Vampirism and Skydiving.
If you have ever done either thing, even once, you never really have to do it again. It automatically adds you into the hall of the elite or despised and no matter what the circumstances behind the incident always leave you as marked. OK, the vampirism thing only happens in Eastern Europe or Oswego County, NY, but you get the gist of it.
Found out that my compadre, Al B Back, was Slammin’ at the Nuyorican again. Originally, I had no desire to head on downtown as I’ve spent the whole week in and out of the City and was looking forward to a casual Friday uptown. Maybe head over to the Blue Ox and check out that Jazz band they have coming in. Fish made me an offer I couldn’t refuse in that he would be the ride downtown so I said “Sure, why not!” Worked out quite well, in that I almost got to be the feature. The original scheduled feature, Karen Ladson, was having some type of difficulty getting to the Café. Nothing new, I’ve seen two features pull a Houdinin and know that da Boogieman got lost coming to the Nuyo once, so I wasn’t too shocked. Karen Jamie, the new host, asked me if I could fill in.
Let’s step back here for a sec, less than two years in the game and I have an opportunity to perform at one of the most easily recognized venues in all of poetry. I mean people that don’t know shit about poetry know about the Nuyo. Not to mention that Semi-Final bout at 13 this Monday. The opportunity to drop five pieces anywhere would be welcome.
Karen, the host, decided to star the Slam without the feature. Went a whole round and then Ms. Ladson showed up, dropped a great set, had a break and then continued with the Slam. It threw the dynamic a bit out of whack which didn’t make anything easier for Al or Ed Garcia who was also Slamming. I ended up doing a piece between rounds two and three. Got to plug Acentos, synonymUS and the PPG play before doing ‘Ultimo Canto’ and had a blast performing the piece. Al came in third, Ed in second and Vanessa Hidary won the night.
Am I disappointed that I didn’t get to feature? Nah, Karen Ladson rocked and she had her start in Slam at the Nuyo so the night was a type of homecoming full circle thing and you know how I feel about them cycles. The cool thing was that I had a full set ready to go (four pieces memorized only one would have been off page!) and was not nervous that I was short changing the crowd. I knew that if I had gone up there, the house would have had a dope show and that is an awesome feeling.
The thought of adding… “featured poet at the Nuyorican Poets Café,” to my poetic resume sure was tempting though.
Next time, we’ll see if the circle comes back.