ok. let’s start with the fact that i did not win last night. that in itself is no major news and, truth to tell, i wasn’t expecting or looking forward to winning. what i was looking forward to was making the third round of the slam which would qualify me for this years semi-finals at 13.
i missed out on getting to the third round by a tenth-of-a-point. yeah, by the slimmest of margins i missed out.
that fucking blows!
if at this point you don’t know what a slam is then click here and find out. in the large scheme of things, slams mean nothing. just because 5 random strangers all agree you are good one night doesn’t mean you are a good poet. i have seen a ton of slams won by hillbillies masquerading as poets and they were quite happy with themselves. losing means just as little cuz, again, i have seen top-rate poets get horrible scores and does that mean they are not good poets? no, it just means that 5 yahoos don’t know shit about verse, imagery or bi-cameral perception and just want to be entertained by being told how trivial something is or how revolutionary something is. usually, all they are doing is trivializing the revolution (see i’ve got wordplay skills too!)
but to lose by a .1
i would have been much happier if i had just gotten blown out of the water. no, the last time i got blown out of the water i was actually quite pissed and stopped writing in a different journal because i didn’t want to sound like a sore loser.
as you can see, i am over that and am ready to whine to the world.
analysis: drawing low in the rotation, third, i knew i needed something to get me over the top so i went back to the tried and true salsa poem and scored second highest in the first round which after a time penalty on someone else’s part became THE highest score in the first round. that’s what fucked me.
if i had come in second, i would have seen ishle bust out a tried and true poem of her own and then would have used the ‘ceviche’ poem. instead, i used ‘el ultimo canto’ the poem whihc went over very well with the audience as it generated random ‘oohhs’ and ‘damns’ when i was hitting my imagery but the judges weren’t having it and i got a lower score in the second round than i did in the first. after that, everybody brought their A game and slammed with time-tested material and as the third person went up i whispered to my friend ed “i am losing by a tenth of a point” and sure enough that’s how it went down.
so why did i go with a brand new piece never ever read before?
because i am trying to be like other people. i see poets like willie, jeff mcd, rog, lynne, shappy, rachelle and others go on-stage with raw-new stuff and do well. that’s who i want to be. somebody that can grab you by your collar and say “this is deep profound shit fool! listen up!” and have it work.
last night has taught me that i need to get MUCH better at expressing myself before i can be at that point. there is a place i want to be at and ima get there but not today and certainly not last night.
to win a slam i need to study the shit out of my poems. there are two pieces that i’ve nailed down and i can make them work anywhere. a slam, a library, a community center, don’t matter where. unfortunately, one of those pieces, the salsa poem, i have started to view as a crutch that i kept thinking i had to drop but last night when second round hit– everybody was on their crutch. i am debating whether or not to slam next week. cuz if i don’t then it all comes down to the last slam of the season and make it all do or die.
i was able to tell some of my peeps how i was feeling though only ray and fish know how really down i am on it. especially fish since he had that (insert echoing booming voice here) tenth-of-a-point (end voice) doom him recently as well.
one, i don’t take losing well… at all.
two, this slammaster title has me feeling like a jackass since i’ve never actually ‘mastered a slam’ ya know? im afraid someone is going to call me on that shit one day and then i’ma want to punch them in the nose, unless its a girl– in which case a gut shot will do just as well.
so, the journal is still alive. i have a new poem memorized (that’s three baby, two more and i can drop a set anywhere!… err make that four because i have to start memorizing ‘oda para leticia’ for a poetry show soon… one more and i can drop a set anywhere!). i was told by more than one person how great a poet i am and while it’s not a slam win… it’s the nice opinion of someone you respect. and now i know who i am as a slam poet and who i’m not. lessons well earned. maybe i’ll slam at urbana next week. that would be ultra interesting or maybe take up the nuyo on their invitation to come back. we’ll see.