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chapter one – invocation


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chapter one – invocation


chapter one – invocation

let me invoke the muse and infuse this hip-hop
with words that enthuse and then cue the beat drop.
gather round; I'll expound it forthwith:
it's the profound sound of stereomyth.


lush, green port by the sea—
you contort cautiously as you slip between
the crates and grates
stacks of gold plates, scales with weights,
exotic merchants tattooed, but all you seek is food.

a beggar vagabond grey-hat street-rat orphan,
you grew up poor and forcing situations
so that you could survive.
the constable, he wants your life to end.
you have no choice. eyes moist, you go and steal again.

let me invoke the muse and infuse this hip-hop
with words that enthuse and then cue the beat drop.
gather round; I'll expound it forthwith:
it's the profound sound of stereomyth.


but admiral ackbar warned you that this would be a trap—
such hubris, lugubrious, now in medias res.
the constable does advance as you flee in a dance
that's played out so many times for your so very many crimes.

through houses stacked like turtle shells washed up by the tide
you evade and you run, duck, and hide
but never fight. sense of right still prevails,
but the cops, they pursue you like a pack of ravenous killer whales.

let me invoke the muse and infuse this hip-hop
with words that enthuse and then cue the beat drop.
gather round; I'll expound it forthwith:
it's the profound sound of stereomyth.


arrows sing as they begin to fling by your eye.
they catch you standing blinking, thinking “is today when i die?"
you get to running; now they gunning, so you reach for a rock,
and with a cry you let it fly then turn and head for the docks.

the rock misses the cops. they diss you in flock.
this pisses you off. the constable scoffs.
you cough as you notice that you've hit a dead end,
no friend in sight,
your would-be captors running not far behind.

your only choice is to stow on a boat
like the cold stows upon the frost, so you get lost.
you jump aboard and go below decks, but suddenly your plan's wrecked.
an old man grabs your hand and reprimands you, so completely vexed.

he takes your wrist, and with a twist he drags you up above,
and frowning, drowning in your mind, you see the cops, they have no love.
but then a crackle and surge, you hear a booming voice purge ring out.
the old man bellows with a terrible shout.

the costable flips, jeans dripping with piss.
he trips as he runs, and fleeing en masse the crooks forget their guns.
the old man breathes and bows and starts to pray.
you feel the boat begin to slide away into the bay.

let me invoke the muse and infuse this hip-hop
with words that enthuse and then cue the beat drop.
gather round; I'll expound it forthwith:
it's the profound sound of stereomyth.

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chapter two – the old man


chapter two – the old man


chapter two – the old man

the old man welcomes you aboard the boat.
you look left; you look right; you look south; you look north.
you see scallywags, scoundrels, just a tad down, grills missing teeth;
legs missing feet walk like a skewed beat.

you get to thinking that maybe it's not the right move.
your circumstances at home, maybe they'll improve.
maybe you'll pick up a job, get a spouse,
have three kids and a dog, live in a country house, but no:

but there's no way that i can go back.
the sea is blue and the past is black.
if i could see the future i would let you know,
but time will say nothing but i told you so.


his face is twisted like the trunk of a tree
grown on the side of a cliff, all its roots clinging to scree.
well there's a map and a plan and a distant land across a deep sea.
the goal of the company

is to find a machine; you don't quite comprehend.
he says the fate of the world is completely in your hands.
he says he'll train you to do what heroes do.
you do a double-take and balk at this loose old screw.

you just check right out as he wraps up his speech.
exit the harbor, you look back at that sliver of beach.
you held those rocks in your hand as a kid on the shore long before,
but the past is no more, can you feel me now?

you get to thinking that maybe there's nothing left to lose.
the old man's crazy, but then again, he's paid his dues.
well you can tell he's lived more life than you have,
and as he goes below decks, you lose sight of the land. alone:

but there's no way that i can go back.
the sea is blue and the past is black.
if i could see the future i would let you know,
but time will say nothing but i told you so.

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chapter three – the sailor


chapter three – the sailor


chapter three – the sailor

the sailor comes up from below decks, raving drunk,
mumbling to the crew about the spoiled new kid, degenerate punk.
he spits and he turns, then he stumbles to the stern,
and then he sternly, sloppily faces you, says he'll erase you.

you take a step back and gawk, balk, look around:
these sailors are jailers, no allies nowhere to be found.
nothing but neutral faces and the sea on all sides.
you realize that this drunk could go ahead and end your whole life.

so many stars in the sky
so many fists flying by
what is this road that i try?
and is it time to die?


you get laughed at, wharf rat. spitting up blood, you stand pat.
huffing and heaving, you feel gassed. for an old drunk, he throws fast.
another barrage, straight to the gut, and yet his face is uncut.
you stagger to stern, you stagger to port. the sailor, he laughs with a proud snort.

the others now join in, laughing with breaths of stale gin.
you suddenly wish you had stayed home. the sailor appears like a cyclone.
he's just like a mad dog, hopped up on old grog.
he fakes with the right, he lands with the left, and suddenly all you can see is the deck.

so many stars in the sky
so many fists flying by
what is this road that i try?
and is it time to die?


the ringing in your ears has gotten oh so loud now.
you stagger to your feet again but aren't quite sure how.
the sailor looks at you like, “yo, how is he even still alive?"
he reaches around and grabs his sword. he draws it and then he lets fly.

you turn and then start to run, but looking for help, you find none.
running to bow and running to stern, you notice the sea as it starts to churn.
too drunk or too brave, he notices not the old wave.
you brace yourself and yell to flee, but then with a crash, he's carried to sea.

so many stars in the sky
so many fists flying by
what is this road that i try?

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chapter four – the sea


chapter four – the sea


chapter four – the sea

storm clouds start to boil on the horizon.
distant flashes of light in the night, waves rising.
your father told you that he would scold you
if you couldn't take a challenge. you started crying.

you hold back the tears as the old man reappears.
he warns you that an even greater trial now nears.
there's fear on the ship as the wind starts to whip.
he tells you that you've reached the solo leg of the trip.

you stay sedulous although you're incredulous.
you grab a lifeboat, but your life's so tenuous.
the old man lowers you down as he frowns at the stormclouds.
the thundercracks become loud now.

an island looms, dark and mysterious.
the sea smashes its rocks, so imperious.
you start to row. the man waves goodbye.
flashes of lightning betray the waves in your eye. you go:

i, i got so much work to do.
i'm freaking out.
trying to keep this ship in tip-top, tip-top shape.
wonder how much longer 'til i get it there.
gotta keep on and push, push.
help me keep my hands up on the oars.


you row out, full of doubt, toward the dark of the sea.
struggling through the waves, you embrace the unseen

without light, without coat, without plan, without rope,
without friend, without air, without tears, without hope,
without fear, without time, without heart, without mind,
without love, you row out, paddling for your life,

without sight, without coat,
without light, without rope,
without friend, without air,
you row on without.

there was a time when you where a child
when life was lush, and your hair was wild.
your mother told you someday you'd meet sorrow,
when every single day would be a fight 'til tomorrow.

you laughed unawares of the cares; you were so free.
but now you understand, up against the hungry sea.
you have no plan, a bleak destination,
your only action now being self preservation. say it:

i, i got so much work to do.
i'm freaking out.
trying to keep this ship in tip-top, tip-top shape.
wonder how much longer 'til i get it there.
gotta keep on and push, push.
help me keep my hands up on the oars.


you row out, full of doubt, toward the dark of the sea.
struggling through the waves, you embrace the unseen

without light, without coat, without plan, without rope,
without friend, without air, without tears, without hope,
without fear, without time, without heart, without mind,
without love, you row out paddling for your life,

without sight, without coat,
without light, without rope,
without friend, without air,
you row on without.

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chapter five – time


chapter five – time


chapter five – time

time

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chapter six – nothing


chapter six – nothing


chapter six – nothing

hands covered in seaweed, phosphorescent sea things,
you wash up ashore coughing, sputtering,
bubbling out your lungs. rungs
on the ladder you're trying to climb collapsed.

you've relapsed into your old ways
of having spent days nearly dying.
maybe tomorrow you'll be fying in the desert sun.
you realize you need shelter, a sword, a gun, a plan, maybe somewhere to run.

but in the back of your mind you feel like
this might've been mentioned to you once or twice by that old man.
you hardly knew him or his crazy plan,
but you signed on anyway so you could run from land.

what is this place, this mysterious island?
and why have you arrived in a fashion so violent?
what do you have left of life when the sea, with its strife,
tried to run you through with its coral knives?

you've done nothing.
you've won nothing,
become nothing.
you've seen nothing.
you've learned nothing.
you've saved nothing.
you've found nothing.
you've got nothing,
but that's something.

you went and got a clean slate,
and now you watch the sea as it starts to abate.
well here you are, far away, at the start of a day.
well maybe nothing is a pretty cool hand to play.

well maybe nothing is a pretty cool hand to play.
well listen to the muse now; listen what i say:
well maybe nothing is a pretty cool hand to play.
well maybe everything and nothing ain't so far away.


you've done nothing.
you've won nothing,
become nothing,
you've seen nothing.
you've learned nothing.
you've saved nothing.
you've found nothing.
you've got nothing,
but that's something.

you went and got a clean slate,
and now you watch the world as it starts to awake.
well here you are, all alone, at the start of a day.
well maybe nothing is a pretty cool hand to play.

well maybe nothing is a pretty cool hand to play.
well listen to the muse now; listen what i say:
well maybe nothing is a pretty cool hand to play.
well maybe everything and nothing ain't so far away.


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chapter seven – the island


chapter seven – the island


chapter seven – the island

maybe it's just you and me.
maybe we're just nobody.


you walk out in the pouring rain
past where those children used to play.
those scenes you've seen inside your brain,
they make a grown man strain to keep it sane.

had you prepared yourself for this,
you still would've found yourself dismissed.
it's like the world's gone amiss,
but take a chance and jump in the abyss.

we're halfway into our lives;
long gone are the drugs and the night drives.
we've kissed goodbye to our wives,
no shelter, seeing just who survives.

maybe it's just you and me,
maybe it's just nobody.
some people's lives are replete,
while other people die on the street.

maybe it's just you and me.
maybe we're just nobody.


you see through the fog and the grey mist
old names and old flames you'd kissed.
in a way, they grow now each minute,
bigger than real life as you lived it.

your memory's just like a drug,
a sirens' call that will tug,
but now you're tied to the mast.
you live now and not in the past.

time says “i told you so,"
but you know time has no flow,
just moments stitched at the seams,
discrete like daylight and dreams.

maybe that's just you and me.
maybe we're just nobody.
some people's lives are replete,
and other people die on the street.

maybe it's just you and me.
maybe we're just nobody.


you stumble through haze and mud,
but water's thinner than blood.
you press on. where? you don't know
until you see that red glow

coming from inside a cave.
you calm your mind and behave.
lurid, bright filament lights,
you never seen such sights in your life.

a giant cast-iron gate
separates you from the cave.
you pull with all of your might,
knowing that something's inside.

maybe that's just you and me,
maybe we're just nobody.
the lights shut off as you knock.
you see the gate come unlocked.

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chapter eight – the cave


chapter eight – the cave


chapter eight – the cave

you cautiously contort as you enter the cave.
a stream trickles by as the night overtakes the day.
adverbs, adjectives, they fail to describe
the many strange sights that overcome your tiring eyes.

bioluminescent mushrooms and glow worms, they guide you
as something new and strange stirs inside you.
this quest and this place make no sense at face value,
but something very odd does indeed seem to corral you

ever deeper. you start to see the creepers, the crawlers,
the tiny, eyeless fish and bottom trawlers.
suddenly, your heart begins to spasm
as the cave it opens up into an underground cavern:

moss, trees, crystals, streams, purple amethyst
jut forth here and somehow subsist.
even so, you're still in a crack in the earth,
you snap off a crystal and wonder at its worth.

instantly the ground starts to shake with a quake
you hear alarm bells ringing, drop the crystal, and it breaks.
oh shit, oh no, the way you came back in is closed.
you start to move across the room, and then you see the stream's frozed.

not frozen in ice, but in time the room's fixed.
the images around you slowly cease to exist.
the room's a dark, black trap and tells only lies,
and through the dark now you see pair upon pair of red eyes.

you search for an exit as the eyes draw near.
you have a vision of the constable standing on the pier.
you feel a knock on your head, and your knees start to go.
time will say nothing but i told you so.

but there's no way that i can go back.
the sea is blue and the past is black.
if i could see the future, i would let you know.
but time will say nothing but i told you so.

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chapter nine – the machine underneath the world


chapter nine – the machine underneath the world


chapter nine – the machine underneath the world

you come to, eyes bloodshot, there in a metallic room.
listen to the sound of whizzing cranks in a sulfur plume,
conveyor belts woven with pneumatic tubes,
tiny little bots inside beryllium cubes.

your hands are bound, your face, to the ground.
you start to think that maybe you wish that you had drowned
in the sea. but there's no time for decree:
you hear a sound at the door, a fumbling of many keys.

the old man, the old man, damnit,
bursts through the door with the force of a planet.
he says, “c'mon, 'cause we're in grave danger.
well this journey that you're on? well it's about to get stranger."

you leave the room, your legs on turbo.
behind you, you can hear the strange sound of a servo.
you look back at the dim light track.
a thousand pairs of red eyes pursue you in a pack. they say:

we are the machine underneath the world.
everything you've ever loved will come unfurled.
well if you disobey, you will pay. we control the night and day.
submit now. back to the pack you must assimilate.

don't be afraid of metal hands and red eyes.
everything you've ever known is just a disguise.
well if you try to flee, you will see: we control society.
submit now. you're not allowed to live defiantly.

the old man huffs and heaves,
but he explains the situation as he tries to breathe.
he says that there are slaves, cages for days,
and there's an evil queen that keeps them in this underground maze.

but even worse, they control the land from below,
from the sea to that lush, green port that you know.
to the island where old memories emerged again,
to the cave where illusions came and reeled you in.

you start a double-take and balk, but now you know better:
everything he's told you has been true to the letter.
so how does one confront a crazy army of bots
powered by a planet of a billion watts?

old man states that he'll be the bait,
that he'll divert the army while you go and search the place
for the queen. the bots draw close, little space in between.
they speak loud now, one machine. they say:

we are the machine underneath the world.
everything you've ever loved will come unfurled.
well if you disobey, you will pay. we control the night and day.
submit now. back to the pack you must assimilate.

don't be afraid of metal hands and red eyes.
everything you've ever known is just a disguise.
well if you try to flee, you will see: we control society.
submit now. you're not allowed to live defiantly.

the old man stops in his tracks, and he turns.
he rises up, and his eyes, they begin to burn
with a fire. the robots begin to conspire
to bring him down, to bind him in platinum wire.

you keep running, stumbling to survive.
you lose sight of the light of the robot hive.
the plan worked for the time being.
you hear a crash behind you but you keep on fleeing, like—

you can't believe the many sights that you see:
control rooms, cages, and slaves, but no keys.
where is the queen bee, stuck inside this dead tree?
stumble to the west as your chest cannot find reprieve.

you turn a corner, expecting the coroner,
but suddently you feel more hot-blooded than foreigner:
a beautiful damsel, her assets, ample.
she beckons you; you reckon that you'd like to have a sample.

and in your mind you know that something is very wrong,
but paralyzed, anesthetized, you go and follow along.
you march at double-time and balk; you thought you knew better.
she takes your hand and walks you like an irish setter, saying:

i am the machine underneath the world.
slowly the illusion starts to come unfurled:
a horrible visage. you try to turn and flee,
but falling down you notice that you're bound at the feet.

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chapter ten – posterity


chapter ten – posterity


chapter ten – posterity

legs skitter. eyes glitter.
a million little robot feet, they move with a pitter
and patter. they chatter: here comes the queen!
she emerges from the dark in a flash of pale green

light. right, what a hideous sight!
deadly beautiful with a fierce underbite,
a trillion eyes, thighs that crush.
terrified and awed, your blood starts to rush

as you start to pass out.
the queen addresses you; she begins to shout.
she bellows with a force that cause a drought,
blow the rain away, and turn your inside out.
with a hideous snout, she says:

you are not the first, and you're not the last.
every single future turns into the past,
but not mine, for i draw no breath.
i'll call you stereo; you can call me death.

you search the gloom as you survey the room.
you come to think that maybe this place will be your tomb.
from the womb to the grave, life can be such a knave.
suddenly you see a glimmer from inside a cage.

the old man, beaten and bruised, he groans.
from his mouth he produces a single stone.
a final push: he hurls the stone with his might.
the bots swarm; with a terrible sound he dies.

horrified, you watch the stone fly.
it sails like a fastball straight to your eye.
you catch it, inspect it. it's dull, round, and grey.
he got it from the sliver of beach by the bay

where you grew up running from the cops in the rain.
a flash of memories overwhelms your brain.
you turn around, understand what to do.
the queen snarls, and she charges at you. you say:

stop. now i'm gonna explain
the future generation gonna sing my name.

oh, such clarity:
well you can go and vanquish death with that posterity.

stop. now i'm gonna explain
the future generation gonna sing my name.

oh, such temerity:
well you can go and vanquish death with that posterity.

confident now, you start to invoke the muse.
the queen stops now, puzzled, perturbed, confused.
the bots quake, uncertain of what takes place.
you let them know as you start to say

let me invoke the muse and infuse this hip-hop
with words that enthuse and then cue the beat drop.
gather round; i'll expound it forthwith:
it's the profound sound of stereomyth.

you hear a deep rumble. it thunders below.
your knees start to shake, but you continue to flow.
you speak in rhymes as you tell your own legend.
the volume in your voice surges up to eleven.

she twists and grates. the queen starts to break
as you feel the earth quake. you feel your legs give,
but your mind is awake.
you sing your own song for posterity's sake.
with a strength in your voice, you go:

stop. now i'm gonna explain
the future generation gonna sing my name.

oh, such clarity:
well you can go and vanquish death with that posterity.

stop. now i'm gonna explain
the future generation gonna sing my name.

such temerity:
well you can go and vanquish death with that posterity.

the queen screams in pain; her brain surges
and purges her memory banks. they emerge as
you grip the gray stone in your hand, held tight.
you rear back and launch the stone: it takes flight.

a beggar vagabond gray-hat, street-rat orphan,
you grew up poor and forcing situations,
and still you survive, and you'll survive beyond life.
you pass into legend. the stone smashes her mind.

a bright flash! she explodes like the death star.
you think to run, but you know you won't get far.
you stand calm. the cave turns to scree.
you close your eyes, and you think of the sea.

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epilogue


epilogue


epilogue

you breathe in.
open up your eyes to daylight, begin.
and start another life as you taste the wind.

it blows the dust away. you see the wreckage:
the queen lies vanquished; not a single living vestige
is there to be seen, and the world is so green.
the former slaves celebrate, now freed.

they sing of a hero whose miraculous deeds
will be told and retold throughout posterity.

you've got something, but that's nothing.
if you really want to jam, then raise the bunting
or head home. yeah, head wherever you please!
you've seen the underworld and survived the seas.

not bad for a young nobody!
the world is cruel; it can be so bloody.
but the world makes, and the world takes.
it's not fair, but it's a constant exchange.

there was a strange old man with a strange old plan.
hard to think that everything was happenstance.
there was a fight on a boat and a wave that was rogue,
a violent birth into the unknown,

a journey underground, a terrible sound,
some bots, a queen, a violent scream,
a memory of home with a flash of green,
what you've seen...

it will never be seen again.

out.