Elucid Save Yourself

[Backwoodz Studioz; 2016]

Styles: Afrofuturism, post-industrial doom gospel, hip-hop
Others: Illmatic-era Nas, Lou Reed, Archie Shepp, Sonic Youth, Armand Hammer, Lessondary

After the last levee breaks and the floodplains sink, the ragtag remnants of your emotional constitution are dredged up like muddy weeds and discarded, thrown out like your window-bound wardrobe. To the curb with you. Your significant other is keeping the apartment, the TV, and anything else you thought you’d staked a claim to over the past six years. Since your music is all that matters to you anyway, you can come get your records on Wednesday while your sig-nif’s at work. Some of us have real jobs to go to, you know. The landlord gives you 45 minutes to collect everything, but not a second longer.

Just across town yet still a long journey away, separated by a cemetery, you consider the holes in your heart and head. Bled like your bank account in its final days, you feel as if you’ve lost everything. Your mind, your nerve, whatever spirit you may have once had: they’re all gone. Yet here you are, a new old person in a new old neighborhood, one as run down as the other. What’s there left to do then but to rebuild? And what better way than through the one thing you still have left: your art. Can’t you hear your muse calling from under the evening lamplight? “Who the fuck you think you’re talking to?” it screams. You open your notebook to any blank page.

Save Yourself.

Weeks later, the phone rings. It’s your ex — well, your ex’s voice at least — but something has changed. Your ex wants you to come along to a meeting. You oblige. Within a few days, you’re seated beside your ex in a nondescript room packed with strangers. A moderator asks them to share their darkest secrets. Someone does and then cries. Then another person cries and another. Soon, everyone in the room is crying except for you. You excuse yourself on the pretense of needing the bathroom, then storm out down the stairway exit.

The next day, your phone rings again. Your ex wants to know why you left. You tell your ex that it’s a cult. Your ex insists that the technology works, that things are getting better, not drinking anymore. The more your ex talks, the less you recognize your ex, the more brainwashed your ex sounds. Your ex thinks it can work for you too, if only you’ll let it. You can’t believe what you’re hearing, though part of you knows this is how it had to end. Your ex believes that the two of you can do more together than you can apart, that you were meant to save one another. You tell your ex one last thing before hanging up.

Save Yourself.

You’re awoken by a sound you know all too well by now, the sound of a world crashing down. This time, however, it’s your apartment building, on fire, with a hole in the middle of it. Where your ceiling and your upstairs neighbor’s floor used to be is now an open vortex of brick, wood, and other building materials caving in from the roof; wheels within wheels within wheels. You don’t need John Africa to know it’s time to MOVE.

Outside your door, the scene grows ever more chaotic. A Republican rapper’s on crank in the hallway stunting, convinced he can ride the avalanche of crumbling brownstone to safety. “If you say so.” The mom across the hall shields her son’s eyes. A bald man in glasses comes running by, cowardly shoving both woman and child out of the way as he shouts wildly.

Save Yourself.

On the street again, where Hotep gods hock staple-bound MS Word docs anointing post-industrial doom gospel. Laugh at their temples’ templates though you may, the odds makers are starting to pay attention to these so-called conspiracy theories. The gods must be crazy, but the universe tends toward entropy. Stop making sense. The word on the street couldn’t be clearer if it were stenciled in red writing on a wall.

Save Yourself.

“I am your jealous God. Place no other before me.”

Save Yourself.

Links: Elucid - Backwoodz Studioz

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