T Nation

Poet Saul Williams


#1

Anyone else a fan? For hip-hop related, this is fantastic.

Release: By Saul Williams (taken from "Release" by Blackalicious)

Inner breathlessness, outer restlessness
By the time I caught up to freedom I was out of breath
Grandma asked me what I'm running for
I guess I'm out for the same thing the sun is sunning for
What mothers birth their youngens for
And some say Jesus coming for
For all I know the earth is spinning slow
Suns at half mast 'cause masses ain't aglow
On bended knee, prostrate before an altered tree
I've made the forest suit me
Tables and chairs
Papers and prayers
Matter versus spirit
A metal ladder
A wooden cross
A plastic bottle of water
A mandala encased in glass
A spirit encased in flesh
Sound from shaped hollows
The thickest of mucus released from heightened passion
A man that cries in his sleep
A truth that has gone out of fashion
A mode of expression
A paint splattered wall
A carton of cigarettes
A bouquet of corpses
A dying forest
A nurtured garden
A privatized prison
A candle with a broken wick
A puddle that reflects the sun
A piece of paper with my name on it
I'm surrounded
I surrender
All
All that I am I have been
All I have been has been a long time coming
I am becoming all that I am
The spittle that surrounds the mouth-piece of the flute
Unheard, yet felt
A gathered wetness
A quiet moisture
Sound trapped in a bubble
Released into wind
Wind fellows and land merchants
We are history's detergent
Water soluble, light particles, articles of cleansing breath
Articles amending death
These words are not tools of communication
They are shards of metal
Dropped from eight story windows
They are waterfalls and gas leaks
Aged thoughts rolled in tobacco leaf
The tools of a trade
Barbers barred, barred of barters
Catch phrases and misunderstandings
But they are not what I feel when I am alone
Surrounded by everything and nothing
And there isn't a word or phrase to be caught
A verse to be recited
A mantra to fill my being in those moments
I am blankness, the contained center of an "O"
The pyramidic containment of an "A"
I stand in the middle of all that I have learned
All that I have memorized
All that I've known by heart
Unable to reach any of it
There is no sadness
There is no bliss
It is a forgotten memory
A memorable escape route that only is found by not looking
There, in the spine of the dictionary the words are worthless
They are a mere weight pressing against my thoughtlessness
But then, who else can speak of thoughtlessness with such confidence
Who else has learned to sling these ancient ideas
like dead rats held by their tails
so as not to infect this newly oiled skin
I can think of nothing heavier than an airplane
I can think of no greater conglomerate of steel and metal
I can think of nothing less likely to fly
There are no wings more weighted
I too have felt a heaviness
The stare of man guessing at my being
Yes I am homeless
A homeless man making offerings to the after-future
Sculpting rubber tree forests out of worn tires and shoe soles
A nation unified in exhale
A cloud of smoke
A native pipe ceremony
All the gathered cigarette butts piled in heaps
Snow covered mountains
Lipsticks smeared and shriveled
Offerings to an afterworld
Tattoo guns and plastic wrappers
Broken zippers and dead eyed dolls
It's all overwhelming me, oak and elming me
I have seeded a forest of myself
Little books from tall trees
It matters not what this paper be made of
Give me notebooks made of human flesh
Dried on steel hooks and nooses
Make uses of use, uses of us
It's all overwhelming me, oak and elming me
I have seeded a forest of myself
Little books from tall trees
On bended knee
Prostrate before an altered tree
I've made the forest suit me
Tables and chairs
Papers and prayers
Matter vs. spirit

-Nate


#2

I donwloaded a lot of his stuff. I think some of it is too deep for people who think Li'l Bow Wow is a great recording artist.


#3

Nate,

I've been a big Saul Williams fan since first hearing him on the Ninja Tune released track "Twice the First Time".

Check Saul out in the movie KPAX, playing a germophobe headcase.

For more slam poetry goodness checkout the track "Could It Be Me?" here:

http://www.newmusiccanada.com/genres/artist.cfm?Band_Id=5843

-Soup:A Canadian Backpacker


#4

Thanks Nate, excellent stuff.


#5

I recently picked up his self-titled ablum. It's excellent!

-Nate


#6

Another one.

"Nah, I wasn't raised at gun-point and I've read too many books. To distract me from the mirror when unhappy with my looks. And I ain't got proper diction for the makings of a thug, though I grew up in the ghetto and my niggas all sold drugs. And though that may validate me for a spot on MTV or get me all the airplay that my bank account would need, I was hoping to invest in a lesson that I learned when I thought this fool would jump me just because it was my turn.

I went to an open space, 'cause I knew he wouldn't do it if somebody there could see him or somebody else might prove it. And maybe, in your mind, it may seem I got punked out. 'Cause I walked a narrow path and then went and changed my route. But that openness exposed me to a truth I couldn't find in the clenched fist of my ego or confines of my mind, or the hippness of my swagger, or the swagger in my step, or the scowl of my grimace, or the meanness of my rep. 'Cause we represent a truth, son, the changes by the hour. And, when you open to it, vulnerability is power. And in that shifting form you'll find a truth that doesn't change. And that truth's living proof of the fact that God is strange.

Talk to strangers, when family fails and friends lead you astray, when Buddha laughs, and Jesus weeps, and it turns out God is gay. 'Cause angels and messiahs, love, can come in many forms: in the hallways of your projects, or the fat girl in your dorm. And when you finally take the time to see what they're about and, perhaps, you find them lonely or their wisdom trips you out, you'll find the spot where cycles end, You're back where you began. But come this time around, you'll have someone to hold your hand who prays for you, who's there for you, who sends you love and light, exposes you to parts of you that you once tried to fight. But come this time around you'll choose to walk a different path. You'll embrace what you turned away and cry at what you laughed. 'Cause that's the only way we're gonna make it through this storm, where ignorance is common sense and senselessness the norm. And flags wave high above the truth and the two never touch. And stolen goods are overpriced. And freedom costs too much. And no one seems to recognize the symbols come to life: the bitten apple on the screen. And Jesus had a wife. And she was his messiah, like that stranger may be yours, who holds the subtle knife that carves through worlds like magic doors. And that's what I've been looking for, the bridge from then to now. 'Was watching BET, like , "What the fuck, son? This is foul". But that square box don't represent the sphere that we live in. The earth is not a flat screen. I ain't trying to fit in. But this ain't for the underground. This, here, is for the sun. A seed a stranger gave to me and planted on my tongue. And, when I look at you, I know I'm not the only one. As a great man once said, 'There's nothing more powerful than an idea whose time has come.'"

-Nate