Nobel Prize for Music

Posted: March 26, 2010 in Poetry
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CONTEXT: September, 2008

Here is a poem a lot of people already know.

I was trying to write a song. Inspired by The Fugitives, I wanted to write something I could sing (which limits possible output… I’m not much of a singer). No matter what I did, it started coming out sounding like Haunted. Not the worst thing to sound like… but it was a bit too blatant.

Eventually I started asking myself why I wanted to write a song. Eventually I came around to the idea that somehow songs get more respect than poems. Yet then why do we compliment talented songwriters by calling them poets?

That turned into this piece.

Trivia: It was originally called “I Want To Write A Song” but John Akpata recorded it at Capital Slam in October and called it Nobel Prize for Music. I liked the name better and it stuck.

Further note: if you watch the video, you will see there is an ending on it that isn’t on the print version. I only ever used that ending the one time and then discarded it.

Further trivia. I swear in this poem. I don’t swear in my poetry very much.

    Nobel Prize for Music

I’ve had enough writing poems,
I want to write a song.

I want to write a song
That gets you humming,
And strumming and drumming,
With a melody that won’t get out of your head.

I want to write a song
That is bass-thumping
And fist-pumping,
As infectious as it is catchy.

I want to write a song
That speaks to you on an emotional level
To your guttural self
That hides behind a civil exterior.
The essence of animal
A rationalized beast.

I want to write a song
That hardens some and softens others,
Operating on an instinctual basis,
Of involuntary contractions and didactions,
Expulsions and eruditions.

I want to write a song
That echoes the streets
And beats of your feets,
But also the grass and trees,
Mountains and seas,
The black & white
Green & grey
Infra & ultra
Intro & extro
Over & understanding
Of a truth that transcends words.

I’ve had enough writing poems,
I want to write a song
The goes to NUMBER ONE WITH A BULLET
While still maintaining my indy cred.

I want to write a song
That all the magazines want to write about,
As if they could explain what makes it special
When it sets its own standard.

I want to write a song
That inspires others to write songs
While also telling them there is no point
Since this song says all that needs to be said.

I want to write a song
That reminds you what it feels like to fall in love.

I want to write a song
That tells you everything that is wrong with the world
While also telling you what you can do to fix it.

I want to write a song
That makes you think
And makes you sink and stink
It takes you to the brink
And it CAN make you drink!

I want to write a song
That wins the Juno, Grammy,
Oscar, Emmy and Nobel Prize for Music,
And before you tell me there IS no Nobel Prize for Music,
I want to write a song
That inspires them to create one.

I’ve had enough writing poems
I want to write a song
That pervades and invades
Flows and explodes.

I want to write a song
That stops all the bloodshed,
Even if they are only stopping to hear the tune.

I want to write a song
That unlocks hearts and minds,
Opens them wide
And fills them with the story of love.

I want to write a song
That makes the whole world sing
And FUCK Barry Manilow,
Or as we call him on the street, B-Low.

I want to write a song
That reminds you that you are human
And reminds you that you are ONLY human.

I want to write a song
That floats on air
And makes the little hairs
On the back of your neck
Stand erect,
Like an electrical charge
From breath or lips.

I want to write a song
That is sex and sweat and skin
And love and faith and kharmic transcendence.

I want to write a song
That inspires someone to say,
“That song is really special.
Whoever wrote that isn’t just a songwriter,

HE IS A POET.”

“““““““““““““““““

Next up is the other piece that evolved out of me wanting to write a song.

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