Barbarians at the Gate

Yesterday, Sunday January 11, 2009 the Warren Tribune featured this Letter to the Editor: Warren Tribune Letter to the Editor

I could really relate as these mobile minstrels contributed to the deterioration of the Warren neighborhood I moved from 15 years ago. This and other issues of the deterioration of my old neighborhood were never addressed no matter how many times myself and others in my S. E. area talked to councilmen, police and the mayor. I am sad to see after all these years things haven’t changed.

Many of the loud troubadours weren’t just driving through our neighborhood but were neighbors. When these kids parents are the type of  guys who drive through your neighborhood with no exhausts on their Jeeps throwing empty beer cans out their windows the odds are they don’t care that their sons are blasting the neighborhood with music.

One day as I was drying my car at the car wash my ear drums were being molested by a kid blaring music as he waxed his SUV. I asked him why he needed to play music that loud. His answer was, “Personal freedom, liberty.” Silly me I had learned growing up that the liberty our forefathers fought for involved being able to own your own land, elect your own representatives,  and to work to your best ability for the betterment of yourself, your family and your country.

Today far too many folks think liberty means being able to smoke in an emergency room, not wear a  seat belt and own a bazooka.

Here is a poem I wrote a dozen years ago about loud car stereos:

Dream Assassin/Barbarian at the Gate

Part One:  Mobile D.J.

Chevy makes the Corvette

a class of cars known as two seaters

but so’s his Chevette,

when the rear is full of woofers and tweeters.

He cruises in his $300 car

its $4000 system makes him a star.

His stereo could have no more power

if he had a 90 foot acoustic tower.

His parents have no thoughts

to why he needs 80,000 watts.

With concert hall amplifiers

he’s king of the town criers.

Traveling, rolling musician,

tunes man for the land.

A vehicular troubadour

in a red two-door.

Armed with gansta rap

wearing a backwards ball cap.

The stereo’s going for bust,

shaking out the car’s rust.

The bass is blaming

this idiot’s jamming.

Bassing it, making sure it rocks

he’s ready to cruise in his mobile boom box.

Off into the night…

the Chevette takes flight.

Part Two:  My Street Is Not Your Hood

There I was sleeping like a log,

only to be interrupted by Snoop Doggy Dog

or maybe it was Tupac Shakur

Hard to tell when you’re waking from a stir.

This I heard booming from a tape,

“arrested me for statutory rape,

didn’t know the bitch was ten

now I’m in the pen.

They call me Mr. Big

“cause I capped a pig.”

Neighbors woken from their doze,

yelled from their windows

at this unwanted prose.

He survived their gauntlet

and escaped a police dragnet.

In his wake, dogs howled, children cried,

he’d done his work, he was satisfied.

Part Three:  Retirement

His money was all spent on rap CDs

he’d not saved any for emergencies.

A broken transmission

has put him out of commission.

His system no longer rocks

now that it’s up on blocks.

The populace sighs in relief

to the end of the dream thief.

Now peacefully in our beds we lay

without being woken by Dr. Dre.

We no longer have to fear

this mobile Paul Revere

and everything now is hunky dory

until a new minstrel claims his territory.

Inner City Blues

What’s Going On

The Bible tells us to love our neighbors, and also to love our enemies; probably because they are generally the same people.

G.K. Chesterton



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2 responses to “Barbarians at the Gate

  1. I like the poem. And “Inner City Blues” is one of my absolute favorite songs! (Especially the rendering by Etta James.)

  2. elecpencil

    Thanks Tyler. Etta James can make any ones song hers!

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