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Return 2 Innocence Lost



Slowly I return from hiatus. Not completely there yet but the incessant need to hunt/peck/hammer away at the keyboard has nagged me long enough. I shall be brief as I still am not officially back yet, but I couldn’t let another hour go by without addressing this for my sanity.

I went back in the archives the other day. Pulled out a tried and true LP from The Roots, which was named after a very powerful book I just re-read, about societal downfall, due to unneeded colonization.

You might have heard of it…


Anyway…back in ’99 when I first purchased the LP and gave it several rotations, it always struck me as to how complete the album was. Start to finish. Absolutely complete. There were no unneeded tracks, words, sounds. No overused shticks or gimmicks. Just good, thought-provoking music, lyrics and…spoken word.

From the opening track and it’s masterful lifting and re-purposing of Denzel & Wesley’s flawless, liquor infused tête-à-tête about the state of music

to the spoken word on the next to last track of the disc, the LP still IMHO stands head and two sets of shoulders above many of the more commercially played and fiscally lucrative albums of that decade.

Back in that last year before the government aided shenanigans and hoodwinkery of Y2K, I was too far into just cruising around in my black Honda Civic bumping “The Next Movement” or “Act Too [Love of My Life]” to really give the poem any real run.

After hearing it once or twice, my 20 something year old mind deemed it too depressing to warrant any further plays. It just didn’t fit with my mind state at the time, as it dealt with issues and occurrences that were outside of my spectrum and therefore meant little to me.

But now, as I’ve recently crossed the 35th yard line of this life, I’ve started re-listening to a few landmark LP’s.

Am I looking to recapture some of my past youthful exuberance that I can easily associate with 90’s Hip-Hop? To a certain extent. What person wouldn’t or doesn’t enjoy strolling down memory lane every so often? But, more so than that, I’ve been going back through these dated audios in the effort to allow my older ears a chance to analyze, capture, perceive and digest what the ears of my younger self glossed over the first time around.

And…in doing so, I’ve once again come across what I can now deem as one of the most prolific pieces of poetry I’ve ever heard recited, in the form of  Ursula Rucker‘s vividly spoken imagery.

This jawn is STILL #dope.

Ursula Rucker – Return to Innocence Lost

Muffled sound of fist on flesh
blows to chest

No breath
air gasps
You ain’t nothing but white trash, bitch!
With each hit, each kick, each…broken rib
Crack, Crack!

Bones are crying
Mommy’s crying and bleeding
and pleading
and then…Daddy wants to fuck

Dick hard, swelled with power rush
and as if all that wasn’t enough
Mommy’s seven months heavy with birth

As…Daddy grunts and cursed drunk nothings in her bloodied ear

(singing softly)

and never forget

Mommy almost bled to death when she had him…finally
She’d already lost…three
uterus-bruised, shredded, and weak
from being daily beat
and Friday nights were the worse and…Daddy never came with flowers

Instead he spent hours at some corner spot
with some bar pop named Cookie
putting his thing down
soiling Mommy’s sheets with…sweet…talk shit, Cookie’s cheap lipstick, hair grease, sperm, and Jezebel juice

To hell with the good news that…he was a father for the first time
His thirst for wine and women
clouded his vision…
no warm welcome for mother and son
just…the rank smell of ass-crack, funk, and cum

But Mommy’s prayerful strength-her best defense
she…burned the dirty linens
made a fresh bed
laid sleeping First Son down
and never made a sound
as she purged her scourge
with birth-blood and quiet tears
watching as her fears and love and sacrifice
lie there in his soft skin and new life

Breathing, dreaming, fresh from God’s eye
Mommy’s little survivor

Mommy called crazy and scorned
‘cuz she two more bore
One boy soon after
the girl much later
and…although they were both sung the same lullabies of hate

Her…First Son, the first one
whose…womb-world was profaned
Came of age playing street games
with Stewie, Rezzie, and Little Brother

‘Till his heart started to wither in pain and shame
blamed Mom for the wrong she let Daddy do to her
and him…
Let…sins of the Father cause his Innocence to wander
found out amongst thieves
chose to squander his dreams
stopped believing in himself
became prodigal with his life

Make impossible shit right with…Gang-ties, crime, lies
erase wise, woeful words of Mother
replaced them with absurdities of others
who had also lost their way

Played a different kind of street game now
First Son plunged deep
speak street-family vows
espoused no causes but his own

See, he couldn’t protect Mommy’s neck from Daddy’s grasp
or…protect Mommy’s ass from Daddy’s wrath
couldn’t shield her ears from…Daddy’s foul-mouthed, liquor-breath jeers
his only defense-served be confidence
brown bottles housed his swift descent
phones called cops on blocks frequent for his shenanigans

Now…Daddy and him twins in addiction
driven to false-hearted heavens and friends
by liquefied demons
had become what he despised from Conception ’til End
destined for a demise
survived nine lives of staying high
conning, jewelry-pawning, arrests, theft
womanizing…only for money, never for sex
bullet in chest, baseball bat to the head
left for dead

So, eyes wide and glassy
speech…slowed and slurred
lips twitched with caked-up codeine candy at mouth corners
one December 24th
Mr. Hide and False Friend
took final ride to suburban supplier

Shots were fired by the gray man
with shaky hand
but not shaky enough to miss…hit…Lost Boy in back
So-called Friend runs for door
leaves First Son blood-born
lying alone in blood on cold floor

Death was the cost of…Returning to Innocence Lost…

Baby ‘Sis awake for dawn on Christmas morn
to Mommy’s sobs and shakes
Daddy’s silhouettes of regret
all past, omitted, and absolved by lost

As they clung to each other


–Ursula Rucker



2 Comments leave one →
  1. 04/13/2011 06:19

    i’m with you with the LP. that was a killer, and still my personal favorite. and this track is still haunting. i had a couple of friends who did not want me to play it because it was so strong. and these were dudes who were bouncers and weightlifters. shows just how far-reaching that whole album was.

  2. 04/15/2011 11:32

    Heyyy glad to know that you’re a poetry/spoken word fan! Coincidence actually…I’m going to be published in a group compilation book, and I was wondering if you would like to review the book some time before the release date, which is June 17th. Hit me up if you’re interested :) Hope you’re doing well.

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