DC was the bomb! My set went great though I didn’t get to write the second poem and pull a Leon/Villar on the folks in Teaism since they only had three people on the Open Mic. There was a cross town slam going on with a prize of $800. I love slam but I hate big money slams in that if somebody beats me out for $800, that is a pretty good place for animosity to begin- I’m just sayin’.

Here is the set list-

*Mercy on the Battlefield

*Where’s the New Shit, O?

*Capicu

*Willie Perdomo’s Crazy Bunch Barbecue

*Brooklyn Back Break Beat

*America: My First Love Poem

*Getting Ronald Reagan to Visit the South Bronx

*Ceviche

Mucho fun doing MotB first and not having the ‘have they heard it before?’ issues coming up. On the straight up- I LOVE doing that poem and I still think it’s an excellent display of my writing. Today, I would make some more edits but it still stands y punto. Coming out next with Where’s the New Shit is a nice inside joke to myself and a quick change of pace from my Spanglish rich stuff. So then I can do Capicu without feeling like I have to hand out a dictionary. I was able to nail the CAPEEECCCUUUUUU real nice, something I haven’t been able to do in a while.

The Crazy Bunch Barbecue is one of my favorite pieces of poetry ever and it was real cool to bust it out (Thanks, Tony B) and became a segue way for BBBB which had a lot of Perdomo in it (and I let the crowd now that- and yes, even though they only had three open micers DC Slam had a nice crowd of 70+ in the house). I lose my set list at this point, prompting a friendly heckler to quip- “What the fuck is a set list?” It means, I love you all.

The New Hotness emerges with America, a poem that is going to be fuckin with me for a while as I found out some things about my history on the long bus ride. Nothing new, mind you, just shit I never really put together about my parents and my infancy. Speaking of family, I joke that walking into the Million Woman March is like having your cousins crash with you for the night… and as a Latino, that could mean a LOT of people. Yep, my banter was in effect.

Getting Ronald… is always fun to break away from the three minute norm (here I do a time check and get the 5 minutes more sign so I figure I’ll just do one more) and leave em with one of my favorite trips ever, the journey to and from Brooklyn in Ceviche.

“Thanks for listening, DC”

Life has not been that great but Sunday in DC was just fuckin’ perfect! The sights, the march and then having a fun relaxed set of my work- nice!

Afterwards, Delrica (the Slam Mistress) passed the hat around to sweeten my take home and it was enough to make what would have been a financial loss into a break even- Nice! A good number of compliments that generally sounded like this, “I like the range in your work.” which is exaclty what I wanted to hear and not the ever dreaded (though still appreciated) “You were great and I liked all your poems but i REALLY love the one about dancing!” So frontloading with MotB and letting the rest of my stuff build up from there is a pretty good place to be… for now.

The Slam was a Slam with all the DC regulars being mad pro and knowing their audience and what to drop on em. The work was not the standard fare and I got to hear a good range of stuff.

Afterwards, I had three hours to kill and no idea how to kill em when Truth Thomas, 2nd place in the Slam, offers to show me the OTHER side of DC and I was like, “Hell yeah!”

Q Street has seen a lot of history and is in the middle of a gentrification phase (sound familiar) but there was enough heads to let me know that this was a lil more of what I was used to. Harold, 1st place in the Slam, and Belia join us and we had a long ass talk about the slam and writing and influences and teaching and all the same stuff that mad me feel like I was in the Ox late or at Res being a jackass.

Truth also showed me another Jazz part of the city (Andrew Morgans?), we ate some more and then he dropped me back by Chinatown where I grabbed a way packed bus that had no AC on a humid night back to the city. Not only that but then the dude next to me insisted on having a convo with his boy a row down and was fuckin with my sleep but hey, if one thing don’t go wrong then it ain’t perfect in my eyes so this trip was officially- perfect.

Author: Oscar Bermeo

Born in Ecuador and raised in the Bronx, Oscar Bermeo is the author of the chapbooks Anywhere Avenue, Palimpsest, Heaven Below, and To the Break of Dawn. He lives and works in Oakland, CA.

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