The Reading (For Frustrated Writers Worldwide)

by Mensah Mkalimu

I’m in the wrong business…

My literal dreams underneath moon phases
Are fictitious, at best
…and when they battle reality, the real
shit…the hot shit…the tittie-bouncing, ass-jiggle jingles hot shit
finds victory up against my wordy phrases that
usually speak of our ills and possibilities
…my poems wanna wade in the water, but I’m hips-deep in
the river Styx…
and I’m done giving the public too much credit
…we are an ignorant species now, with the average American
only reading at the 8th grade level
(newspapers had to be dumb downed, sadly)
…and here I am, creating a novel and many manuscripts…
must I dumb down too?

No one reads anymore
…strictly skimming the headlines and 1st graph…
journalism schools teach kids to keep all
paragraphs under 20 words
…attention deficiency rampant…
books aren’t obsolete, they’re simply ignored
…and authors gotta throw in bi-sexual, dick-tingling half-baked
plot lines to feed their brown babies…plot lines to rise out of
the projects…plot lines to get an opportunity to make Oprah cry…

maybe our schools failed us.
…maybe our playstations got us drunk…
…….maybe our minds have Pentium 4 chips in them….

But I’m in the wrong business.

Trying to gather up some legal tender to make the product
…but drug dealers will get more customers than me…

I need to fight through my social anxiety disorder to do the marketing
…but prostitutes will cop more land than me…

Sacrificing the mainstream route to keep my publishing rights
…but crooked CEOs continue to stack quicker than me…

righteousness don’t equate into the ‘s’ with the line through it
and all I can do when I look in the mirror is convince myself
I’m not doing this for income…but I gotta eat.
And emcees can destroy our kids’ minds cuz they gotta eat
…R&B singers can sing off-key to the Billboard charts cuz they gotta eat…

and I’m complaining now.

I don’t wanna complain, bitch and whine about the situation
…I’m hungry for success…hungry for the future cuz the present’s too slow.
But being in the wrong business makes spent hours on the laptop
Worthless…the journals of mine sit with dust…and subscribing to
e-drum to collect the latest info keeps clogging my inbox with no avail
…make daily trips to the poetry sites, online-click-clacks through cyber annals of
worldwide writers who need to share, who need to stare at
empty praises like “hot shit…reply to my piece”…bulletin
boards with the Post New Topic button giving us access to
critiques, cut and paste our works and wait…and wait…
and wait…and watch the piece fall…
I said watch the piece fall…crumbling to the bottom of the 
Page cuz the title ain’t erotic enough…cuz the piece is too long…
Cuz it ain’t abstract or it’s too abstract…

Spoken word’s the newest craze
…mainly because reading’s become too complicated…
worked in a bookstore for a minute and watched
customers return volumes to shelves cuz they were too thick
…the cover didn’t have a chick scantly-clad
…the author’s name didn’t ring a bell…
and I, an author myself, gotta fight the masses for
chump change to fund my family plans
…dreams of hitting the bestseller list sacrificed for
the realization that people don’t read anymore…
gotta slap my words in front of a
Neptunes beat turn my lyrics into a 
commodity.  And maybe I’m bitter
maybe I’m jaded or maybe I’m just not a good writer,
but the reality…the hot shit reality…the beat-thumping,
platinum hot shit reality is quite plain
…and most definitely the antithesis of my intentions…

people don’t even read in between the lines anymore.

The Reading (For Frustrated Writers Worldwide) by Mensah Mkalimu

© Copyright 2003. All rights reserved. No portion of this work may be duplicated or copied without the expressed written consent of the author.

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