Language of Violence

For the most part I had a good childhood, but my teenage years were very confusing, as I’m sure they were for most. My step-father at the time had a very eclectic taste in music that he shared with me, so while all the other kids I knew were listening to INXS, Nirvana and Mary J. Blige, I was listening to politically-charged musicians, mostly Hip Hop and Jazz.  Without a lot of friends I became very introverted and self-conscious, which lead to incredible amounts of insecurity and a near vacuum of self-esteem.

I spent a lot of time listening to songs with topics far too advanced for kids my age, presented with stories and views I spent a lot of time trying to comprehend and understand. It certainly broadened my horizons, however left me often very confused and darkened my view of the world.

One of my favorites was this song, ‘Language of Violence’ by the Disposable Heroes of Hiphoprisy. They, Michael Franti & Rono Tse, put out one album. However Michael Franti went on to form Spearhead, which has been my favorite band of the past decade. His music still has a message and still packs a bit of a punch, but its a lot more user-friendly and isnt as ‘Industrial Hip Hop’ as I called it back then, as Disposable Heroes was.

The first day of school was always the hardest
The first day of school the hallways the darkest
Like a gauntlet
the voices haunted
Walking in with his thin skin lowered chin
He knew the names that they would taunt him with
Faggot sissy punk queen queer
Although he’d never had sex in his 15 years
And when they harassed him it was for a reason
And when they provoked him it became open season
for the fox and the hunter, the sparks and the thunder
that pushed the boy under, then pillage and plunder
It kind of makes you wonder
how one can hurt another
But dehumanizing the victim makes things simpler
It’s like breathing with a respirator
It eases the conscience of even the most conscious
and calculating violator
Words can reduce a person to an object,
something more easy to hate
An inanimate entity, completely disposable,
no problem to obliterate
[CHORUS:]
But death is the silence
in this language of violence
Death is the silence
But death is the silence
in this cycle of violence
death is the silence
It’s tough to be young, the young long to be tougher
When we pick on someone else it might make us feel rougher
Abused by their fathers but was at home though
so to prove to each other that they were not homos
The exclamation of the phobic fury
executioner, a judge and jury
The mob mentality, individuality was nowhere
Dignity forgotten at the bottom of a dumb old dare and a numb cold
stare
On the way home it was back to name calling
Ten against one they had his back up against the wall and
they reveled in their laughter as they surrounded him
But it wasn’t a game when they up jumped and grounded him
They picked up their bats with their muscles straining
and they decided they were gonna beat this fella’s brain in
with an awful, powerful, showerful, an hour full of violence
Inflict the strictest brutality and dominance
They didn’t hear him screaming, they didn’t hear him pleading
They ran like cowards and left the boy bleeding
in a pool of red ’til all tears were shed
and his eyes quietly slid into the back of his head
dead…
[CHORUS]
[2x]
You won’t see the face ’til the eyelids drop
You won’t hear the screaming until it stops
The boy’s parents were gone and his grandmother had raised him
She was mad she had no form of retaliation
The pack didn’t have to worry about being on a hitlist
But the thing they never thought about was that there was a witness
to this senseless crime, right place wrong time
Tried as an adult one of them was gonna do hard time
The first day of prison was always the hardest
The first day of prison, the hallways the darkest
Like a gauntlet
the voices haunted
Faggot, sissy, punk, queen, queer
Words he used before had a new meaning in here
As a group of men in front of him came near
for the first time in his life the young bully felt fear
He’d never been on this side of the name calling
Five against one they had his back up against the wall and
he had never questioned his own sexuality
but this group of men didn’t hesitate in their reality
with an awful, powerful, showerful, an hour full of violence
Inflict the strictest brutality and dominance
They didn’t hear him screaming
They didn’t hear him pleading
They took what they wanted and then left him bleeding in the corner
The giant reduced to jack horner
But dehumanizing the victim makes things simpler
It’s like breathing with a respirator
It eases the conscience of even the most conscious
and calculating violator
The power of words, don’t take it for granted
when you hear a man ranting
Don’t just read the lips, be more sublime than this
Put everything in context, is this a tale of rough justice
in a land where there’s no justice at all ?
Who is really the victim ? Or are we all the cause, and victim of it
all ?
[CHORUS]
[2x]
You won’t see the face ’til the eyelids drop
You won’t hear the screaming until it stops

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