The Personhood Project Episode 8: Sean Avery Medlin
For episode 8, poet, essayist, and rapper Sean Avery Medlin sits down with our host, Aaron Tyler Hand. They discuss the importance of expressing vulnerability in ones writing and how poetry doesn't have to be a place to only express pain. They also get into a conversation about pop culture and how much of it is just a rehashing of Black culture. This leads into conversations about James Baldwin and the anime Naruto. We even get to hear Sean sing a line or two when they get to the point of readings their poems, so make sure you listen to the end for that treat!
Sean Avery Medlin
I wanted my art to be a space to say the things I had not said or felt like I could not say.
There aren’t no happy feelings in the air,
so lately I’ve been searching for happiness
through my prayer.
Holy Father, can you hear me
when I’m down on my knees, I need
a bridge over troubled waters, save me
I’m just a lost soul, trying to find
his way back home.
But it’s all good, tell me when the sun
gonna shine on this nothing
ass mutha fuckin life of mine.
Grandma it’s been 20 years since
I’ve seen your face, do me a favor,
ask God if I’m included in his grace
cuz I’m feeling abandoned like
the last man standing
so much poverty and pain,
this ain't the way I planned it.
All I wanted was to make
a little money and quit,
take care of people and grow
old with grandchildren and shit.
I’m still happy even if my cases
don’t get dropped, and remain
sane even if never make it
to the top
My Mother as “Danny Trejo”
The roots of a Mexican, deep in the Aztec land
The blood that shed just to get to the promise land
Strong and brave with the head held high
Eyes of wisdom that never lie
Bond by unity and united she stand
Open in heart as she gave her hand
the mighty four letter word
sword tips drip blood. Fear,
gun barrels smoke bullets. Fear,
fist punches crush bones. Fear,
for a four letter word
fear invokes fear
the world turns from different letters.
Beauty is found when flowers are places in the barrels of guns
When handshakes are born from fists When plowshares are forged from swords
Four letters very different,
If I Lose
dedicated to my family and supporters
If I lose my life, do not mourn my life or demise
cheer that I had the chance to record life through
my eyes, I hope I brought more smiles than frowns
I hope I uplifted all the lost souls who were down
If I lose my freedom forever, condemned to captivity
I hope regardless where I reside I still promote
positivity, I hope my name is respected as a king
my blood is royalty, I hope my friends and loved ones
don’t omit me and regularly exercise their loyalties, if
I lose my mind, search for the source of which I became
insane, did reality heap too many burdens on my shoulders,
did I finally break from the strain, if I lose my ambition,
and passion, that’s the hardest thing to swallow, my heart’s
always been too strong to give up on tomorrow, if I
lose you I must carry on, I have lost before though my
heart will not allow me to express it, my heart will
forever mourn a beautiful mind in captivity.
Sean Avery Medlin uses their poem Iggy & Carti (prelude)to reflect on a previous relationship and some of the anguish that the relationship caused them. Sean compares their relationship to the famous couple of Iggy Azalea and Playboi Carti. This comparison allows Sean to comment on what it was like for them to be Black while dating a white woman. Think back to a past relationship that caused you pain, and then write a poem that shares with the reader about troubles you had in the relationship as well as the lessons you learned afterwards. If you can, try to compare your relationship to a celebrity couple.
Hidden Cloud Remixed is what is called a prose poem. That means that the poem takes the shape of standard paragraphs instead of traditional poetic lines. This prose poem is used as a way to reveal what a utopian society would look like to Sean. It is a place without the past horrors of slavery and a place that has nothing but the best music and most beautiful scenery. If you could imagine the most perfect place in the world, what would it look like? Write a prose poem about this utopia and be sure to include the sights and sounds as well as the people who would be there with you.
While at first glance, Sean’s poem How To Make Trap Music might come across as a single How-To list, a closer examination shows all the ways that they masterfully work in cultural commentary. This commentary speaks to many things, including racial segregation, white privilege, the criminal justice reform, classism, and so many other topics important to Sean. Write a How-To poem about a topic that you know a lot about. In the steps of the How-To poem try to work in social commentary about topics that are important to you.