So how do I define conviction?
A rose thorn dug deep within my system.
Gritted teeth, clamped jaws, and cold sweats,
turning Hurt and Grief into a feeling akin to relief.

I’m like a stranger walking into church.
Graham Greene, end of the affair
and nothing’s certain.
tearing up in disbelief at this Holy Virgin,
weighing truths against them fictions, crucifying.

Like I’m viewing human history
from a mental fortress.
Vats of boiling oil
placed on every wall—
well acknowledged
I divide my time from this written portrait,
and the real life I’m caged in, until I’m taken.

—Once again, I am reiterating:
How do I define conviction?
I’m deliberating.
—Guess the reason is, I’m skirting ‘round the question
’cause I personify the term in every given statement.

I refuse to let my body be a shell I’m cased in.
I refuse to let this Free Will become a pavement.
I cannot just leave these powers to be devoured
by the same demons I compete with every waking hour.

—So that’s how I define it:
Cool Hand Luke, with the spade or the shovel.
And I’ll be laying out this gravel fast as you can follow.
Lyrics keep my mind full when my body’s hollow.

—Once again, define conviction:
Like chopping onions in the hottest part of Hell’s Kitchen.
Staying poker faced
even when your nerves’ twitching.
Seeing crystal clear
even when this Hurt blurs your vision.

Forever you’ll be treading water.
But thinking BIG enough
to separate survival from a mere mortal.
—Even when your brain and all else failing
And all Hell’s breaking loose
I maintain the welterweight belt for self,
staying intact.
Spill out this guilt through the syntax
see this was never just rap.
This is self help
I prescribe like a sick note.
Striving upstream, I keep writing for my kinfolk.

—Until you see them silver lines reappearing
high on the horizon
and your peers are still none the wiser.
lamped up, locked deep within the gut
I keep it under wraps,
salt poured deep into the cut
and let the thunderclaps roll across acres in the booth,
nutrients taken from the track’s lifeblood.

—Seeing past next meals
knowing that the recipe is complex
as all my past conquests,
I’m ruminating.
Hollow victory, after hollow victory.
Stacked high, ‘till it fills my soul up, literarily.

Headphones is on blast
24/7-like: trying to stop my mind from wandering
and blocking out the light.
Anything to take my mind’s eye off staring at the Void.
Damned if you do, and if you don’t
then you’re unemployed.
I stand within view,
‘til it’s blurred and you’re seeing double.
Cool Hand Luke,
with the spade or the shovel.
And I’ll be passing out this gravel
fast as you can follow.
Lyrics keep my mind full when my body’s hollow.

One shot and one brandy glass.
A wee nip of fire water, pure antidote.
To cut through the myalgia and the clouds,
cause in all other aspects of this life
my hands are tied.

Sick and tired of wrestling the hands of time.
My biceps flex,
but no matter how I grip
the sand grains slipping through my clenched fists,
spilling into seems in the pavement
I’m unable to retrieve from.

Tables turned, and the keys locked
to these exits, within minutes of knowing I’ve eavesdropped.
On a conversation that was never meant for my ears.
Based around the fact that my practice and my ideas
hindered by a life learned, and life long
affliction to my own fears.
From this bubble what you don’t see is:

—Even on my best days it’s like these things are poison to me.
People and Pain are poisonous.