Tuesday, March 11, 2008

Flashback! "Young and Depressionable"

Hey All. So the General quoted me back to me tonight when considering one of my new pieces. I reminded her of the rest of the quote that follows, then realized that many of you may not know Young and Depressionable. I'm not supposed to have favorites. But Young and Depressionable is one of my favorites. One of my favorites to write. One of my favorites to perform. Hope you like it.

Young and Depressionable



I’m sorry.
Y’all must’ve thought I meant I’m ill,
I’m so nasty on a mic
That numerous manufacturers warranties
specifically exclude me.
Right here, in article 10, section A, it says
“Do not sell this mic to Ruby K,
he shattered 12 of those yesterday.”

And I guess I am that, sometimes.

But I am also ill.


It still has yet to go away,
Outlasting lovers, friendships
And at least fifteen birthdays. Way
Back when I was ten,
I took up the pen
To try to make sense
Of all this, I mean
I just thought they were right.
I was this fat, ugly, dumb nerd
Who deserved daily eruptions of tears
By the time fifth grade rolled around,
This was tradition for six years.

I was too smart for the jocks
Too middle class for the rich kids
And too Jewish for the Christians,
Getting anonymous Heil Hitler cards
From cowardly bastards who knew Print Shop
Could be used for racism and anti-semitism
I thought it was just for funny looking cards
You made for mother’s day.

It’s funny how being different on the playground
Gives you
a birds eye view
of future battles
Lost and found
In hearts and minds around the globe
Capitalism starts training early,
Teaching those who loudly speak
to prey on the different and meek.
Taking civilization out of humanity
Leaving sapien cubs to fend for themselves
On the concrete junglegyms and swings
And I, too weak to speak for me
Believing the names they call me
Till the point of weeping.

Instead of fists outward
I tried turning knives inside
Considered taking swan dives off
Elementary school rooftops
Compacting my skull
And leaving my brain to fry
On the black top.

I’m ill,
Might have
Killed more kids
Than Bush, Harris and Kleibold
The way they tormented me.
If my ten year old self
Wielded a gun
Instead of a pen,
Maybe Columbine kids
Would’ve stayed in perfect health,
Because no one would’ve wanted
Another Morse Elementary
And I’m not trying to justify
What those racist fools did,
But you don’t have many
When you’re an outsider kid.
You might not understand
Why Dylan and Eric broke
But being the butt
Of many playground jokes,
I’ll give you folks clues
That’ll make your ears smoke.
Fuck all that bullshit about stones and sticks
Because people who claim
Words don’t hurt can suck this dick.
Our young think its fun
To push a geek till he cries
Gang up 10 on 1
until hates in his eyes,
Well, it’s all fun and games
Till the shells start to fly
The geek gets a gat
And the bullies get to die.

When the popular kids
Turned Columbine around
Made it another sly joke
To put the different kids down
It was the kids getting bullied
Who were suspended and expelled
Not the bastards who made school life
A dozen years of hell.

Our society teaches us
That might makes right
That you’ll feel better
When you mock another’s plight
The rich folks on top
Deserve credit and envy
Different thoughts, looks, or skin
Is clearly the enemy
Legal channels don’t work
Your voice doesn’t count
Uniqueness is weakness
Enough’s an amount
That doesn’t exist
Use your fist
To get what you want
Respect only those
With the same stature and goals
Step on anyone,
To grab what’s

And they say
I’m ill, mentally?
Who bears responsibility?
School violence
Only concerns
White society
Because it visited
Them personally.

What did they expect
Was gonna happen?
The way they
Encourage violence
And shun individuality,
They guaranteed this reality.

Eventually, they’d single out
A kid who wasn’t ill like me
A kid filled with lots of anger
He’d NEVER aim inwardly
Then watch the tables turn swiftly.

I’m ill
Surprised I haven’t swung violently
When I spy those I despise
Violating others worse than me.

At least they
Didn’t tie my hands behind my back
Before hanging me from a tree
Or Work me 100 hours a week
In a factory where I can’t breathe
Beat and verbally mistreat me
And still not pay me enough to eat
Or Dismember members of my family
In front of me
Scaring me into shunning the truth I see
They haven’t tried to take my health care
Or kick me out of this country
Even though immigrants
To the Oval Office
Got there illegally.

I’m ill
Don’t know how I maintained
A frame
Of stability.
Refusing to admit
I had a malady
Until damn near 23

Never thought a beast
Would arise from inside
Trying to destroy me
While other girls and boys
Kept their childhood pace leisurely
I could never face sleeping
Or waking up easily

Sam Cooke
Must’ve dreamed of me
Years before I was born
I could’ve sworn
I was the only one
Who thought
It’s been too hard living
But I’m afraid to die.

Lost my faith in G-d
And humanity.
pretty fucked up way to be,
2 decades of life
nearly bereft of serenity.
Expended my energy
To endure pain
Increasing exponentially
Advice falling wretchedly
Short of useful to me.

Couldn’t find the joy
In what makes young girls and boys
Smile normally.
Don’t even know
If I could show
You something
That garners a grin

Well, except
For being on this stage
Pouring wrathful pages
Into amplified rage
Firing soul shells
Through my tenor saxophone bell
Twelve gauge,

Smashing doubts
Like helicopters,
Knowing I’m the
Baddest Monkey
On this skyscraper
And so what if I
Read from paper

On your sly caper
Make me try
To meet YOUR maker?
My words
Smack you so hard
You’d rather
Fuck the fry-o-lator
Than try to divide
This remainder

This mathematical anomaly
Reshaping history
Stepping forward sans mystery.

I’m ill
I expect some of you
may choose to view me
or dare question
my resiliency.
But now,
I’m lacking insanity
Presently defying calamities
Defeating society’s take
With every stride I make
Forsake expectations
Make infants smile in my wake
It’ll be a while, child
Before I break
This cycle
But make no mistake,
I’ll shake n bake depression
Like Walt Frazier
Smoke its ass
Like Joe Frazier
And drop it in the ocean
Like a lifesaver
Living well
Is the best revenge,
What better way
To impress with success
those who, say
chose to, hey
taunt you, they
throw you gaily
to wolves and lions.
Slay you with words
Surround you- fucking herbs
Always needed a posse
To roll up on me.
If you look back on me fondly
As your sax playing buddy
I doubt you really recall me.

Maybe instead of success,
Impress upon you
The pain you caused
By using your skull
As my coffee mug,
Your skin
As my draws

Maybe I’ll just do it
In a poem
Not concerned with applause,
Breaking neither bones nor laws
But simply because
I still fight for the soul
You tried to take away.

So I’m ill.
And I take my meds
Nearly every day.
I was born with this beast
Within my skin.
I may be funny looking
And sure as fuck ain’t thin,
But this mind swats rhymes
Down to the page
Knocking syllables around
When I step to the stage.

So when all 9 billion of us
Live right for a change,

Maybe Ruby K will release his rage.


Anonymous rebecca m said...


that hit home really hard.

thanks for posting this.

11:44 PM  
Blogger Ruby K said...

Thanks rebecca. really appreciate the props. perhaps the easiest and hardest piece for me to perform, even today.

1:07 AM  

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