lets go to the video tape!

the tale of the tape

SET LIST
Where’s the new shit, O?
Zero Hour at the Event Horizon*
The Perfect Omelet*
Federico Gracia-Lorca’s “Dawn
like dawn in new york*
Paying the Toll*
America: My First Love Poem
Spanglish- The new mother tongue*
Poem for the Hispanics who insist on mispronouncing the menu items at the Chino-Latino restaurant
Anything to Declare?*
Sorta-Rican
Let me end it with this…
* new hotness

your thoughts on preparing for the match?
actually, some of the new hotness had already been performed but they did get edited (especially “Paying the Toll”) also “America: My First Love Poem” was written for the DC feature last year but i have rarely read it.

the theme of the set was the whole immigrant experience with 8 of the 11 poems dealing specfically with that topic. how did i come to that revelation? easy- i knew that the classic would be “Sorta-Rican” the rest then kinda fell into place.

speaking of which, “Sorta” was the gem of my solo feature from last year and this year’s gem is a tie between “Paying the Toll” and “Anything to Declare?” i really like the fact that one is a definite shift away from my narrative style and that the other is an embrace of my narrative in the direction of straight prose.

the other poems in the set include my handshake to the crowd, a new kind of poem that is weird in its structure yet still delivers the goods, (there was also a satirical rendition of my NYFA artist statement that i threw in for fear that i didnt have enough material), the obligatory love poem, and then the lorca cover which actually IS an immigrant poem of sorts and kicks off the theme.

the ride to the big game
after getting some stuff to help with the knee pain (i was NOT limping to the stage- hell no!), i proceeded to hit the barber shop and get a good beard trim. the barber came through like gangbusters with a massage seat, face scrub, noxema, hot towel, face massage, astringent and a cool shave. praise the clippers & pass the martini!

i got to 13 mad early and was able to enjoy some great viet food as fish finds my ass and we proceed to talk and chow. let me say here, a highlight of the last few months have been the peace & calm between me & fish. werd.

upstairs to 13 which gets more & more packed by the minute. thank hay.zeus of orchard beach! i was seriously worried that the weekend blizzard was gonna have me reciting to 11 folks. (this poems is for YOU, and this one for YOU…) now the nerves start kicking in and i curse the gout for preventing me from taking a hike and showing up 10 minutes before and for not letting me take a sip of liquid courage. all for the best, i guess, because the way my nerves were acting up, i would have been toast by the time i hit the stage.

now why the nerves, you ask? basically, 13 is my home venue, the place where i talk mad shit, praise & not.so.praise folks, hang and walk around like if i’m a poet and very sonn that swagger will be put to the test. if i don’t deliver, the conversations will go down like this- “well, let me say this first, i really like oscar as a person but…” and you can figure out the rest. i am very sure of this because i have heard this conversation quite a number of times. this may be the WORST set of pre.feature jitters i have ever experienced. it may have to do with the fact that i did invest a bit into the layout of the feature. yep, that’s it. i am a little past the “start with a good piece/end with a good piece/and have fun in the middle” mind set that i had earlier on.

(a nice omen preceeds the feature as both rich & fish make the last round of the slam & luis cartegena gets the crowd away from the slam mind set with a great “sorbet” poem)

kick off!
once i am up there, the jitters are gone. cool thing of this set is that i have a lot of moments recorded in my mind. in contrast, i only recall a few things about the upperCASE and the CD recording zoomed by.

good set. horrible banter. what happened? i dont know but i think i would prefer it this way, ya know?

at this point, much thanks to ed & omar for sitting me down one day and encouraging me to use my wit in my poems. it was a tool i used to great effect for this set.

and i’m audi 5000!

in the locker room
as i’m leaving the stage, jayne pierce hits me up with some flowers (ahhhhhhhhh) and i see tata crying in a moment that almost gets me to cry and will forever go down as a piece of my personal history. i love you, jess. mad props soon follows and i can start to breathe easy.

i never count who comes to my gigs. either you do or you dont but let me tell you, all the right folks were there and here i praise UPHA for being there when it was just me & my pen, when all i had was one good poem. these ladies i also love madly.

a shout to Nuyo Clothing for giving me a cool shirt to wear on stage. buy their stuff!

matt, jess & maria on the open mic and all thats left is res which was mad mad fun.

the post game wrap up
i just heard the tape of the performance and for the first time EVER, i am not cringing at the sound my voice though i am wincing at the awful mic chatter i delivered. ;-) (thanks for tape, ray)

more shouts to guy, willie, ed & jeannie, rachel, raj, ellie, michele, peter, jessica elizabeth, scot, louder and especially to jai & nina for being there in spirit

i have been getting quite the number of compliments on the blog ring and i thank all you crazy mofos for the kind words, for reals.

in baseball, your pitcher is only as good as his next game. i guess in poetry, i am only as good as my next feature. this one is in the books and done. normally, i would brush it off and keep on truckin but on the real- i have had a lousy 6 weeks of arthritis pain & had some more of my past come back to bite me in the ass. guess what? i’m going to enjoy this glow for a little while. nights like moday dont happen all the time. i used to have rock star fantasies as a kid, picture myself on air guitar or drums or even as the lead singer. i never thought that shit would come to pass but it kinda has & life is too short to worry about the next feature.

yeah, i may just play the tape again and enjoy myself for once.

the sign off
love ya like if you helped make mah dreams come true

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.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *