“Cookin’ MCs Like a Pound of Bacon,” by Jeff Kass

May 20th, 2009 | By | Category: Prose

Motherfuckers gotta represent.

Yeah, I’m White, so what? White like a piece of Xerox paper dunked in a barrel of bleach. I’m White like vanilla ice cream if you take the flavoring out. I mean, there’s not even any vanilla in my shit, fake or natural. I’m just pure no-color fucked-up White. I’m so White what spits out my mouth can cross out typos. Can erase shit. Like history.

But, check it – does that mean I’m not hip hop?

Just because I got a rock garden in my backyard with some fat-ass carp swimming around in a pond with lily pads – I mean, yo, that shit’s dope, with a bubble fountain of water trickling over stones; that shit’s so constantly soothing it’ll make you think you don’t need to smoke weed like more than once a week – for real though, just because of that carp and bubble nurturing environment twenty20feet from my mom’s living room window, you think I’m not hip hop?

My point is blatant. Most motherfuckers fail to get educated the way they need to be. See, hip hop is the voice of the street, and even though the street I live on got houses with nineteen empty bedrooms and basements bigger than the typical cruise ship and those cruel and unusual electronic fences that shock the shit out of some specific poodle-looking horrible drooling dogs, it ain’t about what the street looks like. It ain’t about whether there’s homies on the corner drinkin’ forties, or even no corner at all €˜cuz there’s no sidewalks, and the specifically designed cul-de-sac winds around in a gentle curve like some beautiful woman’s hip – that shit’s ill, for real – €˜cuz the point is the idea of street. Even my bougie-ass street got to have a voice.

Tell the truth, I ain’t on some Desperate Housewives shit neither. There’s some shorties up in that piece, no doubt – believe me I’d be getting’ busy in some of those gazebos or whatever – but, yo, my mom ain’t even like that. She don’t be hoin’ nobody, like poisoning drinks so she can get the job at the breast cancer fundraiser or some bullshit. She just be doing some, like, mystic breathing exercises in t he rock garden. She just be pressing her hands together like she’s praying and spinning in slow wind-circles like20some ten thousand-year-old shaman tripped out of his skull on mushrooms in the desert gloaming. Always be like, yo, Aaron, come join me, it’ll be good for your chi. Like what the fuck’s my chi? Some kind of rodent hibernating in my ribcage? Like it needs a full-finger massage just so it can wake up and feel dope enough to migrate to the grocery store? Yo, my chi’s fine, all right. Don’t be buggin’ me out with that.

My main problem is I gotta start tenth grade tomorrow. That’s a horrifying prospect. I mean, if anything’s gonna piss my chi off, it’s that. First off, my mom bought me a whole brand new wardrobe of gay golf shirts. Like, mom, peep reality, I’m not going to the country club right now. Plus, for real, the shirts are gay. That’s the truth. They put eye-liner on and go to gay bars and give each other sleeve jobs. My mom’s gonna be all up in my mug though if I don’t wear them. She’s gonna be like, Aaron, why you gotta dress like you’re about to jack somebody’s sister with a baseball bat? You’re a handsome young man, Aaron, why don’t you stop hiding in those sweatshirt hoods and let people see your face?

Ain’t no problem with my face. Ain’t no problem with people seeing it either. It’s my choice though. This is the United States of America. If I want to conceal something, I conceal it. If I want to flaunt, I flaunt. That s how it goes in this piece. Plus, yo, it’s hard to put summertime behind me. don’t even like thinking about it. All I do all summer is exactly what I want to be doing. School’s on some whole other kind of high-caloric fucked-up stress diet. You try to chill there, you try to do your thing, and people are gonna fuck with you. For real.

As soon as school starts, the first casualty is the time I need to make my album the way I want it. I got the flows no doubt, or at least I got the ideas for the flows, and I be trying to write shit every day, like I try to put the pen to page and spit fire, but now it’s gonna be like, yo, hold up, no time for the studio €˜cuz some stale-ass teacher with breath like something dark and mysterious on the bottom of a homeless dude’s boot has to decide it’s his ultimate life-goal to give me a five-paragraph essay to write. This is how you learn how to think, them teachers be saying. For real, Aaron, this is how we know you’re getting it. Yeah, how about I be getting your grandma in the backseat of her Suburban? How about she serves me in the downtown library parking lot? Would you know if I got that?

See, everybody thinks I don’t read, like I spend all day playing videogames or drinking forties or whatever, and, believe me, I=E 2m not gonna lie, I put in my hours, yo, with the PS2, but I can walk away whenever I want. And forties, who am I gon na drink €˜em with? My skinny Casper The Ghost self outta some paper bag like a specifically dilapidated whino? I might be fucked up, yo. I might be in therapy every Tuesday and Thursday, but I’m not sleeping in the clinic doorway. I’m not mumbling to myself about somebody please give me a cigarette or I’m gonna twitch in mad convulsions and die right here in front of your innocent pre-school daughter. Peep the obvious, yo – I got deep insights. I got vocabulary sicker than the average raccoon with rabies because I do read. For real. I read every page of every book I ever get assigned by every dandruff-dripping, smelling-like-a-dumpster teacher I got. Not the Cliff Notes either. The whole shit.

I look at it like this – if I don’t read but I want to have an opinion about the book, like I want to tell my moms to jump off my nuts and let me keep watching TV because the book I’m supposed to be reading blows hard on my specifically disinterested johnson – then if I didn’t read the book, I’m just fronting. I’m straight fake like any asshole who says dumb shit like all hip hop is only about bling and blunts, but who ain’t even heard any hip hop since, like, the Furious Five or some other distinctly extinct nursing home motherfuckers. No disrespect to the Furious Fi ve, that’s some pioneers right there, but still you’re talking Dark Ages. You’re talkin’ shit that was written on stone tablets. The hip hop species has evolved since then. Seriously, if you can’t take the time to listen, then who the fuck are you to commentate?

Same point why I got to read the books. And, yo, I’m not saying all of them, but a lot of those shits are wack. Like how many times I’m supposed to read about some dust-covered girl whose, like, bustle skirt or whatever is too constricting, complain about how the dude she likes left his card on the table in the parlor, but it was after tea instead of before tea, or it should have been a letter with some specifically colorful family crest, or how come his man didn’t just drop him off in his coach or – what the fuck, yo – do the dude or don’t do the dude. And if you don’t do the dude, do a different dude. I ain’t got time for your tea and needlepoint turmoil, all right.

For real, I got shit to do. I be staying up late to read that nonsense. I got a small lamp in my bedroom and I’m all spread out on my bed like I’m the clean white sheet itself, and the lamp is creating this, like, haunting pool of light that’s glowing all over my shit. It’s 3 a.m. and I’m bathing in this pool of light to, like, purify my White fucked-up needing-therapy-two-days-a-week ass, and I kn ow the drunk daughters of the doctors who live up in this piece – but, yo, they be some serious females wasted on wine coolers and other bullshit beverages – and they be cruising in their cute, yellow, like, small-sized mini-Hummers – tell me that’s not fucked up – and I know they see that glorious wash of light painting my window and they’re probably giggling and saying, yo, that dude must be on some kind of Einstein tip, and to tell the truth, they’re correct. That’s an accurate statement.

But don’t go crazy with that shit either. I ain’t no fuckin’ glow-in-the-dark nocturnal nerd-lizard so don’t think like, yo, just prescribe this albino freak some Valium-spiked food coloring or some other kind of unproductive narcotic remedy and he’s gonna be la-la peaceful dreamland. Hell nah, you need to check out another accurate statement. I ain’t no vampire. I be reading in the daytime too. The sun be toasting my sunscreen-frosted skin like a marshmallow – seriously, I lather on a straight fifth of that UVD-35 mess every day – and I be dragging my specifically rat-looking chi out to the rock garden and chillin’ in the shade. I be straight reclining on the wrought-iron bench flipping pages while those overweight Twinkie-jonesing lardfish swim around bumping their heads against the sides of the pond. Stupid no-memory having fucks. Like learn some shit already, all right? Figure something out when you smack your forehead against a rock repeatedly. For real, yo, internalize some knowledge. I don’t understand how evolution didn’t just electric- chair the whole muttfish species.

It’s tranquil though. Even bugs, like some specifically military ants, be kicking back and peacein’ in that mug. I come up with some of my best rhymes just sitting there, just listening to the rhythm of the fountain, watching the Special Ed. Carp knock themselves furtherly stupid. Check it –

Yo, fly miss

Let me show you

How I kiss

Like an ichthyologist

Studies fish I’ll know your lips

Like a barnacle loves ships

Ah, ah, ah! Who wants to fuck with that? Who got multiple nautical metaphors like this motherfucker? Not you. Hell nah! Tell me that’s not romantic. Tell me shorties ain’t getting ready to peel down to their hot satin right this specifically motivated second!

I’ll tell you the truth, though. I’m not really pulling the honeys like I should be. With my kind of lyrical skill, mad hos should be feeling me. They should be all on my jock like a salamander to a camouflaged tree branch or whatever, but for some ridiculous reason, it’s not occurring. It’s like school. It’s like my album. I got my ideas about how things should be, but the reality doesn’t agree how I want it to. Some dictator teacher got to throw me an essay just when I’m getting ready to see if a fly female wants to holler at me and, yo, no w I’m too busy for my flows and the females subsequently be gravitating elsewhere.

It’s like what happened the first day of school last year, I mean the very first day of ninth grade, like, hello, welcome to the warm and fuzzy high school experience, fuck you.

Okay, actually it was the second day, but let’s be real, the first day doesn’t count because nobody knows what’s going on, everybody’s just wandering the hallways like a drunk population of junior citizen refugees, so I’m talking about the real first day, and I spot this hot female over by the water fountain near the auditorium. So, you know, I mean, middle school was wack, but now it’s new, right? Now it’s like the true deal of the unsheltered world, and who’s more prepared for that than I am? I mean, I’m like freakin’ Einstein, right? I read more books than your grandparents and their parents and all their adulterous lovers combined, so I figure, fuck it, I’m gonna holler at this girl. I don’t know if she’s a senior, or a student council member, or a specifically talented teenage architect who designed the water fountain she’s drinking at – all I know is she looks good. Got tan skin and hair like twelve different co lors of blond and tight shorts all up in her crotch like excuse me, but this very moment is the optimal time to get busy, and so I’m like, yo, Shortie, check it, I got flows, for real ..

And, she’s like, “What?”

And, I’m like, “What you mean what?”

And she’s like – with this fucked-up ugly I’ll-kill-you-with-a-hypodermic-needle glare – “What I mean is I didn’t hear you. You talk too quiet.”

I don’t know what the fuck she’s talking about – I’m a loud, fill-the-room-type bullhorn motherfucker – but, all right, I repeat myself, like, practically yelling it in her ear – which is gorgeous by the way, like aerodynamically shaped and exquisitely designed – “Shortie, yo, I got flows, you know what I’m sayin’?”

“No, I don’t know what you’re saying,” she says, “and I don’t know why you’re calling me Shortie either. Look at you. How old are you? You look like some fifth-grader’s little brother. I’m, like, a foot taller than you.”

“But, yo, I got flows though,” I tell her, like, for real, what is she failing to be educated about here? Like how come her chi ain’t feelin’ my chi or whatever.

And she says, “Look, I don’t know if you’re a freshman or what, and what is it with these flows? Is that some kind of a drug? Are you talking monthly flows? I don’t get it.”

“Monthly flows?”

“Listen, you might be a nice boy,” she says, “but I’m sorry, I don’t have time for this. Why don’t you hit on someone who knows what you’re talking about?”

And that’s when I hear some dudes laughing, like a whole grip of ho-ho-ho motherfuckers with their hands over their mouths, cracking up like they never saw anything funnier in their lifetimes. I mean, one of these clowns actually falls down on the floor and is lying on his back laughing, kicking his feet in the air looking like a specifically tantrum-throwing infant, and I’m, like fuck this bullshit bougie school anyway. I’m not about to start weeping profusely or some other specifically female tendency so I try to play it off, like maybe there’s not really twenty or thirty dudes and some additional also hot-looking shorties laughing at me, so maybe I’ll just turn to the water fountain and inhale my own highly necessary and refreshing drink, and that’s when I see the red box with the glass case around it.

It’s not like I planned it. For real, I was just thinking fuck you, fuck this school, fuck all y’all, drink some water, and the opportunity just presented itself like somebody’s fat wallet lying on the sidewalk. I look at these ho-ho-ho idiots still laughing and I give them a very specific middle finger and then I break the glass with my bony-ass knuckles and the consequential noise was a lot louder than I thought it would be. All of a sudden it’s clang-clang-clang an d whistling beeps and flashing lights and I’m gonna tell you something, those dudes stopped laughing and starting running in all different directions like some scattering cowardly soldiers when the bomb hits and I just stand there like, yeah, you giggling pre-school motherfuckers, I did it – until the buckethead principal pulls me by the elbow with his specifically primetime young man, come with me monologue, and all of a sudden, I ain’t even been in high school two days and I’m suspended for a week.

My mom was pissed too, disappointed more than anything, she told me for seven basically San Quentin days straight, and so I was like, okay, I’ll drink this farm animal tasting wheat grass if you say so and I’ll accompany you to the downward dog homo yoga studio and, seriously, it ain’t my misaligned chakras that made me pull that fire alarm, but if it’ll make you think I’m not gonna, like, burn down the children’s hospital or whatever, then fuck it, yeah, I’ll do it.

I got blamed for a lot of shit after that. Every time a stoned-out-of-his-dome weedhead set fire to the bathroom, every time somebody tagged some suck-my-genitals type profanity on the wall, every20time anybody did anything remotely related to my anti-social incident, here come the CIA hall monitor homeboys with their walkie-talkies on lock – where’s Aaron? Who’s seen Aaron? It got to the point where when something shady happened, I just mig rated down to the office and sat there waiting. I never said nothing either. Accuse me of this, accuse me of that, suspend me, whatever. I only ever care about what my mom thinks. I only don’t want to see her crying and thinking she’s a fucked-up parent – yo, I will kill motherfuckers for my mom – so, damn, every time they mess with me I got to tell her, mom, I’m being honest, I didn’t do the shit. Yes, I pulled the fire alarm, but everything else – no, the shit’s bogus. For real.

I think she believes me, but I’m not sure. I hear her crying in the middle of the night when I’m reading in my pool of light. Every week now, I go to yoga with her. My chi’s good now, I tell her. My chi’s all balanced, I can feel that shit.

So I’m gonna look at sophomore year like this – I’m gonna go to school, but I’m gonna let the females come to me. If they don’t, they’re stupid, or too weeded out to walk properly or whatever, but I ain’t chasing no one. Not by no water fountains, not in the parking lot, not in gym class, or the library. I’m gonna read all the books=2 0they tell me to, and I might even raise my hand if I feel like it. Mostly, though, I’m about to work on my album. I got a gift, yo, and I owe it to the world to share it. For real, who got multiple nautical metaphors like this motherfucker? Not you.


Jeff Kass teaches Creative Writing at Pioneer High School in Ann Arbor MI and at Eastern Michigan University in Ypsilanti MI and also works as the Poet-in-Residence for Ann Arbor Public Schools. His poems, stories and essays have been published or are forthcoming in The Ann Arbor News, The Georgetown Review, Current, The Wayne Literary Review, Anderbo, Barnwood, Bull Men’s Fiction, Amarillo Bay, Writecorner, and The Spoken Word Revolution Redux. His one-man performance poetry show Wrestle the Great Fear debuts in April, 2009 and his short story collection Knuckleheads is forthcoming from Dzanc Books.

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