“Hubris,” Spoken Word by Ray Van Horn, Jr.

I shot my first spoken word video for a piece I wrote titled “Hubris.” I felt a piece of myself yearning to come out and I treated the entire session like I would’ve at open mike events I performed at years ago. Here is the transcript of the poetry piece, “Hubris.”


By Ray Van Horn, Jr.

In my vanity, with or without imbibing,

I often think kicking open black doors

held sentry by interwoven golden scimitars, unguarded

leads to a bounty of greener pastures

a treasure laid and left by the divine

if one simply has the wherewithal to risk the unavoidable gashes

and the potential for beguiling catastrophe

sometimes the pursuit of happiness

is nothing more than a fool’s errand

no matter an accompanying pocketful of citrine

for luck and love

or a fistful of amethyst for reciprocal defense

a national lottery ticket often has better odds at a payoff

in the quest for mortal satisfaction

I can’t help but wonder sometimes

if ancestors laugh or shake their heads dismissively

when they catch you pleasuring yourself from the other side

or if they cheer you on when it comes with a partner

and it makes me laugh only to myself

thinking they invisibly face palm their invisible former selves

watching their descendants stumble, fall and choke as must do

evolution oblivion catcalled by celestial perverts

a dangling tiger’s eye between the breast

trumps a washout kind of day

whether you dwell in a shanty or amongst porcelain walls

even when you’re soft-spoken and complacent beneath the sun

yet you morph into a voluminous warrior of words

in literary combat against the espresso machine at an open mike

fueled, not by caffeine

but by ego and desperation

and you give louder voice, even still,

against defiance, counterpoint, and ennui

projected at you by people you love

or once loved

or think you once loved

rebellion equates rejection

equates burden equates self-defeat

you can’t help the obdurate

you can’t hold onto obsidian for longer than bare minimum

not everyone values the lapis lazuli

much less sees the excavating path to the latter’s

reviving ultramarine

the final folly of those who care too much

is believing they make a tangible difference

realness is both soft and hard to the touch

yet true comfort lies inside

a steeping cup of introspection and a burning incense of empathy

the lover of life held in check

by too much crippling static inside air

which rages against the suffocation

as it would at pollution and apathy

the madness comes from banging missed advice against the surrounding plaster

from those who would devalue effort and persistence

and those who would cheat themselves short

and you even shorter

sometimes there’s just no helping others

who don’t want the help

nor the sycophantic inspiration shared between old and young

a passing of life data often mistaken for narcissism

it’s like a rotary phone ringing to dead air

or an unclaimed pass to the fast track

tears of joy can still cloud

climaxes can still hurt as much as they release

desire means we never stop living

mining our paths towards our own blue heaven

in completely the wrong direction…

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