Perpendicular to the page
Pressing granite powder
Into predetermined phrases
By the palm holding it.
All stories, philosophies, and historical practices are scribed
With this is blunt, unforgiving
No paper can ask forgiveness,
No scribble can overwrite what is said.
Queens, kings, dukes, duchesses,
Haughty, beautiful beings,
Captivated by the glory of themselves.
Pretentious vanity and privilege, with no limits,
Their pride held close,
With torturous deception and heartless mandates,
pushed masses of people into submission.
For a pot of purple paint,
And velvet robes of victory.
Pointless Pencils like to write about victory.
It was a constant cycle
Of colonizers tormenting the colonized,
prizing the precious metals
taken to the ports of Portugal,
processed into paper swords
to control the people
in the places claimed.
Pointless Pencils wrote, leaving out the specifics.
But when the first caveman learned to light a fire,
And sparks illuminated the Holy Roman Empire,
“The New World has gold, otherwise so rare,”
Many calculations, turned to E=mc²,
Pointless Pencils recorded indifferently.
Fact is simply a date on a timeline.
Pointless Pencils like to write quickly,
Brushing over injustice and associated misery,
Line after line,
Until the lead breaks.
A moment in time.
When the victors stop writing our history for us.
Persistent, passionate, and periodically paranoid people,
Are told we too can write.
But how can centuries of history,
Recorded ever so blatantly,
Be captured in a 5-page position paper,
Or a meaningful source analysis,
Or an overarching thesis statement,
Trying to capture the human condition
When in truth,
People live and lie as pointlessly as the pencil that wrote the past
And is writing the future.
Yet we still search relentlessly,
For an imaginary eraser.
But if we sharpen the Pointless Pencils,
and turn the page,
History will be rewritten,
As if our beloved sun
Has started to age.
And Pointless Pencil will be pointless no more.
This spoken word piece is attempting to illustrate how history has always been written, focusing on the winners and the prosperity of some, and neglecting the torture that others had to undergo. I had the quote “History is written by the victors” by Winston Churchill in my head the entire time I was writing.
In general, all historical records are written, rather than oral, as it is more reliable and easier to pass down. The idea of the pencil came from that, as everything is written with this simple tool. It is described as pointless because, if it is unable to properly record the thoughts and processes of everyone, then there is no point of writing stories at all. The play of these two words forms a cohesive alliteration, allowing me to have rhyme and rhythm while using the idea to weave the entire piece together.
I referred to the “Pointless Pencil”, as a separate being that we could not control until “the lead broke”, symbolizing that lies can only work for so long, until truth breaks the ice, taking a well-deserved breath. In each situation that I presented, I had a simple sentence showing how the pencil would react, such as, “Pointless Pencil likes to write about victory.” I tried to characterize Pointless Pencil, as a tool that was not being used properly, being influenced by the “victors”, or those who took what they desired from others.
The eraser is representative of those attempting to remove their wrong-doings; however, one cannot just undo the effects of historical practices, and the eraser is, therefore, an invalid solution.
Turning the page, and sharpening the pencil is supposed to say that our future should be recorded with more accuracy than there is currently. Rehabilitation and reintegration is always an open door, waiting for people to step in, and initiate change.
The idea of the sun aging is representative of human’s relying on a time limit as motivation. If history is written as if the world is about to end, then it will be written gracefully, wholly, and fervently, like it should be written. At that point, people no longer have control over their fate, and therefore, will spend their time recording their past with utmost precision. The pencil used is no longer pointless because its job is purposeful. This idea is seen in single lives as well – when an individual is given a set time to live, usually due to disease, their first reaction will be to bring closure before they pass away. In the same way, the records of history should follow the phrase, “Live as if you will die tomorrow,” attempting to capture everything, rather than what sounds pleasing.
Once these things are implemented, our history books will truly be representative of our progression as a species, while embracing our lackings as well.