Wednesday, July 23, 2008

My Life As A Poet (AKA: Stealing From Slayer)

I learned how to speak English around the time I was 12, after moving to the US of A. I won't bore you with the details under which the move happened. I will, however, tell you that upon landing on American soil both my brother and I were rocking severe mullets, and were both sporting our jean jackets (with dope back patches).

Learning English was tough, but within a few months I had a pretty good command of the language. It was around that time, however, that my English class had an assignment I simply could not complete with my less-than-perfect skills in such a new language: poetry. After quickly realizing that I simply didn't have the necessary command of the language to write a variation on "roses are red, violets are blue..." I quickly decided to do what any self-respecting metal head would do. Steal from Slayer.

For some unknown reason, the song I decided to go with still baffles me to this day, "Silent Scream". At such an young age, the idea of abortion had barely entered my I have no idea why on earth I thought a graphic song about that subject would make for a perfectly appropriate poem to pass off as my own. In case you've forgotten the lyrics, please read them below. Imagine what a teacher must have thought, and keep in mind that I was 12 at this point.

Nightmare, the persecution
A child's dream of death
Torment, ill forgotten
A soul that will never rest

Guidance, it means nothing
In a world of brutal time
Electric, circus wild
Deep in the infants mind

Silent scream
Bury the unwanted child
Beaten and torn
Sacrifice the unborn

Shattered, adolescent
Bearer of no name
Restrained, insane games
Suffer the children condemned

Scattered, remnants of life
Murder a time to die
Pain, suffrage toyed
Lifes little fragments destroyed

Silent scream
Crucify the bastard son
Beaten and torn
Sanctify lives of scorn

Life preordained
Humanity maintained
Extraction termination
Pain's agonizing stain

Embryonic death
Embedded in your brain
Suffocation, strangulation
Death is fucking you insane

Nightmare, the persecution
A child's dream of death
Torment, ill forgotten
A soul that will never rest

Innocence withdrawn in fear
Fires burning can you hear
Cries in the night
I'm fairly certain that the only change I made to the song's lyrics, in order for them to be acceptable as homework, was to remove the work "fucking", but that was about it. The fact that my parents weren't contacted as a result, or that the authorities weren't called is amazing.

I should point out that doing this (plagiarism at an early age) runs in my family. My brother did it once (maybe he'll post about it) and my cousin did also. My cousin decided to pass off the lyrics to Public Enemy's "Fight The Power" as his own. He got an A, and was asked to read his poem outloud in class. No, I'm not making this up. Imagine the reaction of a 20 teenagers circa 1989 listening to a classmate try to pretend that the song they all knew was a poem. Classic.

Anyway, I'd like to blame this whole thing on not totally understanding English at that point in my life...but I don't think that was the case. This is just further proof that I have always been an absolute idiot.


  1. Amazing.

    In a somewhat similar story, when I was 15 we had an English assignment related to poetry that was to bring in the lyrics to a song we liked. I brought in something by Death Angel, and the teacher refused to let me use a song by a band called Death Angel.

    Good stuff.

    I think I ended up having to fall back on something she would "allow", like Metallica or something... which actually probably had "spookier" lyrics than the damn Death Angel song, ha...

  2. B-
    Lucho Metales was having problems sharing; however, he is learning how to share his feelings as well as listening to others. This assignment was a great example of Luchos ability to excel in writing. Good work!

  3. Yay! I'm so glad you didn't find my creepy poem to be...well...creepy. Thank Mr Teacher

  4. A woman I work with told me a story about her mom getting called into school because of a poem her brother wrote. After reading the horrific poem, the teacher decided to show the illustration (that wasn't part of the assignment) that the brother added. It was the devil raping a woman on a bed. When they got home from school the mom was ripping posters off of his wall and my friend found a record sleeve w/ the same image. She looked inside and found a lyric sheet that had the same poem. The record was "Nightmare" by Venom w/ the original cover. My friend told her brother that that he would probably have to go to counseling so he said "I know I'm sane, I can handle that shit. If I admit to plagiarism I'll get in way more trouble." That cracks me up every time. I'm still waiting for her to find out if he has his old records though!

  5. That is really funny, I am curious as to how your friend handled the "Elvis was a hero to most..." line in Fight the Power. Motherfuck him and John Wayne.
    I remember similar English assignments and particularly one ultra-liberal English teacher being stoked on Metallica's "anti-drug" themes. Totally ruined it for the hesher who thougt he was being subversive by bringing in Master of Puppets.

  6. The Master Of Puppets thing reminds me of an unanswered Metallica question I've had...and no, the question is not "How much Rogaine does Kirk go through in a week?". In Some Kind of Monster they are never clear as to why James goes into rehab. Some mention is made about alcohol, but in the movie and interviews, he wouldn't say what it was for. Perhaps the lyrics to Master Of Puppets made him be ashamed to admit that he was dancing with lady-H if you know what I'm sayin...and I think you do.

  7. Rime of the Ancient Mariner got me through several English assignments

  8. Me and my brother both learnt english by translating lyrics.
    I even began writing lyrics at a certain point (that I later used for songs like "Death & putrefaction" and so on) so I stopped studying english at all.
    I improvised everything while tested in the classroom!
    Metal & education arent' an oxymoron...

  9. the inclusion of the "brut cologne" tag made me gag with laughter.

    every metal kid bites from his favorite bands for school assignments. my sole source was cyco miko. once i combined "asleep at the wheel" with some lines by helmet. i got an A, although the teacher said the wind can't "pick up" (the "vaccination" lyrics). it can, you stupid woman, it says so in the booklet! the story's stupid, while lucho's funny. anyways, C64 text adventures and cyco miko later on were responsible for most of my vocabulary.

  10. Yeah, the Brut cologne tag is f-ing epic. I wonder how many kids passed history class with a little help from Bruce Bruce and the guys.

  11. In my 10th grade English class we had to play the class a love song of our choosing and do a report on the lyrics. I chose Type O's "Love You To Death", mostly as a joke, but everyone else was sufficiently creeped out.

  12. i can attest to the validity of this post. also i can tell you all that Lucho used to LOVE his Brut. he used to apply it deliberately as a kid.

    i totally forgot about my cousin's fight the power story! too funny. i should give him shit about it, im hanging out with him this weekend.

    oh! in case ppl were wondering, the song i used as a "poem" was death's 'forgotten past':

    Images of the forgotten past
    Your first life revealed at last
    Now you'll find to your surprise
    All the corpses you left behind

  13. When I was 12 (coincidence) I also made a work in class on Carcass's Reek of Putrefaction, a sort of critic that was an appreciation to the band's classy lyrics, back in 1988-89. The teacher asked me to take the TAPE and PLAY IT on the recorder in the classroom. I am amazed how sometimes parallels happen on the other side of ze world...