“No man’s an island and his castle isn’t home”

Quick Monday recap from 13: the crowd was disappointingly small in comparison to last week’s Perdomo-palooza. The Open Mic was tight and remains a bright spot. I enjoy John S. Hall but was (ironically enough) detained in the hall while he was on-stage. My opinion was not shared with everyone as some walked out on his set– “I tried but that was too much for me,” was a comment I heard.

I slammed and came in dead last which proves once and for all that I am an atrocious page reader and should only slam with memorized stuff at this stage of the game. That’s about it for 13.

Reservoir was small but great fun as we bounced from topic to topic and finished the night out with one of those “Fight Club” caveats.

On to other things… some time in the middle of summer I get a random e-mail asking if I can talk to some kids about my work for a folk culture project. Fish did the gig with me which went great (except that afterwards I got into a silly argument with Fish that left me feeling like an ass for a good long time) and I got to asking the program director if the project has a poetry instructor. One thing leads to another and my resumes now carries the title “Creative Writing Instructor” as I meet with high school kids twice a week after school.

The first class went smooth but that was more of a meet-and-greet and I wasn’t really doing my thing. The second class was a disaster for me as the kids were not feelin’ me. I tried to get them to view poetry as personal historical statement, to tie in with the mission of the program, and was left on a lurch. The kids were all over the place and questioned everything I did and everything I asked them to do. Rog told me early on that there would be classes like this and you can not get discouraged at the bumps in the road. Like most advice, it was a lot easier to hear it than to actually go through it.

This week was much better, though. We went over Ishamael Reed’s

Jacket Notes and my first group blew my whole mind when we deconstructed the poem. My second group was not as focused and their thoughts weren’t as mind bending as the previous one’s but they were still on the ball. Both classes were a lil resistant at first but got into the flow really well by the end. Later in the week, I flipped it by going over performance with them and earned their respect by doing “Mercy…” for them. The kids flipped when they saw it printed out and probably thought we were gonna do some short fiction work… that poem is long on paper, yes it is.

Now I have their ears and have their minds working but I still need to get their hands in motion but it’s small battles that win the war and I am doing well, for now.

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