The DIOP Circle V.37

March 29th, 2020


Aaron St. Louis

Every Sunday, we publish a story from a member of the DIOP community. Because each and every one of you is on a journey and we're right there with you.

This week, it's you, me and Aaron St. Louis. Our 1,491st customer, Aaron loves receiving compliments on his bandanas. Visit our story to see how he's found his voice through poetry.

As circumstance goes, it was daunting. Around nine years ago, I was walking the eerie halls of my high school. It was right after a small unofficial graduation ceremony done in the very building that attempted to teach me how to conform. I tried to plan the next nine years in my head using their guidance as a protractor; it turned out they failed, because I didn’t know what I wanted to do with my life.

...My calm was treated like contraband and confiscated

Learned I gotta walk on water to re-obtain it

And I believe in a grace that’s amazing

But the idea of letting go to activate it starts my cravings of

Self sufficiency, lemme handle this living fee,

I pay in pain, consistently, can’t rely on serendipity

Can’t rely on others, I rely on inner Judah lion,

Jaws of life pryin’ I generate through praying and rhyming...

My older teenage brain oddly was unprepared. It was not like I was dumb. Prior to my senior year, I was in the top 5% of my graduating class when I cared. I was also voted best to bring home to mom and dad (and that hasn’t changed a smidge). Despite the trivial matters that looked lovely on the crown that we gild with “resume,” I completely lacked what I needed to be, what I now like to call “Someone Worth Being”. Because being that someone would require showing up.

Those who know the lifestyle of first to get here last to leave

Can’t reach this level without working OT, (nah)

In pocket, but, never marching to the systems' drums (nah)

Grizzly even when I'm sendin’ em bare minimums

Until I wake up to dreams, I’ve been living more lucidly

Supplying gold bars, my fort knocks like opportunity

But, I was late. To everything. I applied last minute to colleges. I decided my major at the last minute. I switched majors and almost quit school. I got my first job at 20 and my driver’s license at 22. I took six years to get my Bachelor’s Degree; as a matter of fact, the only time I was early was when losing my hair. The hand gesture made with the extended pointer finger and the opposable thumb was destined to live forever on my forehead; I felt I could not win.

...Up late in the comp. room, friends with the cleaners,

Report on Fluid Mech. and Rwanda’s genocide demeanor,

the bird chirps and rooster crow was my alarm to go home

iPhone alarm clock tocked to wake me up for Vibrations,

Awakened, shaken, like i ain’t made for this, scared I was mistaken,

caught between the now and the everlastin'

Clearly multi-taskin', my IOS update was masked in

depression and low self esteem,

missing utter glee

Heart harder than a metapod still hoping I'll become butter free...

I decided to write out my losses. I’ve always had an aptitude for cleverness that teetered between your favorite battle rappers rhyme schemes to your dad’s head shake inducing jokes. Using cartoon references and science theories, Latin terms and broken English, I wrote what I felt. In a world of doctored selfies and fake lifestyles consisting of bloated overhyped wins and lavish vacations, rapper personas drenched in gaudiness and egotism, and relationships that were the personification of run down shacks with the most extravagant yet opaque facades, seemingly beautiful and full of depth, but, were truly empty and shallow; people felt me too.

...We’d embrace, you’d look me in eye and lie, incredible how you'd make a hug hurt,

Laying with you felt like a bed of spikes, needle like, delivered doses of numbness so you can operate when I’m under

scared to ask for help ‘cause all we do is judge or give bad advice to one another...

I learned that that person I wanted to be, that person worth being, was someone I had to struggle for. Hardships are backhanded blessings to build beings far better than handouts ever could.

...The real pressurized that's why I question yours

I don’t recognize no king that ain’t have a crown of thorns...

Despite all of the challenges, I graduated. And now I currently work at one of the greatest aerospace companies in existence. And although I seem to be living the dream for all first generation immigrants, all of the spreadsheets and technical data, happy hours and work trips couldn’t replace my love for words and how they’ve impacted the people around me.

...Writing raps in my cubicle, the unruly feel

Nature made, truly real, spring day so surreal

Family ventures kindly build my iron will

What I earn with highly skill, a mighty kill

Sunshine kiss the skin like my lover will...

To avoid the shallow coffin many millennials consider a 9am to 5pm job, as well as to push my craft and hone my abilities further, I started a series called PracticeMakesSeason where I would rap (and I’m not a rapper) to beats on video and upload them once a week. It’s a simple concept but most definitely a refinement process requiring creativity not only in words but in rhymes, visuals, sound, and editing.

...All homegrown pursuits

If what you produce don’t come from grassroots it’s wax fruit

centerpiece decor loot, amounts to no truth

Y’all secure the bag, I secure the overflow

'member the big picture centerfold for a better glow

If I fall, amongst my group I land like an archipelago...

Currently, a year later, I am trying to figure out how to write another love poem and expound on male trauma. My homies tell me to write a book but I mostly ignore them. I’m also trying to wrap my head around making an EP, begin PracticeMakesSeason2, record poetry videos and pay off these student loans. A lot has changed and though I’m still late, I promise I will get there soon. I mean, I still show up.

...Know the knowledge, my smart polish came from life not college,

Got art collages in my headspace of past mistakes that made me great,

Soul: Oxfords laced with Nike socks, but it’s already done by faith...


The DIOP Circle V.37

March 29th, 2020


Aaron St. Louis

Every Sunday, we publish a story from a member of the DIOP community. Because each and every one of you is on a journey and we're right there with you.

This week, it's you, me and Aaron St. Louis. Our 1,491st customer, Aaron loves receiving compliments on his bandanas. Visit our story to see how he's found his voice through poetry.

As circumstance goes, it was daunting. Around nine years ago, I was walking the eerie halls of my high school. It was right after a small unofficial graduation ceremony done in the very building that attempted to teach me how to conform. I tried to plan the next nine years in my head using their guidance as a protractor; it turned out they failed, because I didn’t know what I wanted to do with my life.

...My calm was treated like contraband and confiscated

Learned I gotta walk on water to re-obtain it

And I believe in a grace that’s amazing

But the idea of letting go to activate it starts my cravings of

Self sufficiency, lemme handle this living fee,

I pay in pain, consistently, can’t rely on serendipity

Can’t rely on others, I rely on inner Judah lion,

Jaws of life pryin’ I generate through praying and rhyming...

My older teenage brain oddly was unprepared. It was not like I was dumb. Prior to my senior year, I was in the top 5% of my graduating class when I cared. I was also voted best to bring home to mom and dad (and that hasn’t changed a smidge). Despite the trivial matters that looked lovely on the crown that we gild with “resume,” I completely lacked what I needed to be, what I now like to call “Someone Worth Being”. Because being that someone would require showing up.

Those who know the lifestyle of first to get here last to leave

Can’t reach this level without working OT, (nah)

In pocket, but, never marching to the systems' drums (nah)

Grizzly even when I'm sendin’ em bare minimums

Until I wake up to dreams, I’ve been living more lucidly

Supplying gold bars, my fort knocks like opportunity

But, I was late. To everything. I applied last minute to colleges. I decided my major at the last minute. I switched majors and almost quit school. I got my first job at 20 and my driver’s license at 22. I took six years to get my Bachelor’s Degree; as a matter of fact, the only time I was early was when losing my hair. The hand gesture made with the extended pointer finger and the opposable thumb was destined to live forever on my forehead; I felt I could not win.

...Up late in the comp. room, friends with the cleaners,

Report on Fluid Mech. and Rwanda’s genocide demeanor,

the bird chirps and rooster crow was my alarm to go home

iPhone alarm clock tocked to wake me up for Vibrations,

Awakened, shaken, like i ain’t made for this, scared I was mistaken,

caught between the now and the everlastin'

Clearly multi-taskin', my IOS update was masked in

depression and low self esteem,

missing utter glee

Heart harder than a metapod still hoping I'll become butter free...

I decided to write out my losses. I’ve always had an aptitude for cleverness that teetered between your favorite battle rappers rhyme schemes to your dad’s head shake inducing jokes. Using cartoon references and science theories, Latin terms and broken English, I wrote what I felt. In a world of doctored selfies and fake lifestyles consisting of bloated overhyped wins and lavish vacations, rapper personas drenched in gaudiness and egotism, and relationships that were the personification of run down shacks with the most extravagant yet opaque facades, seemingly beautiful and full of depth, but, were truly empty and shallow; people felt me too.

...We’d embrace, you’d look me in eye and lie, incredible how you'd make a hug hurt,

Laying with you felt like a bed of spikes, needle like, delivered doses of numbness so you can operate when I’m under

scared to ask for help ‘cause all we do is judge or give bad advice to one another...

I learned that that person I wanted to be, that person worth being, was someone I had to struggle for. Hardships are backhanded blessings to build beings far better than handouts ever could.

...The real pressurized that's why I question yours

I don’t recognize no king that ain’t have a crown of thorns...

Despite all of the challenges, I graduated. And now I currently work at one of the greatest aerospace companies in existence. And although I seem to be living the dream for all first generation immigrants, all of the spreadsheets and technical data, happy hours and work trips couldn’t replace my love for words and how they’ve impacted the people around me.

...Writing raps in my cubicle, the unruly feel

Nature made, truly real, spring day so surreal

Family ventures kindly build my iron will

What I earn with highly skill, a mighty kill

Sunshine kiss the skin like my lover will...

To avoid the shallow coffin many millennials consider a 9am to 5pm job, as well as to push my craft and hone my abilities further, I started a series called PracticeMakesSeason where I would rap (and I’m not a rapper) to beats on video and upload them once a week. It’s a simple concept but most definitely a refinement process requiring creativity not only in words but in rhymes, visuals, sound, and editing.

...All homegrown pursuits

If what you produce don’t come from grassroots it’s wax fruit

centerpiece decor loot, amounts to no truth

Y’all secure the bag, I secure the overflow

'member the big picture centerfold for a better glow

If I fall, amongst my group I land like an archipelago...

Currently, a year later, I am trying to figure out how to write another love poem and expound on male trauma. My homies tell me to write a book but I mostly ignore them. I’m also trying to wrap my head around making an EP, begin PracticeMakesSeason2, record poetry videos and pay off these student loans. A lot has changed and though I’m still late, I promise I will get there soon. I mean, I still show up.

...Know the knowledge, my smart polish came from life not college,

Got art collages in my headspace of past mistakes that made me great,

Soul: Oxfords laced with Nike socks, but it’s already done by faith...


Aaron St. Louis

Follow Aaron @AJoeSaint on Instagram and Soundcloud. Click here to check out his PracticeMakes series.

The views and opinions expressed here are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the official policy or position of DIOP.


- Aaron St. Louis


Follow Aaron @AJoeSaint on Instagram and Soundcloud. Click here to check out his PracticeMakes series.

The views and opinions expressed here are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the official policy or position of DIOP.