Every Poem by Micah Bournes
Micah Bournes is a spoken word poet turned social justice rapper. His lyricism combined with his distinct rhythm and cadence create poetry pleasing to the ear. Every Poem is one of his earlier spoken word pieces describing a conversation he had with a fellow poet.
Lyrical Substitution: Love and God
The primary device in this piece is lyrical substitution. Bournes presents his friend’s dialogue poetically,
“I’m convinced that every poem, and every song and every rhyme from the beginning of time until the apocalypse will be and has been about the same tiny word with gargantuan significance. Love.”
His friend goes on to expound upon this idea, that every piece of art is somehow connected to love. He does not conclude that every song is a love song nor that every poem is a love poem, but “rather its presence or absence in each artist’s life influences every word they write.”
The lyrical substitution occurs in Bournes’ response to his friend:
“‘My’ I said, ‘that’s quite a view, and if it be true, I conclude something huge. According to my theology, 1 John 4:8 states God is Love.”
He then proceeds to repeat the poem, word for word, replacing every instance of the word “love” with “God”. This effectively turns the poem on its head, conveying the message that every piece of art is really about something bigger than love — God.
Surprisingly, every single line involving love, when replaced with God, makes perfect sense.
Musical Highlight: Reverse
While the lyrics have the center stage in any poem, deeper listening reveals the music playing a crucial role in the message of the piece. When the lyrical substitution occurs, and the message of the poem is flipped, the music changes. It contains the eerie sounds of a sound being played backward. Because that’s exactly what is happening.
In the same way that Bournes takes his friend’s argument and reverses it, word for word, replacing “love” with “God”, the music that was behind his friend’s argument is now being played in reverse. This emphasizes the deconstruction and reversal of the poem.
“…others tried It/Him, got disappointed by It/Him, only to convince themselves that It’s/He’s not real. Yet no matter how bitter they feel towards Love/God, it’s impossible to ignore Love/God.”
The truth of this line is interesting. Those who have been disappointed by love or God sometimes turn to hatred toward love or God. Hatred, however, does not equate to disbelief. To hate something, you must believe it exists, therefore “it’s impossible to ignore love/God”
“And so this war between Loveless/Godless poets and those who believe rages through the ages on book pages, stages, radio waves, and screens. Inexhaustibly pushing their perspectives on what/who Love/God is or isn’t, But in the end, Love/God doesn’t need a defense, It/He is who It/He is. Amen.”
This is a claim of objective truth. Whether or not someone believes in love or God makes no difference to the reality or existence of love or God. Quite a bold statement in today’s culture of “finding your truth” and “you do you”.
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