Growing Up, Not Old

by Houston Hughes

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Tylor This album stands out from anything else I have. Not quite hip-hop, not quite spoken-word. It's just brilliant storytelling on meaningful subject matter. It's a inspiring piece of creative art. Favorite track: Open Letter to Michelle Duggar.
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credits

released June 30, 2016

All tracks:
Words by Houston Hughes
Mixed and mastered by Justin Velte: facebook.com/JMVStudios

Cruel and Unusual
Music by Randall Shreve: www.randallshreve.com/store.html

Open Letter to Michelle Duggar
Music & arrangement by Skyler Greene
Keys by Joseph Hitchcock: www.paperanthem.com
Additional recording by Skyler Greene

Gods & Guns
Music by Shawn James: shawnjamessoul.bandcamp.com

1986
Music & arrangement by Skyler Greene
Additional recording by Skyler Greene

Sex Ed
Recorded by Skyler Greene live at “My Open Mic” at Dickson Street Pub, 2016-03-06

Rich People Church
Music by Justin Velte & Houston Hughes
Additional recording by Skyler Greene
Choir:
Jackson Jennings (www.facebook.com/jacksonjenningsmusic),
Trista McVey, Michelle Redmond, DM Shepherd

Album Artwork
“The World’s Oldest DJ” by Joëlle - facebook.com/ThouARTjoelle


For more of Houston Hughes
www.facebook.com/PoetryByHouston
Contact/booking/collaboration requests: HoustonRH7@gmail.com

This album was made possible thanks to the continued support of
the local music and arts community of Fayetteville, Arkansas.

Thanks:

to Justin Velte, for friendship and professionalism that both exceed any I’ve found in another human being;

to the poets and performers of Last Saturday, particularly Doug Shields, Molly Sroges, and Audrey LeBert, for the friendship and community that dug me out of a deep writing hole;

to Skyler Greene, for his gifts of time and energy and vodka, and for creating a space for performers to try out new and weird things;

to Randall Shreve and Shawn James for allowing me the immense pleasure of collaborating with the giants on whose shoulders I stand;

to Brad and Madeleine, for encouraging madness at every step;

to the audience of Last Saturday, for restoring my faith in myself after it had all been lost.


All tracks copyright Houston Hughes, 2016.

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Track Name: Cruel and Unusual
At the beginning of the twentieth century,
Amidst multiple botched hangings
and calls to end the death penalty,
Thomas Edison and the westinghouse electric company
Attempted to prove electrocutions safe and humane
by killing animals with it.
The largest casualty
was an elephant named Topsy;
sentenced to fry in front of a live audience,
in the center of a shining new amusement park.
1500 people paid a quarter each
to watch her topple like an old grey skyscraper,
watch her flinch and shiver,
throw her trunk in the air in surrender
and then disappear behind a rising curtain of smoke,

Soon, the method was tested on humans.
Even though the first few ran into some issues-
spines exploding like roman candles,
boiling eyeball fluid causing pupils to vesuvius -
Luckily,
we fixed it quickly enough for George Stiney,
the smallest person ever electrocuted, At 14,
his frame too short to reach the electrodes,
so we strapped him on a stack of bibles,
threw the switch in righteous justice,
but when the adult-sized mask,
meant to keep proper distance between guilt and innocence
slipped away,
it revealed his sobbing, terrified,
final face to…..
no audience at all.

The gallows
were always a stage;
consider the rigging
and the trap doors,
The way we lined the cast up for curtain call,
and then made them dance the marionette jitterbug,
The oxygen deprivation shake.
the guillotine
similarly theatrical,
included vendors, printed programs,
and folks camping out for seating
close enough to see the eyes keep blinking
while severed necks drooled juice like rotten fruit.
Those drawn and quartered
would have their still warm corpses
disemboweled,
hacked into fourths,
and dragged behind horses,
paraded through crowded, shouting streets.
And In roman arenas
lions trained to rip christ
right out of your throat
left the circus maximus
packed to capacity
with law abiding
tax paying citizens; see

for most of human history,
if your crime was worth the price of admission,
we made certain the tax funded justice
was a spectacle worth witnessing,
the assumption being
death only serves as an effective lesson
If the whole class is present and paying attention...

and then came Topsy.

Not thirteen days after her spark had left her,
the grotesque specter of Edison's electric elephant
haunted boardwalks across the country -
A nickel and a crank of the kinetoscope
would let you peep show her death dance to your hearts content -

the problem was,
those early issues with electrocution
never actually went away,
and the same current that fell the elephant
ran the cameras now ensuring
anything sufficiently shocking
could also be viewed in perpetuity,
used as fuel for the anti-death penalty movement.

But those in favor
swore we could find a new way that wasn’t so cruel and unusual -
it was just a matter of proper execution.

The solution:
turn it into a magic trick!
Lock them in a box for long enough
that no one’s still watching by the time they disappear -
the secret, as always,
an audience willing to be deceived.

You don’t want to see
that the pricetag is ten times higher
than a life spent in prison;
that 1 in 25 after they’ve died
is proven innocent;
that statistically
it no longer works as a crime deterrent:

because the real trick
is that if you don’t see the bodies,
you don’t have to feel empathy
for people like
Emmit Foster,
who gasps and convulses
when he should be asleep;
thirty minutes later they realize
the straps on the gurney
had been too tight
so their chemical concoction couldn’t kill him quite right.

Robin Parks
turns out to be allergic to the very medicine
meant to make death quick and painless;
the state races to make their drugs
kill him before the reaction does.

Clayton Lockett,
after his IV dislodges,
jolts awake,
attempts to scream
but paralyzed lungs keep him from breathing,
so he writhes in agony,
awake and aware every minute till the end.

This is the entertainment you’re paying for,
you're the one Inserting the quarter and cranking the handle.
So even if what you see turns your stomach,
you’ve still gotta keep your eyes open!
Don’t you wanna get your moneys worth?
Or is this balancing act we call justice only beautiful to you
when you can do it blindfolded,
when you don’t have to address the elephant in the room,
when we don’t have to be a country
struggling with the alchemy
of spinning murder into mercy?

Either watch every one,
or end the death penalty,
because the only reason to put on such a grand show in secret
Is knowing that if the audience could see it
they’d pull the plug.
Track Name: Dick Pics
Let’s say you’ve been texting a beautiful lady.
Things are going great so far
But you need a way to escalate the conversation to the next level.
You don’t want to put in the effort to create meaningful dialogue
And you’re no good at flirting through traditional routes
Like genuine compliments or non-homiphobic jokes,
So what do you do?
Easy!
Send a dick pic!

Sending a dick pic is the fun and flirty way to indicate
Just how special you really think your lucky lady is.
And when you send a dick pic,
You’ll know you’re in good company,
From senators and sports stars
To that one guy at the bar who she only gave her number to so he’d leave her the hell alone,
Men all over are sending their special sweetie phallic photos.
It’s a great way to break out of the friendzone,
Reconnect with an ex,
Or drop the subtle drunken hint
That you’re ready to become housemates with benefits.

So let’s you’ve laid down the solid ground work with “hey”, and “sup”
And at some point she sent you the winky face,
Which everyone knows translates as
“bring on the bulge and balls boy, game on!”
But what do you do now?

Step 1: take your dong out.
And not just partially;
Unleash the kraken!
If the Anthony Weiner incident has taught us anything,
It’s that keeping things under wraps
Might make her mistakenly think that you have a modicum of modesty,
Or some sense of embarrassment!
Let you fuck flag flap freely in the breeze
Like it was waving immodestly over a used car lot!

Step 2: Wash your dick
And while you’re down there,
Tame your unruly pubes
With some generous manscaping.
You don’t need to shave completely,
Just remove enough
so it doesn’t look like an afro is starting to grow a mutant thumb

Step 3: Make sure your camera is quality:
No lady likes a grainy grundle!

Step 4: lighting and composition
Think about what kind of mood you want to invoke with your dick.
Do you want the shot to seem playful and spontaneous, or more refined?
Is your dick a hard worker, or a high roller?
Treat your penis as if it were a canvas,
And you are dickcaso,
dickelangelo,
dongatello,
cockael,
or van gogh… only if you’ve been circumsized

If you’re taking the picture at home,
Make sure to remove anything embarrassing from the background;
Nothing will ruin a dick pic faster
Than that old crusty sprite bottle you’ve been ejaculating into.

Side note: If you’ve got herpes or HPV,
Consider strategically placed rhinestones,
Or as it’s better known,
Peenjazzling

Step 5: the delivery

now that you’ve put in all this preparation,
Why waste it on just one person?
You are Oprah and you’ve got cocks to give away!
You get a dick pick, and you get a dick pick,
Everybody gets dick picks!
If anyone doesn’t like it,
You can always pretend it was unintentional
By replying with a throw away line like:
“oh, sorry! My bad! That was supposed to go to my grandma.”

But no matter what happens,
never let yourself get discouraged!
Just because every woman so far has rejected
your hot, throbbing resume
is no reason to stop lobbing those sweet scrotal selfies;
Keep on flinging your insecurities
into non-consenting inboxes long enough
and surely someone will validate your existence,
even if just out of pity.
Track Name: WalMart
Hello.
Welcome to WalMart.
Can I help you find something today?

I see the far off neon glow glaze your gaze as you enter,
Amidst the hum of incandescence,
The staccato chorus of barcode readers
And the subtle percussion of pushcarts
Pregnant to bursting with your bundles;

Because it’s 3am, and who else is open?
Because you don’t want to drive to separate places
for your diapers and your lightbulbs;
Because it’s… cheaper
It’s just… cheaper,
And there is no shame in being so shallow
(your pockets, I mean)

Paint me as evil if you want;
it’s always easier to throw stones
when you don’t know the glass house is made of mirrors,
An amalgam of all that “American” has become
Besides,
I’m used to having a target trailing me.

I was born
as an Arkansas 5 and dime
in the land of ambition,
I grew
on a cannibalistic diet of ma and pa stores
and blood from the cut-throat hunt
of predatory pricing,
Now,
I scout new sites to plant my feet
Like conquistadors,
Manifest destiny of capitalism
And the smallpox of big box
Hiding in my designer blankets

In mexico,
I bulldozed an ancient alter for my parking lot;
In Nashville,
I relocated civil war bones for my bathroom
And you,
Minimum wage slave,
Have the audacity to complain about your bondage
When you’re the one paying for these retail chains.
I don’t have to work to suck your blood
With your wallet hemorrhaging the way it does

So come ,
and make fun of the trailerpark trash that blows in
While spending the cash
That builds the trap which holds them captive,
Come,
and tell yourself the stealing from me is ethical
Even when it means not buying locally either,
Come,
And roam my aisles like forlorn lovers
Looking for the puzzle piece product to fill the hole
you’ve carved out of your hearts in my image,
my costumers
my beautiful consumers,
leave me if you like
but know another will always rise up
to take my place in this relationship…

When a race of alien archeologist
Come to uncover what mattered most to us,
They will be welcomed into subterania
By old, wrinkled plastic smiling baggy faces,
The remains no culture could ever break down

So welcome to Walmart
How can I help you?
Track Name: Open Letter to Michelle Duggar
An open letter to Michelle Duggar
star of 19 Kids And Counting,
who helped repeal an anti-discrimination amendment in our city
by sending out robocalls
claiming non-gendered bathrooms
would lead to an increase
in predators molesting children.


Dear Michelle
Around here,
Everyone has heard the joke,
about your body and the clown car,
both Overflowing with humans for our amusement,
But I think you you are are a traffic jam,
or an airport,
or something people are always moving through,
but never their final destination.

The day your future husband
came to convert you,
all smiles and bible to hide his intentions,
Did he mention then that his brand of christianity
came with an “always open” clause on your body?
That following his version of god meant
saying “no” would never again be an option?
Or did he wait until after the wedding,
till the first night you didn’t feel like being known biblically
to let you know your skin was scripture
you could never again keep sacred from him again?

When I see you on TV labeled “reality”
preaching the male fantasy that women
are created to find men and serve them.
I wonder if that’s just him,
his voice echoing through the cavern he has carved out of you.

Now, You are the buzzing hive of a home
to which your sweet drones will always return.
But when your husband touches you,
does it feel like he is only breaking you open for honey,
for the fruits of his pollination,
and your labor?

Michelle, when is the last time his hand moved up your thigh
Like he was searching for more than a container for compost,
an open hole to hold his filthy seeds until they sprout?

Is this why you make you girls wear skirts like blackout curtains,
Blouses like body armor,
Build firewalls against the outside world
Strong enough to withstand culture wars,
So you can keep them as long as possible
from the man you assume will also fuck them empty,
Will excavate any sense of self esteem
So that they can be filled
with whichever perversion of scripture or pleasure he pleases?

Michelle, we cannot makes laws
based on believing we all touch each other
with your family's brand of husbandry,
that we are all just out to plow someone
who we can treat like fertile dirt.

You can’t assume the worst from the world
Just because
that’s what you have to go home to every night,
just because you’ve never had anyone inside you
who could love you as more than a 9-month calendar,
as a tally sheet,
17, 18, 19, and still counting.


Michelle,
I think you dialed me by mistake
I think your automated anatomy
was trying to robocall for help,
for paramedics or police,
To dial just those three digits you need,
But by now your body has long forgotten
the meaning of “stop”,
So your fingers trembled
over and over and over.
until they found me,
and thousands of other numbers in my city
Who heard something in your voice
they mistook for honesty,
but was only truthful in its fear;
Michelle,
The word monger
means to traffic,
means to move through.

I don’t think you oppose this law
Just because someone with claws like your husband’s
or your sons
might hollow your daughters
into tunnels to pass through.

I think you oppose it
because the bathroom
may be the last place that you
still feel safe
from him.
Track Name: Surgical Strikes
Every country wants to be beautiful,
Some just need a little more help than others do.
And That’s what we’re here for;
The shining surgery center on top of the hill,
A neon beacon for all to see:
United States Plastique Surgery.

Welcome to your wartable consultation.
Now we’ve taken the liberty to map out on your body
Target areas we think could use some reconstruction,
Just the standard procedure:
The Governmentectomy,
We go in, remove your current ruling regime
And replace it with a new one we’ve crafted for you personally.
And we can assure you,
It’ll look so convincing
Only those who look closely will know it’s not the real thing.

The first step of the surgery
Will be 24-hour news coverage of the area in the media-
It’ll help to numb things up.
Then we’ll begin by going in
And eliminating those pesky pockets of resistance
and spots of insurgency –
They can become cancerous if left untreated.

We’ll make a few injections of spec ops –
(yes it’s technically toxic
But it’ll smooth things out in the long run) –
And once we’ve made those initial points of entry,
We’ll begin the real scalpel rattling,
Call in the whole team,
and Declare a war on “ugly”,
We’ll make you look beautiful like the kind of bronze statues
You’ve probably watched them topple on TV.
We’ll break you
Bone by home,
And then set the mold so that you’ll heal in our imagine.
Bleach your skin till it’s marbled
And no longer seems so foreign.

Now, if your body cooperates,
We can prop up your dictatorship
With a prosthetic election,
But that’ll only hold for so long,
So we prefer to just go ahead and directly implant the democracy.
[be careful with that thing – you might put somebody's eye out]

Once that primary procedure is complete,
We can move to a few of the elective surgeries:
Military augmentation and oil field liposuction.
Neither is required,
But we’ve might as well while we’ve got you under.

We tend to not come in
with a specific exit strategy,
But generally,
We’ll try to close you up quickly
And move on to our next client,
within 5 to 10 years.
Now sometimes,
Your body will reject the new government,
But don’t worry if your stitches get civil-war-torn,
We offer free lifetime replacement procedures and reconstructive surgeries.
And the best part is,
You don’t owe us a thing up front.
Our tax-payer sponsored healthcare ensures all your costs are covered.

We have happy customers from all over the world,
Including
Panama, Hawaii, Grenada, haiti, Cuba, The Phillipines, Afghanistan, Somalia, Bosnia, Kosovo, Guyana, Kuwait, Iraq, Iran, Iraq again, Syria, and more!
Don’t believe me?
Here’s a testimony from one of our satisfied customers:

We can’t be sure of your full recovery period,
And it’s definitely going to sting.
But we assure you,
As doctors,
We follow the “do no harm” oath of Hypocrates;
Otherwise the term “surgical strikes” would be terribly misleading.

You know, Some people may try to call you Frankenstein.
I think it’s odd how often they confuse
Who was the doctor
And who was the monster.
Track Name: In Guns We Trust
1
I got my first god from my father
Before I even understood what one was.
And even though it was second-hand,
Seemed centuries old and more than a bit worn,
I believed in that god, because I got it from him.
He taught me to respect it,
So I kept it locked up
In a rosewood case
Next to the kitchen table,
And that’s where it stayed
Until early morning Sunday
When we’d all pile into the dilapidated station wagon,
And go down to town for the God show!
It wasn’t till I got older that I realized
It wasn’t actually about the gods
So much as it was the community,
A whole room full of people
Celebrating the one that that keeps them feeling safe

2.
I keep my god in a steel box underneath my bed,
Between the photograph of my mother
And love letters from an ex girlfriend
Scribbled in eyebrow pen.
I don’t pull them out much anymore
Except when I’m alone
And the world begins slowly closing in,
I’ll squeeze it between my palms
till my fingertips tremble,
or hold it up to my temple
Whisper my fears to it
And listen to the cold silence
As it echoes in the shells

3.
there’s a man down on the street corner
With a sandwich board
And he’ll sell you the type of god that’s illegal now,
The kind that’s ready to kill a man at the drop of a hat,
The kind you pull out when your woman cheats on you
Or your sun turns out to be gay,
The kind with hammer-cock like held prayer breath,
With barrel like a pulpit,
The kind of semiautomatic brimstone spitter
They don’t allow in pleasant company anymore

4.
Of course the founding fathers intended for us all to have gods!
If someone comes along with a god and threatens you,
You don’t want to be the only one without a god, do you?
And nobody wants us to be like England
Where not even the police carry one!
Really, what’s gonna keep people from raping and stealing
If they don’t think a god will?
That’d be like trying to take
“in guns we trust” off our money!
This country was given to us by our almighty gun
So that we could have the freedom
To carry our gods
Where ever we gun-damn please.
A good conservatives knows
that any form of god control
is un-American;

5.
You haven’t forgotten what happened,
Have you?
All it took was a few men with an unwavering faith in their guns
To take down those two towers.
And they didn’t even have a god!
If everyone on that plane’d had had a god
You know that never would have happened…
It almost makes you doubt the power of your own gun.

6.
The Safety Manual:
Kids,
Never point a god at someone, even to joke around.
If you see a god in the area, please leave immediately.
If your friend wants to show you a god, just say no!

Parents, Keep your gods away from children!
Children don’t realize
That gods are tools,
And might instead treat them like toys,
To threaten people around them.

Remember:
Gods don’t kill people,
People with gods kill people
Track Name: Haiku
Cheese dip is like a
Terrorist to my asshole;
call it al-queso

if bob Dylans voice
was used for police sirens:
whew whew whew whew whew

Radiohead won’t
play creed at their live concerts.
Pretentious fuckwads

Kennedy used to
be methodical. After
Dallas? Scatter-brained

Indiana Jones
4 was awful; made no sense:
Refrigerator

Republicans make
a laser weapon; call it
the Ronald Ray-Gun

Santa Claus, Big Foot
Easter Bunny, Tooth Fairy
Jesus Fucking Christ

Jesus the gymnists
crossbar routine scores: ten, ten,
ten, ten, ten. Nailed it.

Woman who knows how
to get what she wants online:
Amazonian?

I want you so deep
Inside me, my fetus can
Give you a hand job

Some girls bleach their ass
holes. Dated a hippie once
who had hers tie-died

Punctuation sex:
she’s on her period, so
I’m in her colon
Track Name: Predator
Hi there, America
Chris Hansen here
With to catch a predator
Why don’t you have a seat?

What did you think was going to happen?
Did you really believe the effective strategy
Was to yell at yourself repeatedly:
Don’t think about little girls.
Don’t think about little girls.
Don’t think about little girls.
While you build the runways for Toddlers in Tiaras,
While you take the path Britney Spears blazed
and pave it into the Miley Cyrus superhighway?
When did you realize
The color of money
Is the same as unripened fruit?
But with enough lipstick and blush
you can makeup for age
by painting juvenile into bloom?

Why are your most common search terms:
Teen, cheerleader, barely legal, schoolgirl,
Why is labiaplasty
Even a word?
When you see a woman matured,
Do you want less?
Does the word “reduction”
Sound sexy to you?
Do you prefer veal
Over steak,
the taste of flesh
from legs too tender
to understand “sprint”?

History seems to indicate this started in the 60s.
Is it a coincidence
That submission becomes sexy
At the same time women’s empowerment begins building?
Are you scared to find the 19th amendment
Hidden in her hips?
The word “no” tucked between the creases of her lips?
Is this why you hunt for skin
too young to be fortified
with lines of resistance?

Thin,
Doesn’t mean tall and slender for you, does it?
It means small,
compliant,
Pliable,
Plywood,
Did the image of Twiggy,
Her Barely sprouted breasts
and easily breakable limbs
Suddenly turn you into dendrophile,
Leave you salivating for saplings
To scratch your initials into?

You squirm like schooldesk,
Test day,
No good answers.
You ask question
Like why the age of consent
Isn’t consistent,
I won’t say you’re wrong.
I will say
That even you,
broken clock,
Can be right
At least twice a day
If you choose not to move your hands.

Do you hear them ticking?
Is each day past puberty
A countdown to uselessness,
A bomb,
Filled with slow-motion shrapnel
Called “old”?

Is this show
How you justify yourself?
Sit in your couch
and denounce their perversions
Just a little too loudly?
But You like seeing them like this, don’t you?
Deer caught in headlights to for you to fawn over.

You connoisseur of schadenfreude.
You’ve turned guilt into a spectator's sport,
But when you turn off the television,
It always becomes a mirror.
Track Name: 1986
To my father,
Who I have never met.

In a grade school library,
I discovered myself
in a book series dedicated to astronomical concepts and objects;
the rings of saturn,
the dead volcanoes of mars,
how stars are formed,
But the one that really captured me
was about Halley's comet.

Like all comets,
It’s a happy accident.
and would have remained an unremarkable object
if not disturbed from its rest at the edge of our solar system
in precisely the right way
so that every 76 years,
we get to see it firework its way into our star,
emerge few days later unscathed
and then vanish for another 3 generations.

Legend born of coincidence
Insists that its appearance meant something special -
It was there for the invasion of Hungary,
the death of king harold of england,
it may have even been the star of the nativity,
...But unless I’m still alive in 2061,
I’ll never get to see it except in pictures,
Because the last time it showed up
was the year I was born,
1986.
*********
January of that year,
my mother came home
crying that the sky was falling,
That the world was ending.


Her father let her be,
assuming she, like the rest of the nation,
was mourning Challenger
Whose mission to study halley's comet from space
Had ended earlier that day in disaster.

Back in her room,
She sorted through the wreckage of a pregnancy test,
And found me in the debris.
***
To my biological father, who I will never see
even in pictures,
People often make the mistake of thinking shooting stars are comets
When they’re actually meteors.
The differences between them
Is that a comet shines for months at a time
thanks to the dusty ice it’s collected along its journey.
A meteor is just a chunk of rock and iron
only memorable for the fire it produces for a few seconds
when it crashes through our atmosphere
Or the damage it leaves if it manages to make landfall.

But the interesting thing about meteors
is that even though they can be tools of extinction,
We now believe that the seeds of life on earth
may have rode in on one,
A love letter flung from some disaster
Half a galaxy away.
****
When you took my mothers virginity
the way an asteroid took the dinosaurs,
No warning,
all fury,
did you blame gravity?
Was her mass just in your path at the wrong moment,
and you didn’t know how to respond
but with collision and violence?

9 months later,
she gave me up for adoption,
flung me to the far corners of her universe,
afraid I too would be a crater-maker.
But after a few years of wandering around the word “son”,
I decided to try to find her,
I’m not sure why,
It just felt like some unseen force was pulling me back.

We’re friends now.
And I think she finally believes
that Halley’s appearance in 1986
Predicted more good than evil.
***
To my mother’s rapist,
wherever you may be,
I spent a long time wondering if I should come after you,
Only to realize that following an asteroid
Would requiring burning up alongside of it.
So Instead,
I’m just gonna try to shine long and bright enough to outlive you,
To eclipse you,
To ensure no one ever again gets us confused,
Living every day to prove that, unlike you,
I don’t have to rely on violence to make an impact,
That I am not defined by the disaster that caused my existence,
That the difference between a comet and an asteroid
isn’t just in their trajectory,
it’s what they’re made of.

And maybe, if I’m lucky,
somewhere between your great burn out
and your hole in the ground,
You’ll catch a glimpse of me in the sky
And regret the day you decided
A moment’s explosion
Was worth never knowing your son.

Because even though I won’t come after you,
I know enough about the universe
to tell you that
things have a way, eventually,
of coming back around.
Track Name: Sex Ed
Sex ed as taught to me
By an upbringing in the religious south:

1. my 6th grade gym teacher:

“never touch your penis,
especially if it feels good,
because Jesus is watching you.

You’re going to start growing hair down there
and in some other places too.
The important part is:
sex is like double stick tape
Or a paper heart your partner cut pieces out of,
or a pizza…
The point is,
Having sex with more than one person
makes you broken and worthless and no one will want to eat you.”

2. a particularly ill-informed classmate:
“You just put your wiener into the hole she pees out of
and then you pee in there,
and you fall asleep like that
and then the next day,
she either poops the baby out
or vomits it by dislocating her jaw, like a snake.

But the best sex is anal;
that’s when you pee in her nose!”

3. From a book my parents gave me
entitled “gods plan for your body”:

When two people love each other very much,
they get married
and that makes a baby.
just don’t touch your penis, especially if it feels good
Jesus is watching.

4. my middle school chapel assembly:

“This
is a twenty foot tall
high definition
erect penis
coated in rotting, syphilitic flesh.
This
is a twenty foot tall
high definition vagina
sprouting HPV flesh tower flowers
and oozing puss.
This
is what will happen to you if you even think about sex
Unless you protect yourself
By only making love inside a church-ordained marriage
with the christian partner god intended for you.
Also, condoms are satan’s little finger puppets,
STDs are so tiny they can travel through them
and anyone who tells you differently is in league with lucifer.”

5. my first glimpses of porn:

Sometimes a woman gets on top of a man,
And sort of bounces up and down on him
And she has fun,
but if he starts making too much noise,
She put his penis in her mouth…
I think she’s threatening to bite it off
if he doesn’t shut up and make her happy more

6, my first partner:
Despite me wearing three condoms simultaneously
And her using so much spermicidal lubricant
it felt like fucking a jar of jelly
It was still AWESOME

7. my mother,
after discovering the reciept for those condoms in my car:

You are a disappointment to me
and to Jesus,
and if you’re going to live in sin
and fornicate for any purpose but to procreate,
then you deserve all the AIDs he can give you!

8.

I reached 16 and lost my virginity
without knowing what a period was,
how girls pee,
how a condom works,
or that the clitoris even exists
Because I grew up in Tennessee,
where it’s a crime to teach anything
that could be considered “a gateway to sexual activity”,
where parents have the legal right
to keep their children out of any sex ed classes,
and where those classes
are not required to be medically or factually accurate.

So thank you republican voters and lawmakers
for ensuring abstinence-only education
is a staple of conservative states;
thank you for the high teen birthrates
and STD occurrence in those same states;
thanks for ensuring an entire generation
feels shame about their bodies;
and thanks for making sure that I think about Jesus
every time I masturbate.
Track Name: Rich People Church
Rich people church
just got an atm in the lobby.
Not the front lobby,
but the back one;
they’ve had one in the front since back when
they installed the coffee bar and the gift shop;

rich people church has a gift shop,
has cross shaped snuggies,
has ten plagues finger puppets,
has creepy porcelain bible dioramas,
has collectible jesus figure
with realistic karate chop action
has books like “fifty shades of pray -
how to bring the “biblical“ back into your bedroom”
has t-shirts that try too hard to play on words, like
“need an ark built? I may Noah guy”

rich people church has a worship team,
has a five piece piece arena rock band,
has a competitive choir
with coach and choreographer
to ensure they practice praising perfectly .
has a production crew to run the sound,
the lights,
and the jumbotron.
Rich people church has jumbotron...sssssss
So big you can see pastor ricks spit
as it baptizes the entire front row.
So, rich people church is essentially
just a concert plus a motivational speech

rich people church is where rich people meet once a week,
where lawyers and doctors and politicians
discuss rich people things,
like “brunch”,
like “golf”,
like “the inevitable destruction of the middle class
by a combination of stagnant wages and labor automation”
like “yacht clubs”


Rich people church believes the Prosperity Gospel,
believes god will direct money towards people
who SHOULD have it,
believes your poverty is a test or a punishment,
But don’t ask them how they know the difference.


But Rich people church needs to ask you
to make a few small changes,
like “blessed are the financially insoluble in spirit”
like “give unto caesar what is unable to be hidden in offshore accounts”
like “the love of money by people who haven’t worked hard enough for it
is the root of all evil”
rich people church can afford to genetically engineer
the special breed of miniature camels
that CAN fit through the eye of a needle!

rich people church makes religion a fashion competition,
where they always know what’s “in”.
Rich people church makes you think
about how both christians and dollars
come in denomination.

Rich people church
just adorned its lawn
with the largest crosses
IN ALL OF CHRISTENDOM
...at least until the rich people church up the street
finishes theirs next week.
Rich people church
bought up cheap land for its new expansions,
increased the value of the neighborhood,
but changed the color its neighbors in the process.
Rich people church has great acoustics,
is a perfect recording booth,
an echochamber completely deaf
to everything happening just outside.

rich people church
does not like poor poet,
does not like him needing to get back change from the offering plate,
does not like him placing the christ action figures in inappropriate positions
does not like him entering the gift shop with a whip
yelling about money lenders,
rich people church has a security staff
to kindly escort poor poet outside.
poor poet wouldn’t mind,
except rich people church has poor poets parents.
has poor poets parents perpetually preoccupied preparing for paradise
by paying people to peddle prosperity,
paradoxically by preaching parables praising the piety
of practicing pure poverty by parting with property
Preposterous?
Probably.
But rich people church has always cared more about making dollars
than sense.

Choir:
At rich people church we surround ourselves
with the comforts of those blessed with wondrous wealth,
but when faced with the poor, all we can say
is that money, our lord, works in mysterious ways.

Amen