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An Analysis of My Favorite Spoken Poem: “I’m thinking about horses” by Mike Posner

“I’m thinking about god, is it a he or a she or a feeling or love…”- Mike Posner

That’s the opening quote to a spoken poem by Mike Posner called “I’m thinking about horses” featured on the recently released self-titled album by Mansionz. The music group is made up of Blackbear (Matthew Musto) and Mike Posner, and the album features a variety of music styles that are all captivating in their own way. “I’m thinking about horses” is the one that stood out to me the most, because it is a spoken poem rather than a song, and explores some of Posner’s deepest thoughts.

In the beginning of the poem, he questions god, the universe, and whether there is a higher power. He also explores the meaning of existence and why this universe is even here.

“Maybe this universe wasn’t an achievement at all…”

He seems to believe that the universe was developed for no real reason: that if there is a higher power, creating our existence was definitely not the most important thing. In his mind, it’s possible that our universe isn’t as special as it is glorified to be, laying the foreground perfectly for the rest of the song.

Next he discusses his disgust with his own chauvinism: aggressive patriotism. He describes a late night endeavor with a girl he knows, recounting how he was thinking about sex late at night, and decided to text all of the girls he knew that were close by. “I pick up my phone and text every female I know within a 15 mile radius… it’s a terrible thing that deserves adjectives like chauvinistic, objectifying”  His criticism of his actions exemplify themes of possible self-loathing or other self-image related issues regarding his very character.

Before that when he says “I’ve been holy all days and acted in ways that deserve adjectives like honorable, good and straight… but it’s after ten pm now and I’m bored…” Here Posner let’s listeners into the very being of his flawed existence, telling that in the daytime he is hiding behind a mask of holiness and good actions, but when it is late and he is vulnerable and alone, the mask comes off, and a more negative side of him is shown. He wants listeners to know that who he is in the day time when everyone can see him is not who he is when he is alone.

Following this revelation, he describes his thoughts about horses, discussing how they are magnificent and stronger than they know but they give that up for a meal. He further elaborates by explaining that he does not judge the horses because that is what everyone does. “They trade their freedom for a dependable meal, they let people get on top of them and tell them where to go… but how can I judge? Is that not exactly what I do? Is that not exactly what we all do?” This is Posner’s expression that people are stronger than they know, but they morph into conformist sheep for comfort and stability.

Next, listeners follow Posner’s thoughts about his father’s old age. He describes how his father is getting older and Mike knows the truth that is coming soon but is still not prepared for it. “I’m thinking about dad… he’s 70 and he’s just starting to get old. Things are gonna change soon. I don’t feel ready for the change that is coming soon. I am standing on the beach watching the tsunami grow from a minuscule rise in the horizon to a monstrous tidal wave…”

He then discusses the lessons his dad taught him and briefly questions his sexuality. “Maybe I’m gay…” And in the final verses of the poem, Posner describes his feelings about death. He predicts what it would be like if he were to die suddenly. “Maybe my fans would do something special, maybe they’d cry and maybe it’d be in the newspaper… yeah I think I’d get in the Detroit news… probably not the New York Times… people will probably like my music more when I die because they’ll know no more is coming.” 

Toward the end of the poem, he seems to be at peace with the idea of his own death. This is interesting because it contradicts the fear he felt about his father’s mortality. He described the impending death of his elderly father as a tsunami, something to crash and wipe out on his life. However, his own death seems to comfort him in a way. He even says “…meh, that would be alright… I had a good run…” after he contemplates the idea of dying. To me, him being okay with his death and pondering what his fans would do following his death could mean he does not feel important. Not to say that this is fact, but he seems to care less about his own death and more about the other issues that are bombarding his psyche throughout the poem.

The poem is finalized by aggressive and loud electronic music. These sounds could be interpreted in a few different ways. The first time I really analyzed the poem, I drew on the theme the noises symbolized Posner’s thoughts spiraling downward as he is thinking more and more about his own death. However, it could be Posner exiting the poem and Blackbear entering. Blackbear has more of an aggressive vibe than Posner and this could be a manifestation of the inside of Blackbear’s mind.

I think what stands out about this spoken poem is how much it resembles the pattern of thought. The topic changes rapidly and there is a plethora of themes discussed. Any time I listen to it, I feel as is I am following right along with his thought process. That is what makes it so special. It is personal and vulnerable. It is a raw, uncut look into someone else’s mind. I would recommend not only this spoken poem, but this entire album to anyone who is looking for something a little different.

Listen to “I’m thinking about horses” on Spotify or iTunes.

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