Tupac Shakur’s lyrics often spoke about death, a reoccurring theme in bipolar writers, death finds a home with Shakur as he writes:
WHEN YOUR HEART TURNS COLD
The walls, the walls that once were down
Now stand firm and tall, safe from hate love pain joy
Until you feel nothing at all…. Loneliness, becomes your routine friend
Death death death seems like tranquility
Sleeping is never pleasant.
Shakur speaks of an apathetic state where the extreme states “hate love pain joy” subside and he falls, once again, into a lonely state where he repeats the word death three times as it continually pumps through his brain. Shakur describes a depressed state where apathy takes hold and heightened emotions are void. The theme of death resonates with Bukowski who wrote:
I don’t force the hand to write the lie for the sake of creating another person. Death batters at my mind like a wild bat enclosed in my skull.” (Portions 28)
Bukowski’s descriptive image of a bat caught in his skull as described as “batters” provides the image of something fluttering and pounding at his head so he turns to writing or a release. The plethora of works by all the artists point to a correlation between proliferation and states of mind. Bipolar minds continually need to express thought where writing is not necessarily a choice but something they have to do cause they live in a mind that demands it.
The flow and juxtaposing of words sheds light on the thoughts that run through Shakur’s mind and how he runs through them onto the page:
SO MANY TEARS
And though my soul was deleted, I couldn’t see it
I had my mind full of demons trying to break free
They planted seeds and they hatched, sparkin’ the flame
Inside my brain like a match.
Shakur speaks of demons in his brain and uses the metaphor of a match to describe the feeling inside his brain as it sparks. The vivid image and selective language unleashes a mind with piercing insight and honest articulation which distinguished him from his peers and gives him a place among those of his mind. Shakur had the talent to rap in quick beats that modeled the beats of his brain. Music provided a rhyme for Shakur to express himself though the bursts of thoughts that contained vivid imagery and keen insight. Not all bipolar writers have the gift of song, but still they managed to express themselves with their words:
EARTH! MY LIKENESS BY WALT WHITMAN
…there is something fierce and terrible in me, eligible to burst forth,
I dare not tell it in words–not even in these songs
Hip hop dancer image available from Shutterstock.