All posts by ConArtistEConStancE

Not Everyone Is Good Like That – ConArtistE w/ Bassist Wade Craver

Hopefully we all have someone in our lives that supports and loves us unconditionally. In my case, it’s my long time best friend, husband and bassist, Wade Craver.  We first met when we were 12 years old and the first thing that I noticed about him was the fact that he went completely out of his way to ride his bike just so that he could see me at my bus stop every morning and say ‘hi’ as he rode his bike to school. At first, I thought that he lived right down the rode or something! Later, I discovered that he took an alternate route that added an extra 3 miles onto his bike ride to school!  Honestly, if you want to impress a girl, do that for an entire school year!

Epic, Old Photo of Us:

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As most of you may or may not know, we have been happily married for 22 years now. I wrote this poem for him in my first book, ‘Coyote’s Digest’ and years later, I have adapted it to a Spoken Word piece.  The bass line in this track is him and then I later recorded my voice track over it. It’s a nice combination of our talents and I’m happy to share with you all! Thanks for checking it out. . .

 

Setting The Standard

Poem From Book: Coyote’s Digest

by ConStancE MaE:

I just want to set an example
Let her know what it’s like
For real
She’s so young right now
But I can see her all grown up
Already
She’s almost as big as me
She’s not even “mini-me” anymore!
So, I defended myself
With everyone watching
He deserved it!
No one was mad at me but him
I told her to stay away from him
When we were alone outside
She asked, “Who? The one you hit?”
I said, “Yeah.”
What else did this random, old, drunk fool
Expect me to do?
Let my kid watch me be harassed?
I don’t think so!
I might’ve been able to keep
The peace if she wasn’t there
Watching me
I grew up with people like this
They act like I haven’t been through this
A million times before
But now, I have an example to set
I don’t care who you are
I’m done being nice
So, she’ll never be
As sweet as me
I guarantee it!

Dog With Horns – “Throughout my life, I’ve had far and few but nonetheless significant moments of knowing my worth”

Now we’re getting involved in a frightening memory that I had as a child.  This was when I first realized that something bad could happen at any moment.  Therefore, it’s best to make every moment count!

Dog With Horns

We came across the fenced in beast midday and far
away from my aunt’s home. But when you’re three, far
away can mean a few blocks, or in this case, acres.
There was only one paved road back to the house with
a dangerous storm drain at the end of it that we
carefully crossed to get here. It covered the entire
width of the pavement with surprisingly wide spaces
that I have yet to see since I was three for flood water to
flow down. The rest of the neighborhood was a maze
of dirt roads and sectioned land.

And I was surprised to have them both still by my side.
Normally, when I’m with my older sister and any other
cousin her age that we happen to be visiting, I’m sure to
be left far behind somewhere screaming and crying
alone. It was the average sick joke that was played
upon me whenever possible. So, I did my best to keep
up and be cool like the ‘big kids’ that I called family
although I hardly understood the difference between
friends and family at that age because everyone seemed
to treat me the same, like a tag along, like a nuisance.
And I was becoming wretched with anxiety as the day
wore on, fearing the worst was about to happen because
I’ve always considered myself to be on alert for such
things ever since I can remember. . .

The other girls noticed him first. I say ‘him’
because he didn’t look nice. Only girl animals look
nice. And I’ve never seen anything like it before. It
was a dog with horns! My sister and cousin could’ve
been a couple of dumb boys right now because they
were both behaving badly. I always know when
someone is being wrong. It’s like a curious intuition of mine.

In that age ‘boys’ meant bad and ‘girls’ meant
nice and pretty. Doesn’t mean I was either or. I was
different and I knew it. Or else I would’ve needed to
antagonize this beast like them. Ganging up on
something they didn’t understand who happens to be
fenced in but not for long. . .

The only thrill I ever had as a young girl or else
the only time that I felt like a special person was when
my oldest boy cousin would pick me up in front of
those two girls and dance with me. Whenever I was in
the hallway after the door was shut in my face and the
giggles would go on inside without me, I stepped into
another world, a grown up world to me with no toys but
weights for muscle, music for motivation and posters
that inspired. And they’d always show up the second I
had a smile on my face, standing in the doorway of this
grown up world watching me laugh and dance with
someone who probably hardly noticed them. That’s
when they’d wonder what’s so special about me.

Throughout my life, I’ve had far and few but
nonetheless significant moments of knowing my worth.
Because sometimes, people like him would notice the
real me and I will never forget the recognition of this
timeless existence.

But since those moments don’t last, most are
spent like this. I watched the dog with horns butt at the
sticks that those two girls were poking through his
fence and I saw him get really mad. He backed up and
they laughed, believing they had scared him into retreat
but I knew better. I know what it’s like to be backed up
like him. I knew what he was about to do.

Revenge is something that I wish I had to
comfort me everyday. But not necessarily the kind that
I have in mind because it can literally make people see
too much that they’d rather deny and I honestly don’t
want anyone to suffer. I only want to be true to myself.
And the truth is, I’ll take a punch in the face and
apologize if I ever punch yours. Please, don’t ever cry
in front of me because of me, it breaks my heart. I
never meant to hurt you, honest. . .

The beast runs hard and leaps with good effort
over the fence to punch back. We all ran for our lives.
Of course, the girls were long and far ahead of me,
running faster and bigger than me and I was falling
miserably behind. My chubby, baby built body was in
full swing and full tears as the hooves of beast’s feet
sounded closer to my rear. And what I saw when I
looked behind me for a quick and terrified second was
the head of a dog with his horns pointed right at me,
gaining speed. I put my hand behind me so that his
horn touched into the palm of it instead of my delicate
backside. The storm drain was my only way home and
it was the same direction in which the girls ran when
leaving me behind to deal with their mess.

In that moment, I didn’t know what would
happen to me. I still don’t. I always think that I’m
about to be mauled in some vicious attack, whether
emotional or physical. The only thing that keeps me
safe is trying.

Trying to understand, forget, outlast, out
run, never to be outdone, submit, commit, surpass,
overcome, rejoice, remember and never surrender!
Because even when I’m about to go down, my timeless  existence holds strong and lifts me back onto my solid, three year old feet.

I’m forced across the storm drain by the pressure
of the beast’s horn in the palm of my hand. My feet slip
and slide all over the wide spaces but never get stuck.
In fact, the seemingly wide spaces were just big enough
to save me because when I made it across, the pressure
on my hand stopped.

To me, the most believable character of any
story is the creator because in order to tell a good story,
one must believe for a short while and I believe to have
never seen such a creature as I had on that day and
time. The girls stopped running when I was safely
across the drain but still scared and terribly mad for
being left alone, again. They came back for me and it
was my sister who picked me up, just like a big sis
should and carried my crying, exhausted body home.
When I looked over her shoulder, I could see the beast
tugging madly at his front foot that was stuck in the
cracks of the drain and I can remember thinking that his
feet looked nothing like a dog’s.

Continued. . . “Everything I do embarrasses me to no end. That’s where the story begins:”

This is the continuation of what I aspire to be.  It is at this time that I begin to realize what success really means and that is: being better (in a spiritual way), knowing more (in a real way) and essentially outliving your competition (the only way).

I couldn’t wait to get started again. I wouldn’t sit
long enough to let it sink in about what a failure I’ve
become. I think that if I move fast enough, I’ll never
really know. . .
I wish that I had a proper target to aim for and wouldn’t
it be a mess if I shot something that moved? I’m not
trying to kill. I’m just trying to improve my vision, my
aim combined with my intense restrain of reason. I’m
beginning with nothing but time blended with minor
skills. It’s the wad of cash in my pocket all bunched
together in a mixed and mangled mess with bits of
change and a receipt stuck in the middle. I don’t know
how much is there. Enough to reach in and buy back
some guts right now, spending it on a ticket for another
bet that I’m sure I won’t win. It’s all about going too
far. . . But I’m too far gone to turn back now,
burrowing into the depths of desperation and hysteria to
find one last dime, another hour so I can continue with
my brigade, my mission, my curse to temporarily
satisfy my needs. Now, it’s like an addiction. I used to
think that this is what I’ve always wanted to be. It
never occurred to me that I’d have to be it without the
glory, without the gain. I’ve minored in life’s tragedy
with a major in self remorse. Everything I do
embarrasses me to no end.
That’s where the story begins:

Ambition – “So, I swim to the surface with Weights on my neck Dragging me down”

This one appears to be a struggle between the simple life and the extraordinary life. Clearly, I’ve never wanted anything to be simple and so, I’ve always resisted this notion.  This, by the way, happens to push away anyone who tries to convince you otherwise. Creativity takes a lot of time and those who live simply will never understand this. They will want you to give up on your dreams and be just like them because they know for a fact that dreams don’t come true. However, if you live long enough, you will see that you have moved on and that you are always moving to a better place!

I wonder if I’ll ever do anything but this
I’m no better than this
I stand around in a wasteful world
Looking down at its lack of
Ambition
While it laughs at mine
And it all seems okay, sometimes
In the depths of this
Wasteland
And I don’t have time to figure out why
It’s the same – everyday
It’s paycheck to paycheck
But I need more. . .
So, I swim to the surface with
Weights on my neck
Dragging me down
And I can’t tell if I’m going any higher
Or merely prolonging my decent
I wonder if anyone makes it out!
Maybe they all know
Something I don’t
While they all have fun down there
At the bottom of this mess
Drowned by their lack of success
Are they all waiting for me?
Watching me struggle in vain?
Sometimes I think
They are dragging me down
With their vibrant personalities
Beauty and pride
They make it look easy
Being a nobody
As if anyone is better than this!
And they are the reason that I tolerate this
Depth at all
They make me laugh
And throw lots of parties
At the bottom of this mess
Sending invitations
Attached to each one – is another weight
That I graciously accept because
I have to pretend that
I’m okay down here when
I haven’t stopped struggling yet!
I work too hard to get to the bottom last
Even if that’s my destination
I think I’ll die  before I get there
Don’t expect me to settle
Unless I’ve become a corpse
Falling lifelessly
Down. . . down. . . down. . .

Water & Fire – “I hang out underwater all the time – I can swim to the ocean floor”

Writings About Water/Fire

When I dream about the elements, I try to pay attention. There’s a reason it permeates your subconscious and you should always listen to her:

I’ve never been afraid of water
Even when I pushed my limits
By going too long without air
Until my chest experienced
Brief pain and panic
I always returned – unaffected
In my dreams
I hang out underwater all the time
I can swim to the ocean floor
No person can follow me
Sometimes I find one frolicking on the surface
And I save them from the panic
I lift them and take them to shore
Last night, however,
I found myself choking on some waves
What does that mean?
-ConStancE MaE

Finding comfort in your skills is never an easy thing.  All creativity chokes us up a little. Also, help those who just dive in. It didn’t come easy for you either! There’s room for everyone. You’re not the only one who fills this space.

______________________________________

This one is obvious. No matter what, don’t let anything stop you from doing what you need to do.  Let it burn if it tries. You will rise from the ashes!

My dream last night
Shifted from water to fire
Little patches of fire
I was packed and ready to
Leave my home
But I was forced to remain
Little patches of fire
Threatened
To burn it down
I’d put one out
Get ready to go and another
Would come about
And laugh in my face
They would go away
But after a while
I left
Anyway
-ConStancE MaE

What does – “ConArtistE” mean?

The words “Con” and “ArtistE” (pronounced Arteest), were combined to create my pseudonym, “ConArtistE“.  I did this because Con is the beginning part of my name, Constance and is defined in the modern dictionary as “a deceiver, an artist, a CON artist”. ConArtistEAlso, the modern definition of ArtistE is “A public performer”.

So, my “Con” is treating my Spoken Word as a performance art. When really, it’s just me memorizing my writings to record and speak with or without music and the result is ConArtistE!

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However, after finding much older definitions in dictionaries from the late 1800’s to early 1920’s, I can tell you that a “Con” is not “a deceiver”, as modern day definitions often suggest. Instead, (to my absolute delight) it is “To make one’s self mastery of; to fix in the mind, or commit to memory.”  In that case, that is exactly what I do! I write and memorize my own words and then expertly recite them to record or perform at anytime. That is my talent. Memorization. My art is the delivery. This is what I call Spoken Word.

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The next word that I use, ArtistE, is also defined differently in antique dictionaries. It is, “An expert in an art other than the fine arts.  To be peculiarly dextrous and tasteful in this art”. Wow! So, you can say that I am exceptionally good at memorizing and speaking words. Although, not a fine art, it is, an art, nonetheless.

If you didn’t know this about me, now you do. it is the most noticeable part of my performance, that is, most people can’t believe that I memorize my words so thoroughly and abundantly.

But it didn’t stop there! I recently took on a big task and nearly memorized The Declaration of Independence. (I say “nearly” because I purposely left out 472 words in order to update it). I call this new version, “Human Events” and it is of my own design. I did this because I found some truth in this document and realized that it was my right and my duty to ConArtistE it. Audio Coming Soon. . .

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Coyote – Spoken Word w/ Bass Guitar

Bass Music By: Wade Craver @ NorCal BASSIX.  Recorded by ConArtistE Publications.

“Coyote”

I call this my “theme” (song) because this was the first thing that I ever wrote with the intention of delivering it in this Spoken Word Style.  That is to say, it was not intended to remain on the page. I was inspired by a spoken word artist who participated in a song on a collaboration album.  The beginning was a rough guitar sound and a driving rhythm that never changed.  The words, alone, captured my attention and I thought that the delivery was incredible.

Therefore, I mimicked this style. I wanted to be bold and uninhibited.  I wanted a consistent drive to the music to support the delivery of my words.

Also, I wanted to perform it with just Bass and so I asked Wade Craver to provide this.  The result was exactly what I was going for.  What you are listening to is an old recording.  But still, one of my favorites! I think that BASS has always played a major role in the rhythm of my poetry and so it is my pleasure to present this piece of work featuring and my main bassist, Wade Craver!

BassPoet

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