POEMS/LYRICS BY JRS III 

 

 

A Mexican Shot Trying To Cross The Border

Homeless

But  

Spider's Web

September 5, 1877

It Had To Be This Way

Ahead Of My Times

The Alphabet Of Killing 

Los Nin~os De Chapultapec

Runaway Truck

Underestimated (Rap Lyrics) 

Survival Pace (Song Lyrics)   

You Coulda Been Mandela (Rap Lyrics)

False Family (Song Lyrics)

   

 

A Mexican Shot Trying To Cross The Border    

 

  

Borders are

closed doors in hearts.

 

Mother Earth built

bridges between all

people, even paths through

the mountains, and the

idea of a ship by

the edge of the sea.

It is men who first

drew blood from the land

and said "No" to a

brother.

And now they are killing

people

for coming back into their own

country.

Life erased by lines.

Guns pointed the wrong way,

aimed by ignorance, instead of at it.

No, my friend, who today became a killer,

that line you drew in the sand is nothing sacred, not like the

body that lies at your feet.

 

Borders are only

closed doors in hearts.

 

 

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Homeless

 

Homeless.

Now they call him homeless

just because he doesnít

have an address.

But he actually became

homeless

many years ago:

anyone is,

who does not have a room

with his name on it

in someone elseís heart.

All the time

that he lived as one of them,

in their midst,

seeming to be the same,

he was really homeless,

living without the roof

of anyoneís

understanding

above his head,

looking for life

in the garbage cans

of jobs

that only meant

to use him

and throw him out,

sleeping in the train stations

of buildings

filled with people

on their way to something else.

Sometimes, now,

in the night,

the flashing neon lights

of all the places where he is not welcome

remind him

of the old days,

before they called him homeless.

But, of course,

he was already

homeless then.

Until, finally,

the years of pretending

took their toll.

"Why hide what is?"

something in his soul demanded, at last,

dragging him away from appearances

and convincing him to be

honest,

to let reality

carry him away

from hypocrisy and

denial.

And that is how he came to be

an ambassador

of the truth,

like Jesus,

preaching to them

with his disaster,

which was only the revelation

of their own disaster.

 

Homeless.

Now they call him homeless.

But he was homeless long ago

even when he was one of them.

 

 

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But  

 

 

"But",

the most terrible word in the

universe.

I love you,

but -

Iíd like to help you,

but -

I think you have talent,

but -

Iíd hire you right now,

but -

This is beautiful,

but -

I would let you live,

but -

 

 

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Spiderís Web

 

 

The spider webís

so beautiful,

but itís an act

of war.

When will the lovely

architecture

of cruelty

cease to mesmerize us?

When will we learn

to look past the

outer brilliance of what

we have created,

to see the inner darkness

that hides in it,

like a spider

waiting to kill?

 

 

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September 5, 1877 

 

 

They donít know

the day you were born,

because then your people

were free, and they had

another sense of time.

But they know the day you died

because theyíre the ones

who killed you

and in the new land they made

they kept track

of every

empty day.

When they won,

they lost the moons;

they lost the snows

and the month of thawing ice;

they lost the month of the berries

being born on bushes

and the month of the

sunís greatest power;

they lost the moment of the coldest winds,

when snow came into the tepees,

and they lost the years defined

by a battle,

or an act of courage,

or a great vision

upon a mountain.

Seeing none of that,

they kept a record

of every blind day.

They gave a number

to every moment

whose value they stole.

As they destroyed the open prairie

with fences,

breaking it up into little pieces

and giving it away

to those who did not understand it,

so they cut apart

the open prairie

of a manís life

with dates, marking, yet hiding,

his every day of being apart from God,

and giving those who wanted

to use him,

a way of finding him.

That is how we know

the day your proud spirit

was driven away

from the land

that only you,

and yours,

knew how to love.

September 5, 1877.

The day you died;

the day the

heart of the earth was broken.

The day the earth,

stained with tears,

vowed it would come back

through your people,

never forgetting,

in the season when the blind men

fell,

and your way

was the only way left.

 

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It Had To Be This Way

 

It had to be this way.

To see what was needed,

you had to be different.

Being different,

you triggered their

instinct of self-defense.

The used all the tricks

of the free world

to silence you,

all the violence of the dictators

that their

system

could hide.

 

Rejection was their death squad,

poverty was their jail,

prejudice was their bayonet,

loneliness was their torture.

 

They let you walk on the street

as a way of pretending,

as a way of saying, "Who? Us?"

But the street led nowhere,

miles and miles of nowhere,

winding through a city

that, for you, was uninhabited.

Every door was closed

because of the way you looked,

with something unbeaten in your eyes,

something contagious in your heart.

Trained, like soldiers, to guard

the emptiness,

they did their duty,

they made your life empty

except for the

dream

that you bore everywhere, like a pregnant mother

about to give birth.

But to give birth

you needed their womb,

and they

would not let you have it.

No, instead, they locked

you in the prison

that no one sees,

behind the barbed wire of their fear

and the hard wall of their hate,

in the gulag of the free.

All you needed to be alive

was to give them something:

you never thought

no one would show up

for Christmas.

And your only gift has been

your pain,

given to yourself like a medal;

and your only victory has been

not ceasing to love them,

though your love is laced with

so much heartbreak, now,

that it is just

like pointing a gun at your head.

 

But it had to be this way.

If you were like them,

you never wouldíve seen.

Those who have something to give here

are hunted down like dogs.

Antibodies swarm around every beautiful idea,

and then the streets come to collect all the broken voices.

In the night of course

(because Liberty needs her sleep).

 

But it had to be this way.

To help them you had to see;

which means

you had to be stopped.

Because here,

freedom is only for the blind.

 

 

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Ahead Of My Times

 

 

Iím glad to be

ahead of my times.

That way, itís true,

I catch a lot of punches;

but with each one,

I can hear the future

saying, "Thank you."

 

 

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The Alphabet Of Killing

 

A was killed,

so B must die,

which put C next in line.

D followed C,

E followed D,

Till F cried, "No, not me!"

Gís revenge

brought tears to H,

which turned into Gís blood.

But not long afterwards

I left H

lying in the mud.

I tried to hide

but could not evade

Jís relentless search.

But as J killed I

in front of K,

J was soon lying in the dirt.

Next, for a time, K stood high,

too powerful to fell,

until Jís child grew up

to become the warrior called L.

And then Kís time came

as we all knew it would,

just as Lís must one day come,

it was understood.

Thus M struck L,

and N struck M

in the middle of the night.

And O killed N,

and P killed O

right in broad daylight.

But Q said, "P, you broke my heart,

you took away everything I had.

Iím going to make you cry,

Iím going to hurt you real bad."

And P could not survive

the wounds he received from Q.

Then R came up and said to Q,

"What you did to P, Iíll do to you."

R fulfilled his word,

which brought forth S in battle-dress.

Soon R was but a lifeless body

lying at the feet of S.

Then Rís son T, without a dad,

nurtured by his motherís grief,

made Sís children orphans,

children of defeat.

But of course that only woke up

the tiger sleeping in Uís soul;

he forgot his holy book,

something in him lost control.

And since it hurts much less to hate

than it does to cry,

he shot T down in cold blood

and then he watched him die.

But though T had murdered S,

To V heíd been so kind,

so when V saw what U did to T,

it completely blew his mind.

So with the same gun with which U murdered T

he came right up to U

and said, "What you put T through,

youíre going to go through, too."

But then W stepped out

from behind the shadows of a wall.

"Take this V," he cried, "you killer,

this bullet will end it all!"

But it didnít stop there,

no it didnít end because

when W killed V he forgot to look

to see where X was.

And X took out W,

took him in a flash.

But Y was right there, ready,

and that day was Xís last.

And that left Y and Z,

in the front lines of the war,

each had a gun and bullets,

but said, "We need some more.

Weapons more destructive,

something to guarantee

what happened to all the others

will not happen to me."

And that is how it came about,

as Y killed Z in rage,

Y was killed as well

by a bullet he could not evade.

Yes, both of them fell down,

at the same time their life left,

and then there was only the silence

of the end of the alphabet.

 

 

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Los Nin~os De Chapultapec

Nin~os de Chapultapec.

It was hard for me

to see you.

Hard to know

where your blood

came from.

Hard to know

how many stars

you gave

to my flag.

 

But there you were,

frozen in stone

telling it to every passer-by;

remembered by a monument

that is just like the ones we have, up here,

except that ours

have left you out.

 

And for a moment - I donít know why -

I felt fear,

like a swimmer

who suddenly sees the shape of a shark

in the water,

right beside him,

until I realized

that the shark was me,

and then, my fear

turned into horror, and

my horror turned into this poem:

 

One manís victory

is another manís death.

One manís celebration

is another manís mother,

dressed in black.

One manís gold

is another manís hunger.

One manís fame

is another manís oblivion.

 

The fallen

destroy all the causes

for which they fall,

because they are the greatest

cause of all:

not a means,

but an end.

Not a way of protecting something,

but something

to be protected.

 

One manís victory

is another manís death.

 

Today,

the hero children of Chapultapec

stand with angels

and grieving mothers

in the city

that is just as free

as we let it be.

The city

we gave back

after we killed its youthful

soul

on the slopes

of the mountain

that wouldnít surrender.

 

Los Nin~os de Chapultapec

are silent

and yet

they say so much.

 

One manís victory

is another manís death.

 

Which means that

once a man steps out onto

the road of war,

all hope of victory

is lost.

 

You canít win with a gun,

only kill.

 

Itís what the Nin~os de Chapultapec

told me, one day,

when I accidentally

looked at the other side

of the shining coin

in my hand.

 

And one more thing they said:

yesterday

isnít over yet.

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Runaway Truck

 

God, help me!

Sometimes I feel like a captive

on a runaway truck.

It goes where it wants,

it doesnít care,

traffic lights donít stop it,

painted lines on the road

canít hem it in,

its power

makes the rules,

its engines

are the law.

Up by the driverís window,

thereís a little icon of Jesus,

swinging wildly around,

as helpless as I am.

 

And I can hear the people outside screaming

as the truck plows into their midst,

I can hear the thud of their bodies

flying against the metal.

I see the looks of desperation and horror on motherís faces,

some of them running away

with children in their arms,

some of them running forward

with empty arms desperate to be filled,

before they vanish

underneath the giant wheels.

I can hear people screaming and cursing after us,

like a miles-long wake left behind by the

passage of a mighty ocean liner,

the cut it has made upon the seaís face,

following it, and leading to it, everywhere it goes,

as the truck roars on

into the night,

leaving the dead and wounded behind it

like something that didnít happen.

And I know,

because I am a passenger on this

runaway truck,

that the hatred of those whose lives

it ruined

will pursue me to the end of time,

that their hatred is meant for me,

that my picture has been placed

upon the altar

of their rage,

and that they will forever see me as the truck.

 

God help me!

What can I do?!

I canít stop the truck,

I canít get out,

I just seem to be trapped here,

an endless witness

to the mayhem of the truck

that carries my name

down the highway,

representing me

to the world.

When I scream "Stop!" to the driver,

it is as useless as asking

a freezing night in the wilderness

to stop being cold.

It is like standing

all alone

in the mountains.

Who hears you?

When I say "Iím sorry"

to the people the truck is mowing down,

they see me looking out the window and say,

"There he is! The killer!"

And they store the image

of my protest,

which is too useless to see,

in the womb where revenge grows.

And the driver knows

how it goes.

Soon theyíll come looking for me,

which will make his runaway truck

be the only safe place left

in all the world; and

Iíll begin to call him father,

and worship the speed

of the giant wheels

that never let the consequences

of what they do catch up.

 

God, help me,

I want to stop the truck,

I want to get off!

This is not who I am!

Before I die,

I want the world to know

that I have been crying for its children

all night long.

I want the world to know that

though my tears have

not saved a single life,

neither has my hand

taken a single life.

I want the world to know

that I am ashamed,

that I hate to be riding in this truck,

that I want to put an end

to this nightmare journey.

I want the world to know

that the truck is not me,

it is my jail,

and my heart is broken

by its path.

 

God help me to stop this truck!

God help me to get off!

God help me

to find a way back

to the rest of the world!

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Underestimated (Rap Lyrics)

 

 

 

You came

as fresh as the new day

like a sun shining

from far away

when it rises up

with its golden rays

to drive the last darkness

of night away

 

But then a man

asked you 'Where're you from?'

And when you told him

he said 'You ain't no sun

cause from where you say

no light can come,

no beautiful souls

just worthless ones.'

 

Don't let yourself

be underestimated

Don't let your mind

be exterminated

Don't let your heart

be violated

Don't let yourself

be underrated.

 

Believe in yourself

Believe in yourself

Believe in yourself

 

If you don't believe

you'll never be free

 

Believe in yourself

 

On that first day

you heard what they said

and you let it get

inside your head

like poison in water

that leaves the drinker dead

They closed your greatness

like a book not read

 

And you let the look

upon their face

go deep into

your heart and stay

they blew out the candle

of your inner faith

and you let them do it

and then you let them get away.

 

Don't let yourself

be underestimated

Don't let your mind

be exterminated

Don't let your heart

be violated

Don't let yourself

be underrated.

 

Believe in yourself

Believe in yourself

Believe in yourself

 

If you don't believe

you'll never be free

 

Believe in yourself

 

Don't be controlled

by their contempt

That's their secret

inner government

Don't be controlled

by what they found

They found what they wanted

and they want you down

 

Believe in yourself

Believe in yourself

Believe in yourself

 

If you don't believe

you'll never be free

 

Believe in yourself

 

One man heard your silence

and called you dumb

Another saw your color

and said 'You ain't the one'

One saw your anger

and began to run

Another heard your accent

and said 'The slums'

 

But can't you see

that their cruel blind eyes

their cold hearts and souls

that have no light

have no right

to define a life

Get out of their mind

let yourself shine

 

Don't let yourself

be underestimated

Don't let your mind

be exterminated

Don't let your heart

be violated

don't let yourself

be underrated.

 

Believe in yourself

Believe in yourself

Believe in yourself

 

If you don't believe

you'll never be free

 

Believe in yourself

Believe in yourself

Believe in yourself

 

Let yourself shine

Let yourself shine

Let yourself shine

 

 

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Survival Pace (Song Lyrics)

 

 

You ask me why I don't work harder

Why I don't get into this working craze

Well let me tell you it's cause I got a life

outside of this rat race

 

Just take a look around you

look deep into everybody's face

and tell me, can't you see the pain

of people's lives just going to waste?

 

Survival pace, Survival pace

Got to get back to a real place

Survival pace, Survival pace

Don't spend it all here, learn to save

Survival pace, Survival pace

Don't let them throw your life away

Survival pace, Survival pace

Leave with something left each day

 

You ask me why I don't get caught up

in all this desperate energy

doing things to make somebody rich

when that someone sure ain't me

 

It's cause I got so much love to give

and I got such great dreams to reach

I ain't gonna let them burn my fire out

just to sustain my poverty

 

Survival pace, Survival pace

Got to get back to a real place

Survival pace, Survival pace

Don't spend it all here, learn to save

Survival pace, Survival pace

Don't let them throw your life away

Survival pace, Survival pace

Leave with something left each day 

 

Some people will use your life

and turn your blood into their gold

But don't let them take your soul

God gave your life to you not them

You are your last line of defense

so remember friend:

When you can't just walk away

cause you got bills to pay

It's time to go into survival pace.

 

I know some people call me lazy

and think I just don't care

They don't know how filled my world is,

how many things are there

 

In fact that's why I don't shine here

in their stupid job of suicide

cause I got something to protect

and I got to bring it out alive

 

Survival pace, survival pace

Got to get back to a real place

Survival pace, Survival pace

Don't spend it all here, learn to save

Survival pace, Survival pace

Don't let them throw your life away

Survival pace, Survival pace

Leave with something left each day

 

Survival pace, Survival pace,

Leave with something left each day

 

 

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You Coulda Been Mandela (Rap Lyrics)  

 

 

Another night, another life,

a siren flashing like a knife,

a city dripping with the blood of crimes,

the ones they show and the ones they hide,

and a crowd of peopleís gathered outside

to see the criminal in the cop carís light,

a young kid who pulled a gun tonight

on a bodega guy, and said, "Go to the back",

and he grabbed this good manís hard-earned cash,

but he left a trail, and they got him fast

and now his hands are cuffed behind his back

and the cops are bending his head down

so he doesnít hit it on the car, like ouch!,

like that really matters when what heís looking at now

is years of hell to pay in the pound

and the crowd is cheering the car doorís closing sound,

"Good riddance, now itís a safer town",

and though I agree, still Iím feeling down

as thoughts and feelings in my heart abound,

which is why I wrote these words down

about the tragedy of a kid who let himself down.

 

I wish I coulda told you this before

and told you about another war

where youíre needed, so much more,

but now itís too late to warn

 

You blew it big-time, let me tell ya

let me tell ya, let me tell ya,

let me tell ya.

You coulda been Mandela,

a warrior, my fella,

who really stood for something

like Malcolm loving Allah

or the Roman Brothers Gracchus

Martin Luther King or Cesar Chavez,

Cuauhtemoc or Zapata,

who didnít do it for la plata,

they did it for their raza

 

But you let them steal your struggle

Couldnít you see what was going on?

No, you fought the way they wanted you to,

and now youíre just another con.

 

You coulda been Mandela

You coulda been Mandela

You coulda been Mandela

You coulda been Mandela

 

You coulda been Zapata

You coulda been Zapata

You coulda been Zapata

You coulda been Zapata

 

All around the city and the world I see

slums and sorrow and misery

people in despair and poverty

captive people who want to be free

tied down by hearts of greed

waiting for heroes to break the chains

just like the desert waits for rain

but what can they do, and what can they say

when the heroes theyíre waiting for lose their way

when the freedom fighters go astray

cause the system got inside their brains

and instead of saying "NO", they played the game,

what they shouldíve fought is what they became

trying to be just the same

with the gold and the girl and the taste of fame,

and all the guts they had was thrown away

cause they used it in all the wrong ways

not to reach a higher place

but to try to win the poison race

and all I could say was "What a shame",

as the cop car pulled away in the pouring rain.

 

I wish I coulda told you this before

and told you about another war

where youíre needed, so much more

but now itís too late to warn

 

You blew it big-time, let me tell ya,

let me tell ya, let me tell ya,

let me tell ya.

You coulda been Mandela,

a warrior, my fella,

who really stood for something

like Malcolm loving Allah

or the Roman Brothers Gracchus

Martin Luther King or Cesar Chavez

Cuauhtemoc or Zapata

who didnít do it for la plata

they did it for their raza.

 

But you let them steal your struggle

Couldnít you see what was going on?

No, you fought the way they wanted you to,

and now youíre just another con.

 

You coulda been Mandela

You coulda been Mandela

You coulda been Mandela

You coulda been Mandela

 

You coulda been Zapata

You coulda been Zapata

You coulda been Zapata

You coulda been Zapata

 

You coulda been Mandela

You coulda been Mandela

You coulda been Mandela

You coulda been Mandela

 

You coulda been Zapata

You coulda been Zapata

You coulda been Zapata

You coulda been Zapata

 

You coulda been Mandela

You coulda been Zapata

You coulda been Mandela

You coulda been Zapata

 

You coulda been Mandela

You coulda been Zapata

You coulda been Mandela

You coulda been Zapata

 

 

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False Family (Song Lyrics)

 

False Family

False Tribe

Everybody wants

to feel alive

 

False Family

False Tribe

How many of the

searchers died?

 

The wasteland did it

these cold streets

without a heart

without a dream

 

No worldís so full

of emptiness

hollow hype

and needs unmet

 

So they came together

to make a real place

but the wounds they had

hid the way

 

And like a stray bullet

they missed

How could a beautiful dream

end like this?

 

False Family

False Tribe

Everybody wants

to feel alive

 

False Family

False Tribe

How many of the

searchers died?

 

And the street warrior,

with his signs, is down

And the little girl

on the playground

And mothersí tears

are all around

And a generation

is 6 feet underground

And one kidís mind

canít be found

cause what he buys to live

just makes him drown

like a river of hope

with currents that pull you down

And the courage and closeness

that were their goal

only made the bells

of the world toll

 

False Family

False Tribe

Everybody wants

to feel alive

 

False Family

False Tribe

How many of the

searchers died?

 

The wasteland did it

these cold streets

without a heart

without a dream

 

No worldís so full

of emptiness

hollow hype

and needs unmet

 

So they came together

to make a real place

but the wounds they had

hid the way

 

And like a stray bullet

they missed

how could a beautiful dream

end like this?

 

False Family

False Tribe

Everybody wants

to feel alive

 

False Family

False Tribe

How many

more must die?

 

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