“stick to the stars”
Nothing to write about really. I have been tempering my hate lately so my thoughts on some of the poetry around me have been tepid to say the least. Shit! I even actually went head long into a ride that this Slammer by the name of Big Mike (not R.N. Thank God!) took me on last Friday. Crazy motherfucker was talking about writing a real love poem, not the kind that single poets write, and then mentioned that his six month old son is the biggest cock blocker on the planet. That is some surreal shit that will haunt me. The same slam saw Rich rock “Noche Buena, 1986” better than I have ever seen him do it before as well and score the hosting duties to the Nuyorican Open Room. A fine feather to add to any poetic resume.
The featured poet was David Mills who not only managed to work in an anus reference into seven of the six poems he did but also managed to demean Aztec culture by turning ‘Monetzuma’s Revenge’ into a poem- “Dear Ah Rear Ah” (parts 1, 2, and 3) and mispronouncing the way the locals say English words. Nice. No applause necessary, though.
Last night was another dialougueSLAM and the use of score cards kept the score creep from getting out of hand but also cemented the judges idea of who should and shouldn’t win (at least that is what I’m gathering from the two times that we have used the score cards). the dialougueSLAM, for the unitiated, adds a topic to the Slam and we advise the judges to score low if the poet goes off-topic. Last nights topic- Love Succeeding. Great side effect is that it produced some great work and even if the poets goes to the well, at least it’s a shallow well. Speaking of which, I ended up sac-goating at the last second when Jayme backed out on me, and went with my own love poem “Ceviche” and though I tried to go over time and did everything I could to get a low score, I still managed to stay under three AND scored better than 9 of the 10 first rounders. Of course, this wonderful fact will NOT repeat itself should I actually Slam.
The end of the year is approaching for Slam and I am close to throwing down again. Last time around, I went second in a Slam that was all score creep all the time with a very unpolished piece and went down in a blaze of mediocrity. Honestly, I have suffered more when my coffee has cream instead of milk (for real! I take my café very serious!) and it was just another chance to try something different. Now, I am caught up in the debate of the Poetry_Slam listserve and look at the thoughts of Keith Roach… laughing his ass off as muthafuckahs wonder why the best poets never win and Keith figuring out that if you think the best poet always wins a three round Slam… then you deserve all the angst you get.
I’ve been trying to figure out how to change the Slam’s old format and skew it so that it focuses more attention on writing…. there are a couple of ideas but they all eliminate the possibility of putting the paddles in the hands of five neophytes. Radical? Yeah… but the wheel which is Slam is busted if it’s trying to raise the standard of art. Don’t believe me? Try explaining it to someone that loves art but knows nothing of performance poetry. They will laugh right at your mug.
I look at a ton of poet’s bios and know of a whole bunch that have been to Nationals and, save for the winners, don’t bother putting it down. Factor in that some awards carry enough prestige that you can list yourself as a nominee and ride the wave… then what does that say about Nats?
When I look and see some winners of Slam titles not list said victories in their professional resumes… what does that say about Slam?