Thursday, December 5, 2013

Ash On the Ground: Lighting Fires

It started with a poem:


And as these things happen, it eventually turned into a song. A song based on the idea of internal fire. A song that ended up being about pain I didn't know.

I have been very fortunate in my life and have always found myself surrounded by the best sorts of people--supportive, caring, generous and kind people. Thus, the story arc of "Ash On the Ground" breaks the "write what you know" rule--I honestly don't have any firsthand experience with the situations presented in this song.

At least in terms of plot points I don't have any firsthand experience with the situations presented in this song.

But for me, it was never really about all of the terrible things that happen to the speaker, the abusive relationships or the suffering. It was a song of rebellion, a battle cry, a declaration of...self-ness. It was about courage, inner strength and self-validation. It was about claiming your place in the universe. It was about facing adversity. It was about overcoming adversity.

I don't know what it's like to be hurt in the exact ways I wrote about and I hope that doesn't make me sound duplicitous or disparaging, but I do know what it's like to realize your own worth. If you have ever been hurt in the ways I describe, there is very little I can say that will make things any better (real life is more complicated and painful than song), but I hope that the fire within you burns bright.





Ash on the Ground
By Rachel Oto

Father’s wonderful
Like a bayonet
Love with every strike of his steel hand
Baby don’t cry
Baby don’t cry
You’ll be alright
You’ll be alright
He says
Girl, this world’s a gun pointed at your head
Every bone I break is so you’ll make it
So you’ll be strong
So you’ll be strong
Baby I’m strong
Baby I’m stronger
And I’ll show you tonight
I know

He’s the blaze, the bang, the bite
He’s the flame, the fiercest fight
He’s the burn to keep me down
And I am just ash on the ground

Tommy’s beautiful
Like the jaws of death
Ring on every finger that has graced my head
Baby don’t cry
Baby don’t cry
I say
You’ll be alright
You’ll be alright
Nothing like the bruises blooming on my flesh
Bouquet of his love will be all I get
Nothing is wrong
Nothing is wrong
He says
Baby I’m strong
Baby I’m stronger
And you’re too weak to mind
I know

He’s the blaze, the bang, the bite
He’s the flame, the fiercest fight
He’s the burn to keep me down
And I am just ash on the ground

This can’t be it
This can’t be it
I’m more than this

Got to go on
I got to go on
Got to be strong
I got to be strong
Got to move on
I got to move on
Baby I’m strong
Baby I’m stronger

I’m the blaze, the bang, the bite
I’m the flame, the fiercest fight
I’m the fire you can’t put out
You are just—you are dust

I’m the blaze, the bang, the bite
I’m the flame, the fiercest fight
I’m the fire you can’t put out
You are just
You are dust
You are just

Ash on the ground

Be bold.

R

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