“Oh, and it’s time to lend a hand to life”
all hell is poppin’ loose at the poetry_slam listserve. i woke up one morning to see 125(!) e-mails in my inbox and it all revolves around the points system vs regionals vs first come first serve. if you dont know what that means, just play along for a sec because thats not the point of this entry which is this: the poetry_slam listserve is full of the most winiest, self-centered, ego maniacs on the planet… and they’re poets! which means that they love to write long drawn out shit (kettle meet pot).
this being my own personal little corner of the web, ima tell my side of the story:
NPS has gotten way too big for PSI too handle, its the joy and sorrow of a grssroots movement… for acentos it would be what would happen if we became the nuyorican. there was room for 56 teams for this last nats and all the slots, thanks to online registration filled up in days verusus the customary months. this left a good number of “established” teams out of nats leading to another flare up in the SF (slam family). chicago made concessions allowing 63 teams to compete but the aftermath was clear.
first come first serve was antiquated.
this was not a new piece of information, as many had foreseen this day and attempted to put a regional system in place to prevent it from getting this far. one of those folks was my predecessor as union square SM (slammaster), guy. when the debate over the chicago mess was going on, guy was listed as co-slammaster and as such he dropped a proposal to EC (poetry slam inc. executive council, i know, i know) member scott woods.
the gist of the proposal was to tighten up the certification process to make sure the teams that wanted to compete at nats had at least done some kinda work to make their slam a thriving scene as opposed to the here-today-gone-tomorrow or we-keep-sending-the-same-four-people-for-the-last-ten-years slam (i know, kettle greets pot) scott took the proposal and presented it to the SMs who ripped it apart.
it’s unfair to old teams. it’s unfair to new teams. it’s unfair to travelling poets. it’s unfair to teams that are far away. it’s unfair to rats. it’s unfair to martians. blah, blah, blah… personal honesty moment, i should have added to this debate, especially since guy used some of my suggestions in it, but felt that i didnt have a right to speak. moment- over.
the certification process eventually became bastarized into the current point sysytem. which, when the SM meeting in chicago went down, i voted for after voting that first-come-first-serve was dead. i have said it publicly to the other SMs on the list and to scott woods in person, that SM meeting was a joke and had no kinda of order. no attendance, no accounability for your vote, one venue even had a rep instead of their SM there without any type of written proxy (beauracratic, am i? hell, yeah! unless you want to see every longwinded mofo take up time on the floor cause he wants to hear the sweet reverberation of his own tones) after the point system is voted in, scott asks that a committee determine the final criteria for the system and calls for volunteers. he promises the system up in place by sept. 10th. i ask for it to be passed as a motion and put into record, he says it’ll be done, i say i want it official and so it passes. scott, btw, is a wonderful person and one of the few people that can actually formulate his own ideas and move past the bickering and get to the implementation of ideas.
flash forward to the present– the SMs unveil the point system and the SF flips out. “we werent told. we werent consulted. we werent given warm milk.” blah, blah, blah.
and here is where i am truly pissed… the poetry_slam listeserve is not the SF… it is about forty internet geeks (pot marries kettle) that spends all day on the net typing like mad dog for anything (kettle births pot, jr)
for the last few weeks, my yahoo inbox is getting almost a hundred emails a day (thank god, i sent them emails to another destination) and its almost always the same muthfuckas asking the same questions to the same group of people that actually want to help and have valid suggestions but cant move forward because these stupid asses live to argue (pot divorces kettle, cuz that AINT me)
HOW TO WRITE A POETRY_SLAM MESSAGE (with the helpful “I” bell)
family (cuz youre always thinking for everybody else never for your owqn venue or yourself, nah)
i (DING) have been thinking about this long and hard. i (DING) remember in the year 1600/just last moth that i logged on (its one or the other) when i (DING) last/first started slamming. i (DING) was so moved and touch by slam that i (DING) dedicated my life to it (more like you found a venue that has the same five judges all the time) but know i (DING) find myself (modifiedDING) at the crossroad.
much like my (pronounDING) poem (this happens at Q&As for academis too, btw) that i (DING) have recited to thunderous applause, i (DING) am left a poet(adjectiveDING) without a stage. this has left me (DING) truly disheartened. i (DING) have given countless hours to my (DING) scene and do not want to see all my (DING) hard work evaporate.
i (DING) will ponder us this more as tonight i (DING) perform on stage the long ass drawn out response i (DING) have inside me (DING) and (based on whether i (DING) score well with it) will post tomorrow for all to be enlightened by my (DING) stunning prose.
family (gotta get back to the community), i (DING) wish you all the best at this time and know that together you and (DING) (DING) (DING) will make it through this.
– time out : just finished reading phil west’s post about the SF and he mentions the “puzzling non-sequitor” which i also love it goes like this
1) someone posts a question (pertinent or not, but that distinction must be made early because then, follow me like if it was a flow chart)
2-a.) pertinent questions are generally answered with a complete off topic revelry that follows with an off-topic question that is considered the “real” inquiry or just given the “good question” stamp without anything being added just so that today’s e-mail junkie can be down with saving PSi
2-b.) non-pertinent questions are dissected and thorougly explained thanks to the poet’s great history
3) initial poster still doesnt have his question answered
4-a.) the bigger picture is still examined like a space shot of mars when youre lookin for a dime. the follow up poster ignores the request to stay on topic and reposts question
4-b.) the reponder gets insulted that his knowledge is being thrown out
5) random comedian jumps in with worthless dribble
6) sides are chosen and alliances formed
7-a.) the inital poster, in an effort to get his point across, responds to the off topic question or the “yeah, i was thinkin the same” thread with an actual thought… jump to 10
7-b.) the inital poster has to acknowledge the dissection of his initially whimsical addition to todays email and bow before the knowledge of the SF
8) the responders cant let go and reinsert more questions that lead to nowhere
9) the initial poster gives up and lets the thread die on its own or soothes the savage ego with a “ok, glas you thought of that.”
10) respondent humbly accepts the glory of leading the SF out of the dark ages
and the actual reason for all this piss & vinegar: sadly, i almost got into a flame war with chuck & buck over some dumb shit they are trying to run and when i found myself caught between a rock and a dumb place, i said “fuck this.”
a good fight over opinions can lead to productivity but really only with people you know and/or respect which excludes most of the SF since i dont know them. i had a lonnng, drawn out, total 180 degree, clash of philosophy with the organizers of louderMONDAYS. when the dust settled, i was still in the minority but it never got stupid or useless, it remianed a valid exchange of ideas and thoughts which at the very least left me with a sense that they have at least weighed other opinions including (and most importantly their own) mofos at the SF that want shit to be donw just cuz it suits theri whim of the day should just say so, if theyre looking to expand their own person agenda (just say so)
do not talk about organization, partnerships, and family when you dont want to be blamed for dropping the ball and then hail yourself the leader when you see it bounce and proclaim the effects of gravity.
enough, bullshit. the SF, they’re god’s kids now.