can’t show them you’re the one I love

because my victims might snatch you from me at any time.

 

I choose not to show love,

for what good is expression of love,

when mere likes repel?

She learned that I love her, then started to rebel.

She liked me, but disliked me when I reached out to her heart for more.

Perhaps she had already chosen not to show love.

cupid

 

I choose not to show love,

for I know how it feels to be robbed off love.

I’d rather go back to my dirt,

in my loved ones hearts leaving no traces of it.

No love relics.

In that way, I’ll spare my loved ones the weight of missing me once I perish.

 

I choose not to show love,

for the person you love mirrors who you are. But mirrors break.

With blood, dirt, shit and all filth my hands are filled.

And with my touch, I don’t wanna get your tender, chubby cheeks blemished.

Besides, I’m not even certain that your heart beats in the same rhythm as mine.

That’s why I choose not to show love.

Out the Dirt I Came

See deep down for all I mean good.

But I’m not the type to divulge what’s cooking,

all that matters to me is that you’ll eventually nod approval to my food.

You can bet that I despise blowers of own horns.

The type that doesn’t hood up in rain, to merely flaunt a new hairdo.

The same type to grant then rant I loathe.

The type to tap then yap,

on your face clap, behind your back stab,

kiss and tell,

that type, should dwell in hell.

dirt1

But instead it’s I who dwells in hell,

for being able to tell; in both senses of “tell”,

the self-aggrandizement that flips human tails to heads

and heads as tails instead.

But I only got one question for you Mrs Kind,

If the world wasn’t watching in readiness to judge,

would you still be “Mrs Kind”?

Ignorance indeed is bliss because out the dirt I came in search for bliss,

and since ignorance is synonymous with bliss,

then out the dirt I go back blissfully, devoid of bliss.

Heart Sees Clearer

My eyes have duped me into believing that I have found the one, not once,

but since that sleepless night, it’s been clear that the heart sees clearer than the eyes.

Since my first text – “hey…”, I’ve been making hay, yet her shine will dim by no chance

and I pray that through her heart, she may see my fondness of hers and break ice.

 

It is not my fault that I’m so generous to her with my attention.

Effortlessly, she gets my attention. Wish I was sure that she craves it.

Just in case she doesn’t, then taking coal to Newcastle is my intention.

It’s hard to gag fondness. Trying to reveal my intent and heart beat by bit.

 

Maybe it’s the way her voice makes Billie Holiday’s sound like a rumble.

Maybe it’s her intellect and her interests and how the dove-tail mine.

Oh, I know, it’s how she sees through my hard head, to spot my inner humble.

How can she see that, yet we’ve never seen each other. Even from a mile!

 

Heart sees clearer. Oblivious of her face, her inner splendor is a fact.

Isn’t that what matters? I beg for her; mercy. I swear I wouldn’t hurt her heart.

Happy

Peep the speechless then ask yourself if that stutter is worth a shudder.

Face situations, but embrace only the bubbly.

The ugly, overlook such information.

Meditation is essential for introspection and knowledge of self.

On the shelf, should be thoughts of hate, envy and such things as vengeance.

What’s strange is, the sublime,

yet almost divine sensation that comes with hand-holding.

The word I’m molding, is just alphabets combined with punctuation.

Actualization is what it takes to achieve the word “HAPPY”.

Like a puppy, I smile through the agony that comes with canine shedding,

shading my happy from radiation and the sun’s scorch.

Of course it’s a cold world

but I know the code to the word “HAPPY”.

 

Witness the roofless then ask yourself if that shack is worth the fuss.

The first stride towards “HAPPY” is counting one’s own blessings.

Best things in life are free, most might disagree.

Most probably, it’s because your perception of best things is best material things.

Question is, does it call for cash to be grateful for that pulse?

Plus, pals are a treasure that only family may half the times surpass.

But the last supper as depicted by the Basic Instructions Before Leaving Earth

reveals that;

even your trusted friend might offer your cheek a smack.

A smack would you reciprocate?

Receive my take;

I’d rather replenish the soils of friendship gone sour

with sprinkles of forgiveness.

The essence of happiness is letting the bygones be bygones.

A smirk can easily be equated to a smile.

Matter of fact, it’s defined as one.

Best way to sail through the seas of friendships,

regardless of authenticity is this;

Deliberately mistaking a smirk for a smile.

Break bread with the enemy and you never know,

they may flirt with guilt when they stick a knife on your back.

Of course it’s a cold world,

but above are some codes to the word “HAPPY”.

This Man!

He emphasizes his words whenever he says “You’re pretty”,

but somehow always forgets to COMPLIMENT that with “,kind and caring”.

When you’re hurt, he’s quick to hug as “comfort”.

But feel his heart, does it feel pity?

And when talking to him, if your eyes were around your chest,

he’d probably reciprocate the way his, you stare.

 

You let him inside, but he’s more about making love than feeling love.

But can a player juggle the pitch & the terrace to feel his own game’s thrill?

You think & tell him how man he is. His reply, “nice curves you have’’.

Your love is genuinely from within, but he only bills for your body in the deal.

Unfortunately, you love him so much that this fact you can’t see.

 

Oh look what we have here; a bigger behind, & a slender waist.

You trace a glow on his face, but his face isn’t facing you.

You try reaching him, but your calls he won’t pick anymore.

He found a more physically appealing deal and you’re left fading into his history.

A man of many tastes, is a man who wastes. He’s one you should detest.

You got bitten on first experience. But how could you have known ooh innocent ewe!

 

 

The Eyes

Another reason to give thanks for the eyes

is that; they always defy plots by the smile

to hide traces of inner hate and despise.

Windows to some souls ooze bitterness than bile

while precious ones are as clean as a newborn’s slate.

Understandably, no one loves everything.

It is absolutely stupid to hide hate,

unless you’ll always wear shades, you’re doing nothing.

Disguised despise is not wise despise for one;

can only sweep dirt under the carpet cloth

till the carpet itself dirties. No one won.

Blatant hate is better hate, better yet-loathe.

As we embrace, you probably think I bug.

Too bad that eye can’t see your eyes as we hug.