The Man In The Mirror

Ever since he was a little boy, he’d been observing the man in the mirror who’d mirror all his movements. He was fascinated by it in the stage of infancy, attracted to it in adolescence and discussed philosophy with him in the adult stage of his life.

He still remembers the first time he stood in front of the man in the mirror before his first football game. He’d preached words of courage and motivation, the man; pumped up the little kid with determination. When he scored 98.2% in his final year, the man in the mirror toasted to him and cried tears of joy with him.

When he finally found the woman he wanted to marry, the man in the mirror flipped out with joy. When he landed his first paycheck, the man in the mirror rejoiced as if it were him who got the paycheck. The man in the mirror witnessed the boy’s first kiss and never had he been more proud of his steps.

The man in the mirror didn’t come with holy intentions.

When the boy was having a hard time, the man in the mirror inspired him to indulge in intoxication. When he was fighting with his girlfriend, the voice of the man in the mirror screamed in his brains, asking him to beat the shit out of her. When he beat her up in front of the man in the mirror, he cheered for the boy. When he first killed a man in front of the man in the mirror, he felt as if he’d made his father proud. The night when he slashed his own wrists at the request of the man in the mirror, was the night when the man in the mirror won. He’d played all the right cards. He’d made the perfect demon out of a kid who was so good, he could serve as an agent of peace. He’d corrupted something so pure, so young that even Lucifer would be afraid of him. He’d succeeded at spreading death and terror in this world.

And the boy? He loved the man in the mirror. He owed so much to him. He’d been there throughout his life. As a little boy, the man in the mirror would just mirror his movements. As he grew older, the man in the mirror started speaking to him. They clicked real soon and the lonely, scrawny kid now had a friend who looked exactly like him. He’d tell the man in the mirror everything. He’d lay his soul bare and ask for guidance and cousel from the man in  the mirror. He’d always been an obedient boy. The man in the mirror showed him the path to salvation. He did his very best to attain salvation. He obeyed every order the was conveyed to him by the man in the mirror. He’d achieved what every human being only dreamt of achieving. Eternal salvation. He closed his eyes and let his soul get let rip into shreds as this song played in the background. He was finally found peace.

“Satanic verses,

It’s the tales of the evil,

We’ll never have for a victim.”

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good kid

I knew this kid that was born to my brother. He was a nuisance, that kid. Never sat in one place. Slave feet, he had. His mama always told us he’d represent our nation on the international stage.

When he was a boy of 11, he started showing a flair for academics and music. He started listening to Hip Hop and exploring people’s trials and tribulations. He was top of his class, all the time. Never missed out on anything. He was kind of a loner, this kid. Never could make a lot of friends. He also had a knack for ending up head over heels for women way beyond his league. But he was a good kid.

When he was in 10th grade, this straight-A scoring, lonely little kid who had no one to talk to, to share his feelings with, went from an antisocial personality to a social creature. His life turned upside down when he came into contact with other creatures like himself. He had friends, now. To share his feelings with. Who’d always have his back through his tough phases. Who’d do anything for him.

Mentally, this kid transformed from a 5-year old who would skate over a powdered floor to a teenager who had responsibilities to fulfil and people to take care of and people who’d take care of him.

The only thing he had not experienced yet was reality. See, all this happened from blooming age of 5 to his initial adolescent age. His parents had protected him from the evils of society. His own mentality had blocked him out of any such interactions that would lead him astray. But how long could they keep him safe from the outside world?

They could see their little baby bird growing wings and showing an eagerness to spread them and soar on the clouds. Their instincts told them that they should check their child’s flight from the beginning and make sure that he doesn’t fly too far away. But at some point of time they had to introduce him to the real world. How long could they keep their baby’s wings pinned? He wanted to fly and they let him take flight for the first time when they let him go out with his friends. They wanted him to feel independence. They wanted him to experience life. They wanted him to enjoy life a little bit. But little did they know that this decision of theirs would come back to haunt them for the rest of their short lives.

His behavior started changing. He went from mama’s sweet and obedient boy to the rebelious young kid who wouldn’t take no for an answer. His face wasn’t the same anymore. It was always flushed red. He’d gotten into bad company.

In the end, even the good kid fell prey to the m.A.A.d city

The Tortured Artist.

Out of all the mentality distorted and beautifully twisted minds that exist in this planet we so affectionately call the Earth, there lived a speck in this pool of immensely talented yet insanely distorted human beings, so to speak.
This speck didn’t have a name. This speck had an interesting past, though. You see, people always have this premonition that an artist’s past is so dark, it would put Edgar Allan Poe to shame. Their state of mind so fragile, it might shatter at the slightest hint of negative criticism. Their thought processes so distorted, a normal man would shriek out of sheer and utter disbelief. But these premonitions were true and more for this particular person.
She’d lost her parents at an early age, to something the papers called “an unfortunate car accident.” She grew up amongst strangers, physical and mental abuse being the only true constants throughout her childhood, the taste of tears more familiar to her than that of water.
When she went to school, her teachers labeled her as that awkward kid who’s never found without her sketch pad. People made fun of her physical appearance, not knowing that she had to fend for herself in her foster house, not knowing that the only way she ever got food was if she stole from the refrigerator, not knowing that the scars that she tried to hide were either from the several beatings she received from her foster parents or from the several other attempts she made at taking her own life.
When she first fell in love, she hadn’t found a feeling more elating and horrific at the same time. The guy was some senior whose name she doesn’t recall now, but what she will always remember is his voice. That soft voice which would whisper words of affection in her ears, the very same voice which spit words of malice at her after he’d grown bored of her. She remembered how lovely his smile was, the very same, crooked smile he had stuck on his face when he hit her for not obeying him. She couldn’t live with him. But she couldn’t possibly exist without him. And when he left, that was the moment she really grew up. She grew to hate the feeling of being in love.
So she escaped to her reality, spending hours mindlessly doodling on her sketchpad. This was a place where no one could intrude. This was her solitude. Her world, where she was the master of what she created and not the malicious Fates which seemed to like playing around with hers. She would showcase her art, post pictures on Instagram, garnering critical appraisal from her peers.
But all the appraisal could never overshadow the horrors of what she had faced. Her suicidal tendencies made her drown in Hennesey and fly off Cali, getting lifted more than she was aware of her surroundings. Being sober made her feel nauseous. Intoxication became her newfound love, it became her reality. And in this alternate reality, the old one was forgotten. Her art had been slaughtered, butchered by the love of poison in her liver. The people she could call friends had left her for reasons her buzzing brain couldn’t fathom. In her loneliness, her kitchen knife became her best friend. And one fateful night, it wrapped itself lovingly around her wrists and dug deep, never to let go- it became a part of her. And as she drowned out from the alcohol so did her screams to the loud music that was blaring from the speakers on the nearby streets. She’d finally lost consciousness once and for all, and all that she could remember were the first couple of lines of that very same song, playing on rewind in her twisted brain.

“Don’t you open up that window,
Don’t you let out that antitode…”

Homecoming

A beach. A pet wolf. A cottage. Sunlight. Warmth. The man laughed at these thoughts now. He laughed at his naivety. How could he have been so blind before? He woke up from his deep slumber and opened his eyes to the monstrosity of the light. You see, the thing about the light is that it isn’t permanent. It flickers. It goes off. Sometimes, you don’t find it for years on end. And when you do, it’s gone just as soon. But darkness. That is a constant.
The man was standing at the entrance to the maze again, which was mocking him for his foolishness.
“She tricked you, my child. The serenity was short-lived. Pain is how you have persevered and how you will till the end of your days. It’s the only way that anyone can maintain a stable mindset in this m.A.A.d city. Come back. Come back to your haven. Come back to your old self, the one that you so cherished.”
How could he have been so blind? The cold, fake, appealing nature of the light was what drew him out, not the sincerity of it. The maze was an old friend that wanted to put an end to his misery, that was all. The maze was the only constant which had truly stuck with him throughout his life.
But. He hesitated to go back to the maze.
Somehow, after all he had been through, after all the time that he had spent with the light, after all the times that he had indeed made mistakes and been ignorant enough to correct them, he didn’t want to go back to the maze. He wanted to redeem himself. He wanted one last shot at getting back that which was his. He wanted his serenity back, however fake it might have been. So he mustered his courage and tried to approach the light. But it was too late. She had given up on him. She couldn’t stand the sight of this pathetic creature. She abandoned him, and left him for naught.
Broken, of heart and in spirit, the man entered the maze without giving it a second thought. The darkness spoke to him with a kindness which he had long forgotten. It said, “Welcome home, my child. You’ve been away for far too long, chasing distant dreams. It’s time that you returned.”
Upon entering the maze, the man lost his footing and plunged into a deep abyss. He didn’t care anymore. He closed his eyes and thought about a poem he’d heard on the radio the other day, an eerie calmness spreading all over his face.

“I remembered you was conflicted,
Misusing your influence, sometimes I did the same;
Abusing my power, full of resentment.
Resentment that turned into a deep depression.
Found myself screamin’ in a hotel room,
I didn’t wanna self destruct, the evils of Lucy was all around me.
So I went runnin’ for answers.”

His lips curled into a smile. He was tired of running now. He’d come back home. And he wasn’t leaving anytime soon.

A Story From The Streets

He could hear the sirens wailing, the gunshots, the explosions, everything. He could hear the gangbangers screaming for blood, the ordinary populace crying for justice, little kids screaming for their mothers. And yet, there he lay, motionless, paralyzed, not being able to move worth a damn but sensing everything that was going on around him. He always knew that it was gonna come down to this, that the city was gonna melt down. He always knew that the people on the streets were gonna lose they minds and create riots that were gonna revolutionize the administrative and judicial system forever. He knew this because he was a part of the revolution- a soldier of the struggle. As he lay on the streets, gazing up at the sky, looking at the stars shining brighter than he had ever seen them before, he felt his pulse slow down. He knew he was nearing his end. He’d lost too much blood, but it wasn’t all for naught. The revolution had begun- the fight had been taken to the streets and the people on the streets were hungry for justice. They were fed up of the police brutality. They’d been pushed to the edge. Now, they were gonna strike back. He closed his eyes one last time amongst the noise of the glorious agitation and rewound to the moment where it all began.
He remembered being a young hustler, trying to make a living. He didn’t have no family- his parents died when he was 11 and he had no siblings. He grew up on the rough side of the grub, learning how to evade the authorities when they came looking for homeless children, stealing food to keep himself from starving to death, running from one back alley to the other, fighting to survive. When he was 15, he found some cats hanging in the back alley where he was taking refuge at one night, dope slanging. Curious, he walked up to the brothers and asked them what they was doing, because he could see that they had a huge bag full of something that smelled kinda funky and rolls on Benjamins stuffed in their pockets. Luckily for him, these cats were cool. They didn’t blow his brains out with the mac-11, they took a brother in. They taught him the rules of the streets, taught him how to hustle and make a living by slanging dope. After a solid 3 years with the gang, he was established. He had those rolls of Benjamins in his pockets and this time around, he was the one selling some of that funky stuff. The gang was family now. Everybody would put their lives on the line to save a brother’s neck. But then, he discovered the nasty side of the dope dealing business. His boy Jimmy got arrested one day on “probable cause”. They weren’t allowed to visit him in Juvie. Jimmy was sentenced to a 6 month term for finding marijuana on his person. When he got out though, the real story was revealed to us. Thing is, the police arrested Jimmy without any solid case. They planted the drugs and framed him and it was all because Jimmy was black. That’s when he realized that this type of police brutality needs to stop. The gang started mobilizing. They called in all the sets- friendly or unfriendly. The young hustler from the streets became the voice of these cats repping their sets. He was their speaker, telling the world about what goes down in the hood, giving them their side of the story. He came out as their leader, the voice on the street block. He heard about this one group who was repping the same story, but portraying it through music. Their art spread through the city like wildfire. Soon, all the sets were vibing to that record. This is where this movement turned into a revolution. This is where the beginning began.
Now, with his eyes closed and his heart full, his ears pricked up for amidst the gunshots and the ruckus, he could hear a car stereo playing some music. It was that very same song that had inspired the sets to come together in the first place. As his consciousness drowned out, the last words he heard, reaffirmed his faith in their struggle and made him crack a smile before his eyes went blank.

“Fuck Tha Police, coming straight from the underground. A young nigga got it bad ‘cause I’m brown…”

Finally finding peace.

The man was frustrated. This world was driving him insane. Seeing no way out, he decided to pay a visit to his friend. The one he would always go to, to share his thoughts and emotions with. To share his joys and sorrows with. He spoke to this friend and hoped that he would understand his problems one last time, as he always had. With a heavy and depressed sigh, he told him his problems in as brief a manner as possible. “Man, I can’t think anymore. It feels like my entire body is turning into lead. I have done nothing but work and solve other people’s problems for the past 5 months. I’m running on empty. I need to get away.” He was drained. Spiritually, emotionally, physically and mentally. The man was so taxed that nothing seemed bright anymore. Everything was monochromatic now. He couldn’t see things the way they were supposed to be. Everything was black and white to his eyes now. He couldn’t ‘see’ anymore. He needed out. He needed an escape, a plight from this world of mortal tortures and where everything was so corrupt it didn’t even make him flinch anymore. His perceptions had changed. He’d experienced everything that he could imagine. Drama, honesty, agony, laughter, bitterness, love, hate and the constant pain of being a disappointment in every aspect of life. His friend, being the last thing that the man had, finally caved in. He saw what this world had done to his friend. He couldn’t imagine anyone going through what he had. He gave it to him. For the sake of his betterment and relaxation. So that he could feel alive again. So that he could see the colors of the world gushing right back into it. He passed him the pouch. The man took the pouch and took out one piece. He placed it under his tongue and waited. He waited till his body was numb and his legs regained sensation. He saw colors. For the first time in 5 months, he saw colors. His mind was relaxed and happy now, his sorrows dissolving into happiness. He felt that bliss he was searching for. Finally, after such a long time, he was flying. He was flying towards the moon, which was painted in the colors of the rainbow. With a smile on his face and tears of joy in his eyes, he took the knife and stabbed his gut, watching his heart bleed and his brain connect to the flow of the universe one last time. He finally had the peace he was looking for. He had reached the moon. He was done with this planet. He had reached his destiny and he never planned on going back. He let out a final sigh and drifted off into a deep sleep which he never wished to wake up from. He was finally free. He had finally found peace.

From a Caterpillar to a Butterfly

He lay there, clutching his waist, crawling towards the watch tower. “Just another yard”, he said to himself. The nigga had been shot through his stomach four times. His homies had abandoned him. The enemy had won the war. His hood wasn’t his anymore. All his hood rats were either dead or had turned over to the enemy. He was the last one of his clan. The essence of life was draining out of him. He gave up trying to crawl to safety. He lay on the streets, unable to move another inch of his body. Eventually, he passed out. His mind drifted into flashback.

His life as a gangster started out with hustling. He started out as a small time pusher, selling Mary to white them kids up in the Projects. With time, he made a name for himself and moved on from selling small amounts of Mary to hustling kilos of all kinds of dope. Cocaine, heroin, LSD; you name it, he got it. The little nappy-headed nigga from the trailer park was on a rise. He blew from a small-time dope dealer to the go-to man for dope in his entire city. But then he got busted. He lost all dope. He lost his money. He was broke. Broke, and envious. Envious, of those gangsters who went about bribing cops like a parent would pay his child’s fees. Because hustling was a risky profession. But gang-banging? That’s the ultimate dream of a nigga. During his incarceration, he made an intricate plot to win back his former glory and extend it to new heights.

After getting out, he went back to hustling but this time, he kept his focus on the underbelly of his fair town. He kept his ears to the streets and found out its vulnerable spots. With time, he extended his influence to those gangbangers and those hood rats. He took those lost souls under his wing and gave their lives a new purpose.

They prospered under his leadership. The police didn’t dare cross them, their business was booming, money was raining down on them from the heavens.  Indeed, his life was that of a true Thug.  But then came his downfall, the betrayal.

He discovered that there was an occult group within his organization. The aim of this group was to overthrow him and take over the city. He was in a state of utter disbelief when he found out that the leader of this group none other than his most trusted homie. His protege. He confronted this occult group and drove them out of his town.

But they returned. They came back, with stronger allies from the south. Then came a time of utter catastrophe, of rage and destruction, of War. They went all out. Each side brought out the big guns. The entire city was rioting. The police lost control. His entire world was consumed in Drugs and War.

But he didn’t give up. He fought till his last clip was empty. He fought till his loyalists stood by him. Now, he was broken. He had been defeated. As he lay there, he heard a transistor come to life. He recollected hearing the words in some interview he was watching the other day. Lying there, he gave up all hopes of surviving. He just closed his eyes and listened to the words, for they best described his world:

“The Caterpillar is a prisoner to the streets. Its only job is to eat or consume everything around it, in order to protect itself from this m.A.A.d city. While consuming its environment, the Caterpillar begins to notice ways to survive. One thing it noticed is how much the world shuns him, but praises the Butterfly. The Butterfly represents the talent, the thoughtfulness and the beauty within the Caterpillar. But having a harsh outlook on life, the Caterpillar sees the Butterfly as weak and figures out a way to Pimp it to his own benefits. Already surrounded by this m.A.A.d city, the Caterpillar goes to work on the cocoon which institutionalizes him. He can no longer see past his thoughts. He’s trapped. When trapped inside these walls, certain ideas start taking root such as going home and bringing back new concepts to this m.A.A.d city. The result? Wings being to emerge, breaking the cycle of feeling stagnant. Finally free, the Butterfly sheds light on situations that the Caterpillar never considered, ending the eternal struggle. Although the Butterfly and Caterpillar are completely different, they are one and the same.”