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Powerless

Powerless (poem)
by Rob Roper 1st Draft May 25, 2017

It’s a kangeroo court

Those in authority can lie
They can invent evidence
They can falsely accuse me of things
They can say I said this or that

What they say
is gospel truth
Whatever I say
is disregarded
Their lies are accepted
my truth is rejected

They can
convict me of crimes I didn’t commit
They can
take my money
They can even beat me
and they’ll get away it
they’ll win
They always win

Those in authority have always abused me
It’s happened over and over
all my life
And there’s nothing I can do about it
nothing I can do.

People say, “Yes there is!
You can unite with others
against the people in authority!”

But they never unite.
Nobody ever backs me up.
They leave me standing all alone
to fight the powerful
It’s a losing battle

For I am powerless
I am in the class of losers, the rejects

And you wonder
why I have no confidence
you wonder
why I have no hope
It’s the result of experience
lessons learned the hard way

This is what I’ve learned:
Superior force always wins
Justice always loses

I have no power
They always win
I always lose

always lose

always lose

always lose.

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My People

My People (poem)
by Rob Roper 1st Draft May 26, 2017

I have no use for the winners
The frat boys
now yuppies
with their careers
and families
Taking the baby out for a stroll
with their expensive pure-bred dog
(probably ordered him online)
and their boring mainstream clothes
mainstream haircuts
mainstream facial hair
according to the current fad
staring at their mainstream stupidphones
their boys and girls on bicycles with
training wheels
but wearing helmets anyway
living in their big yuppy triplexes with
3 living rooms
5 bedrooms
and 4 baths
where a small house from the 1950’s once stood
generic boring
shrubs and grass planted by
Mexicans
hired by
the developer landscape company
not a single flower to be seen anywhere
all neat and orderly
like their haircuts.
I have no use for these people.
They bore me.

Give me the losers
the misfits
the rejects
rejects
not because society rejected them
but because they rejected society.
Those who
worked odd jobs all their lives
and never had a career
because all careers seemed boring to them.
Those who never made it
due to lack of enthusiasm for “it”

Bring me the failures
those who have been searching all their lives
but never found it
The wannabe poets, artists and musicians
Well-read
with and a sick and twisted sense of humor
and a healthy dose of cyncism
who know that American politics is corrupt
and whose taste in music
is a rejection
of the mainstream
and an embrace of the subversive

These are my people.
People like me.

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New Poem “The Switch”

The Switch
by Rob Roper Jan 29, 2017

I used to think
I would never
be one of the prisoners
who dug his own grave
before being shot.

I would never
be one of those Jews
who meekly boarded the train
to the concentration camp
to be gassed.

No, not me!
I would have refused
to let them
degrade and humiliate me.
I would have said,
“Shoot me now, motherfucker!”
I would have died bravely
and with dignity.

But then I remembered.

“Get me a switch,”
my Mom would say
after I had committed
some infraction.
(It seemed like this happened everyday when I was little.)

I would have to go into the backyard
and break off a branch
from a row of bushes
that divided our property
from the next-door neighbor’s.

I would strip the twigs off the branch
leaving nubs
that made it hurt even more.

Since it was green
it was flexible
so it would wrap around my legs a little
when she struck.

I remember thinking
the one advantage I have
is that I get to choose the weapon
of my punishment.
I remember
trying to figure out
which is better:
a long or short branch?
smaller or bigger diameter?
But I never figured that out.
I resigned myself to the fact
that they would all hurt about the same.

I would bring my selection inside
hand it to Mom
bend over
and she would lash me across the back of my thighs
no doubt
all the while
chastising me for my crime
whatever it was
whatever awful crime
a six-year-old can commit.

So now I know.
I would dig my own grave
I would meekly board that train

Because, afterall
I got my own switch.

Didn’t I?

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Lower the Drinking Age to 18!

Some of my fondest memories of my college-age years was going to small clubs to hear live music. This was in Dallas, Texas in the 70’s. I remember being blown away by David Bromberg’s guitar playing, and laughing my ass off at Ray Wylie Hubbard’s between song banter. I saw Jimmy Buffett and his lead guitar player in a small club, and laughing til it hurt when he debuted songs that would be released a year later on his legendary album “A1A.”

But if I was going to college now, I wouldn’t be able to do that. That’s because I wasn’t 21 years old. Back then, the legal drinking age was 18.

Soon after that, the religious right, neo-prohibitionist lobby succeeded in getting the US Congress to raise the legal drinking age to 21. That created a new industry– the fake ID industry. College students in the 80’s all had fake IDs. So nothing really changed.

The holy rollers, seeing their plan foiled, then focused on pressuring police to enforce the Age-21 law. Clubs were threatened with being put out of business if they didn’t check IDs closely. So now we have the absurdity of everyone being carded at a live music venue, even if you’re 60 years old.

This has hurt live music. Not the big venues, where the bands who have made it big play. The big venues play the wrist band game, so that under-21 adults can still see the show. It’s the small venues, where up-and-coming acts and local bands play, that are hurt, where under-21 adults are simply not admitted.

What age group is most likely to go out and see new music? What age group is most likely to go see a new local band on a weeknight in a small club? We all know, don’t we? It’s that age between high school graduation and the time people get married and start having kids. By removing age 18-21, we cut that time period roughly in half– and we cut the first 3 years of it– in some ways, the most important years; the years where young people are most keen on discovering new music.

Age 18 is the legal age to be considered an adult in the United States. At age 18, you can vote. You can serve on a jury. You can get married. You can buy guns. You’ve already been driving a car for 2 years. If you are accused of a crime, you’ll be tried as an adult. You can join the military, kill and be killed. You can buy cigarettes, which are far more harmful than alcohol.

But you can’t go to a nightclub, have a beer, and listen to music. You’re not “mature” enough. Think about the adsurdity of that: if someone is so immature that they can’t be trusted with a beer or a glass of wine, do we really want such immature people driving cars, buying guns, joining the military, serving on juries, and voting?

We should be consistent about the age that defines an adult. Make it the same for everything– voting, drinking, serving on juries and the military. Make it 18, 21, whatever– but be consistent.

I think 18 is the right age. It’s basically correlates with graduation from high school. Now you’re either going to college, joining the military, or entering the work force. Those seem like adult occupations to me.

And let’s not pretend that 18-to-21-year-olds don’t drink anyway. But the fact that it’s illegal causes problems, such as binge drinking. Please read these two articles:

Huffington Post Is it Time to Lower the Drinking Age?

Return the Drinking Age to 18 and Enforce it

The drinking age in most countries is 18. In many countries, you can drink beer and wine at 16. The United States stands virtually alone in having such a high drinking age. (See Wikipedia Legal Drinking Age) And the United States has the worst problems with youth binge drinking.

That correlates with my personal experience when I was 18-20. I would sip on a beer or drink while listening to music. There was none of the crazy, “let’s do shots and get wasted!” that is prevalent in American youth culture today. (The fanatics of MADD and other neo-prohibitionist groups don’t mention this.)

Lower the drinking age to 18. It should never have been changed in the first place. Fix the problem. Do it now.

I look forward to the day when I will be able to play my songs in a small venue filled with 18-to-20-year-olds, sipping on beers.

-Rob Roper August 1, 2016

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My Slow Methodical Ways (Poem)

My Slow Methodical Ways
by Rob Roper July 29, 2016

Like a soldier awaiting orders
He stood ten feet away
and answered my attempts at conversation
with four-word sentences.

It was clear he didn’t want to be friends.

He was impatient.
He wanted to go home.
My methodical concern for doing things right
drove him crazy.

Like all people of this type
he cut corners
he did things without verifying
which, of course, cost him
and resulted in taking longer to fix the problem
than it would have
if he had just left it to me
and my slow methodical ways.

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