Such Lazy Saturday Poetry It’s Sunday (Bleeding Inc.)

After making a big fuss about how I was going to post my poetry every Saturday because it’s the easiest thing I write and I have plenty of it, it’s been about a month since I’ve done one. Ugh. Do your job Charlie. Anyways, I missed yesterday, but I figured by posting one today I’ll get myself back in the mindset to remember to post next Saturday… and the Saturday after that… and the Saturday after that, etc.

So for todays installment I’m going to post the lyrics to what I’d consider to be one of the best — if not the best — song I’ve ever written.  It’s called “Bleeding Inc.” If my technologically incompetent self can ever figure out how to post videos from my flip cam on this blog, I’ll post a performance of the song itself, but for now, here are the lyrics.

Bleeding Inc.

Verse I

Twelve generations of pain, thirteen is prayin sayin let this be the day that the saints march our way

It’s a good Friday for swimming to the finer side of things, we call for rain to get the floodgates bursting

And you can say, that endurance is a song I’ll never sing

But the rhythm never stops when it comes to lions like me

We’ve got those everlasting chest beats

Chorus I

And we will shatter mirrors, and see through smoke

That came from the flames always burnin up our jeans

So let me cheer you up, like real good news

It’s not too soon to be free from the things that the devil tattooed on you

Verse II

Time bombs for clock shops it was hotter than sriracha when Big Ben went up in flames and got the bridges burning

The violent silence of writing, stabbin my pen through the wall tryin to get to the heart of the message I bring

I just wanna stop, stop stop,

I need the moment to pop, pop, pop

That the reason for the shots shots shots shot shots shots shots shots shots

And you can say, let the drinks spill like blood in a war scene

But the battle never stops when it comes to soldiers like me

We’ve got those everlasting chest beats

Oh don’t ya know we’ve got that never endin’ head flow

Chorus II

And we will shatter mirrors, and see through smoke

That came from the flames always burnin’ up our jeans

But let me cheer you up, like real good news

It’s not to late to be called by the name of the Christ inside of you

Oh don’t ya know, we’re the coolest kids

But son, you should know, gotta cool it kid

Bridge/Outro

We’re the coolest kids, walkin around, we like our beat down low and our feet to the ground

Don’t ya show it kid, that hurt in your eyes, I can’t talk right now I got my pride on the line

Can’t talk right now I got my pride on the line

Can’t talk right now I got my pride on the line

Can’t talk right now I got my pride on the line

 

Advertisements

Lazy Saturday Poetry features, “Little Hope”– By: Uncle Charlie Westerman

So this week, in honor of the arrival of the 6 pounds baby, 6 ounces man Beck William Westerman, my new little nephew, I read this poem in my poetry classes as we were asked to share our work from the exercise below.  I hope you enjoy it.  I’m happy to report that Beck is already a Functionalist, has big Westerman hands and a big Westerman nose, but big mysterious Van de Pol eyes.    

Choose a topic you are interested in and make a list of at least 10 words/jargon for that topic. You can do research to come up with this list. Then write a poem using all of those words at least once.

Topic: The miracle of giving birth (my sister-in-law is due with my first niece/nephew in less than a week!).

 

10 Words—

1)    Dilate

2)    Caesarean section

3)    Braxton Hicks

4)    Contractions

5)    Circumcised

6)    Epidural

7)    Umbilical chord

8)    Womb

9)    Labor

10) Infant

This poem mixes the metaphors of “the miracle of life” with “the sink-or-swim of college.”  I did a summer session last year, and it turned out to be my toughest stretch of college.  All of my major friends were gone, I was burnt out on school, and sick of living in a filthy five-bedroom house.  I called my mom live from the absolute-low of my college existence, and for the first time I seriously doubted my ability to get through college without having a major life-screw up.  About a week later my brother called me and told me he and my sister-in-law were pregnant.  I’m incredibly close with my brother (and sister-in-law, she’s really like my sister) and this is the first kid of us five siblings.  They had also had trouble getting pregnant for awhile and weren’t sure if they were ever going to make it happen.  So little Beck has been a miracle beyond the miracle of life.  He gave me the hope to push through summer session with my head still above water.  I remember when my Jer and Tara first told me the news, they said the baby was the size of a blueberry.  One of my better moments in the poem was working that little detail into the framework of the piece.

Little Hope

I couldn’t tell you how you do it, but you did.

Swimming to a sinking me, neck deep in college, you came to life.

I was about ready to ‘kick it’ for the last time.

Treating bourbon and cigarettes like they were an epidural for real life.

It got real,

real quick.

My stomach as barren as social-desert life can be.

Called mom. Told her my life’s a mirage & I’m about ready to pop.

“Honey I think you’ve just got a case of Braxton Hicks.”

She’s too sweet to say it, but I knew what she meant—

“Cut the damn Umbilical chord Char. You’re too big for me too pick you up.”

We’re here at This American Life halfway house to learn one thing:

Growing up just isn’t a miracle of life—it’s a pro’s choice.

A decision as painful as a Caesarean section…

“Well of course its gonna leave a scar dumbass, reality’s about to gut you with a knife.”

But then I heard news of you,

And put a camera to my womb

“Would ya look at that…

I think I see an undigested blueberry of hope in there.”

And so you, little hope, you grew.

And I started praying again.

And all the sudden the labor of growing didn’t hurt so bad.

Then I felt you kick.

And so, little hope, I too, started kicking again.

Got my sea legs back.

Went right up to my class, “Alright you bastard! Let’s sink-or-swim!”

As so, little hope, the battle began.

All the college and the pressure and the no getting dates.

But suddenly I didn’t mind getting circumcised on Friday nights,

by sexy plastic surgeons with pretty, dumb eyes.

I didn’t make my pupils dilate if everything wasn’t alright.

Nora you little hope you—or if you’re Beck you’ll be hope too.

You’re already a Westerman with your knack for irony—

That you, an infant, finally gave me the strength to become a man.

And yes, I cannot wait to party with you over Spring Break!

You’re favorite shot is breast milk?  It’s been a long time since I’ve had one of those…

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Introducing a new series: Lazy Saturday Poetry– By: Charles Westerman

When I started this blog, I said I was going to write a little bit of everything I really like to write.  And there is some stuff that I get absolutely jolly writing.  There’s nothing like capping off a sports column with that perfect last sentence, that last neat little stitch to bring it all together.  There’s nothing like learning something big about your faith and then finding a way to put that life-lesson into words. There’s nothing like inventing a new fictional character in your mind that even you yourself find interesting, funny, complex and mysterious.

But to be honest, sometimes my column feels like a chore.  Sometimes I go months without telling people what’s going on in my walk with God.  And most of the time, I want to punch my main fictional character in the face, because he’s just a bad metaphor for my life and he can’t gain his own independence and have his own unique personality (which is what good fictional authors can do).  When it comes to those forms of writing, I often have to dig down deep and pull something out of myself… and though it’s exhausting, when I find the discipline to do it, it’s always very rewarding.

Yes, readers, I’m going to finally admit one of my most awful secrets to you: my favorite writer is myself, and my most loyal reader is me.  I get a tingling feeling when I read my own stuff; I’d imagine it’s sort of what doing crack is like.  Nobody thinks I’m wittier and craftier with words than I do.  Seriously if anyone has a good shrink they should call me, because as you can see, I’ve got some ego-issues going on.  But hey, admitting it is the first step right?  But even more seriously I think all writers have to have this confidence and satisfaction on some level (although my levels are admittedly are a little high).

Personal Hamartia aside (if you don’t know what Hamartia means, Wikipedia that bitch) I’ll get back to the point.  That a lot of the writing I do sometimes feels like pulling teeth.  But even though it feels like I have to dig a lot of this stuff out of me, there’s one form of writing that has always just flowed out of my pen onto the paper, or came in a text message to myself, or that taps itself out on a little document I’ve had open on my computer for four years saved under “Playonward– Cause for Effect” (playing on the phrases ‘pause for effect’ and ’cause and effect,’ you have no idea how much I stroked my ego when I came up with that one).”

What I’m talking about is the writing form of poetry and lyrics.  Since my freshman year of high school it’s something I just have to do or I’ll burst.  Come to think of it, it’s a lot like peeing.  I never really know if I’m writing poetry or song lyrics, but when it’s three in the morning and my mind is roaring like a Harley, I know I won’t be able to get some Z’s until I grab my phone, open a text to myself, and see what knots my head is trying to untie.

What happens as I furiously tap those little button on my En-V3 is a rush I can’t explain.  A kind of trance or orgasm of the brain.  What I’m left with is an explanation to myself I’ve been working out for days, weeks, months, and sometimes even years.  I wrote a poem about my relationship with my late-father on the 20th anniversary of his death that I’d been trying to capture the complexity and feeling of since my freshman year of high school.

If my other writings are what crack is like, poetry is to me, the brief moment of clarity I’d imagine someone gets when they smoke meth.  I still remember the first truly satisfying poem/lyrics I wrote in a text message to my brother one day the summer after my freshman year helping my Dad fix fence on the ranch.  Back in 2005 I’d just got my first iPod and was finding my own unique taste in music– listening to a lot of Dashboard Confessional, Fall Out Boy and The Starting Line.  That angsty teenage music about how girls are the source of all their pain and all their joy.  And though it’s childish, I remember thinking that Chris Carrabarra (the lead singer of Dashboard) was like the Hemingway of angsty teenage music. So naturally I wanted to be like Chris (I don’t so much anymore).

I opened a text to ‘Mitch’ and wrote the following lines, “What goes around comes around and kicks you in the back of the head, I’m chasing your tail, which has me chasing mine instead.”  Yes it was very 15-years-old of me. But hey, that’s what 15 year olds do right?  I had officially started my mission to figure out how to deal with this angst and ultimately conquer it. Once I hit send I didn’t stop the rest of the day.  “Alright bro, here’s another one: ‘Your skating on thin ice and I’m under water with a blow torch to bring you down.'”  It was a bad imitation of Chris Carrabarra, but had Mick not been a good older brother and texted me back telling me they were really good, I’d probably still be looking for some form of my identity to this day.  In fact, I owe most of my confidence as a writer to Mick (and for that bro, I can never repay you).

Eventually I became competent enough with a guitar to start writing songs.  I wrote my first song the second semester of my freshman year at WSU and haven’t gone three months without writing one since.  I’d estimate I’ve partially written about 40 songs and have finished about 25 of them, putting me at about a completed song once every six weeks.  It’s something I have to do to keep my sanity.

With that in mind, I’d like to start consistently sharing with my small handful of faithful readers, where my true heart for writing came from.  I’ve posted a few poems on here before, but I’d like to make it a more regular occurrence. So I’m going to start a series title, “Lazy Saturday Poetry.”  One poem will be posted by yours truly at 12 pm Pacific Time every Saturday.

And when you read them, know that the writer your interacting with felt nothing but bliss and exhilaration as he wrote the words.  That he was refreshed and not drained as he hammered them out.  That even though writing his sports column was like doing layup drills, or writing about his faith felt like practicing free throws, or the short story your reading came from countless hours studying film– the poetry your taking in, was to him like all that hard work paying off as he took the court for the big game.

Below is the first ever edition of the Lazy Saturday Poetry series.  I wrote it in church last week.  It by no means stands out from the dozens of other poems I’ve written on this exact subject; trying to motivate myself to conquer my pride, and remind myself that only Jesus Christ has the power to do that.  But in a way it’s kind of a classic Charlie poem.  A good way to introduce you to my style: pure, flowing vulnerability.

Lately I’ve been trying to write some poems that have a rhyme scheme that’s more complex than my natural Mother Goose style.  I’ve been playing around with structure, punctuation and capitalization more, and learning how to make something flow that doesn’t necessarily rhyme, or at least rhyme all the time (you see, I can’t help myslef).  And though I’ve made strides in this department, I’ve come to the realization that sometimes a poet just needs to be true to himself and his natural style. I hope you enjoy it.

Why The Wine is Red 

See your face, and I shake like a quake.

The center of the flock breaks,

And the lambs disperse in every which way.

But the shepherd speaks a stern command:

We can be united again,

When you come back and feast from the palm of my hand.

Will you wait for me to find you or will you wander in the land?

If you’d ever stop screaming you could hear me calling back.

Calm down and come back.

You get a little closer with the tiniest of steps.

Deliverance will find you when you eat the bread,

And remember why that wine is red.

Go back to all the times where you thought your soul was dead.

And you prayed that sweetest phrase,

“I swear I’ll start living it.”

I don’t want another start, I just need another chance.

One more day to sing a song, strip off my clothes and dance.

Another night to ponder stars and praise how small I am.

I’m just a man without a plan because instead I chase my dreams,

That Christ would take my life until there is no more of me.

So I bid good riddance to that sore in my eye.

That swollen, black, pride.