Poem: What About Me?

 

by Andrew Holland. Originally published in the Oct. 2019 edition of Live Ideas. Find it here.

Hello there, old friend

It’s been too long

Oh, you don’t know me? Never met me?

Well, allow me to introduce myself

My name is Wallace Sterling

But you can call me “w.s.” for short

You may not know it, but I’ve been by your side everywhere you’ve gone

Into every building you walked

I’ve overheard every conversation you’ve ever had with any sort of person

I’ve been around for as long as you’ve been alive

Even before that

I’ve witnessed some of the most important historical events

Seen the bloodiest battles

Marveled at new technologies

And watched people fight for their voices to be heard in society

I jotted down notes at many of these events

My journal entries are read about in schools across the country

Despite my notoriety

Some people have the nerve to try to silence me

My eyewitness accounts have stirred up many conversations

About whether I’m really telling the truth

Or just making up tall tales

Yet, most tend to agree my findings are legitimate

Regardless of anyone who dares to question my logic

Almost every time this debate has happened

Pathos has trumped logos

And you may not know it

But people have tried to get you to believe that argument since you were very young

Teachers, parents…

Damn near anyone older than you

Stating that what I’ve written is the stone-cold truth

Before going on their merry way

What people fail to realize, though

Is that my words are more powerful than they think

I’m somewhat of a sorcerer of scripture

Casting spells, hypnotizing men, women & children

My literary voice has the power

To take a rationally thinking human

And transform them into a wild beast

Like a bear, swatting at honeybees

Or chasing after a helpless deer

My words have the strength to silence. Any. Doubters.

And whether you know it or not

My teachings are now world-famous

Oh, it’s not like I’ll go on book tours, giving speeches, showing up at meet-and-greets

No, no, dear me… I’m much too shy

Luckily, my notes convey what I have to say, with such clarity

That some of the most powerful world leaders in history

Have sworn by them, taught them to thousands, even millions of people

While I must confess my words have done much more harm than good

I think it’s cute that I have so many loyal fans

Willing to do anything to shout down the Critics

My journals have practically been bestsellers for decades, even centuries

And they still continue to be popular today

Through books, CDs, podcasts, YouTube videos, websites

Even the evening news if you know where to look

I have mentioned a few times my distaste for Criticism

Lately, it’s becoming stronger than ever

People saying that my words will only cause more divisiveness and hatred

Fools! I’ll make sure they eat their words

I’ll make sure that my believers – I mean, fans – shut the Critics up

Even if it takes fire, bullets, and bloodshed to keep them at bay

Why, what I’ve written about is enough to make the Most Powerful Man on Earth sing his praises for

me!

He only THINKS he’s the most powerful!

In reality, he’s just part of my puppet show

That I write, produce, and direct

Everybody who’s read my books

Tell me they’ve changed their lives

Now, my believers are never afraid to stand up for me

When the Critics tell me what I’m doing is wrong

They always ask, “What about Wallace? His opinion matters, too!”

Yes…What…About…Me?

My teachings are everywhere

They’re being talked about on the news

Every morning, noon, and night!

I can’t tell you how happy I feel when one of my fans makes the news

Ooh, I shiver with excitement just thinking about it!

Can you imagine? Someone willing to raise Hell and spill buckets of blood…

Just to prove their undying loyalty to you?

I think it’s quite an honor!

You might be thinking, “Wallace, your words can’t possibly reach THAT many people, can they?” (1)

I say, just look around you

There are more and more people across this land

Trying to make this country better

By going out to spread my teachings

Every single day

They’re doing it while walking, running

Equality-shunning

Jumping, flying

GeNoCiDe-DeNyInG

Skyping, typing

PUNch-BOwL-SPIkING

Hiking, biking

THIRD-REICHING

EVIDENCE-HIDING

STEREOTYPING

RACIAL PROFILING-!

You know…pretty much anything I say is the RIGHT thing…Å

So, now that I’ve told you a little bit about myself, what do you think?

Want to take a look into my books?

Want to preach the message of world-famous Wallace Sterling?

C’mon, just do it

You know you want to…

Oh, and if I were you

I wouldn’t say anything bad about these books

I worked really hard on them

I wouldn’t want my nice, caring fans to think that you’re a Critic

You don’t want my FANS to come out and change your mind

…would you?

 

(1) The section of the poem from “Skyping, typing…RIGHT thing” is interpolated from two different rap battles, “Rone vs. Caustic (2010)”, released in 2010 by American battle rap league Grind Time Now, and “Rone vs. Caustic (Title Match)”, released in 2016 by Canadian battle rap league King of the Dot. Both battles were written by Adam Ferrone, aka Rone, and Daniel Stefani, aka Caustic.

 

Image Credit: “Monochrome Photo of Empty Hallway” by Marc Antonio Victorino. Licensed under CC BY 3.0.