reporting live from junior high school 56 in the loisaida-
since nina doesnt have a response section (hint-hint) i’ll have to post here…
for half a second, i had a poet name- “de la palabra” (and here come the jokes…)
not content with the uniqueness of oscar bermeo, my young poet self had to come up with an alter-ego. i think it was born from the fact that i was getting slaughtered in slams and i was going to attribute the defeats to the “new” poet as opposed to oscar.
why de la palabra? there is a long list of famous oscar_de las- de la hoya, de la renta and de leon (not a de_la but close enough) and i was going to add one more to the line. oscar_de_la_palabra.
after a slam at 13 (where i was just treated like a red headed stepchild), george mckibbens comes up to me and asks if i would be on a team of slammers he was putting together for a tournament kool breeze was organizing. i said sure and joined george, brother earl and evert eden (and that line-up is worthy of a blog entry all by itself) in a slam going down at sean (whatever his name is today) combs restaurant- justin’s. justin’s was about the worst place ever for a slam cuz people were having dinner only inches away from the quote.stage.unquote. with an audience more interested in steak and fries than verse and metaphor, we competed against the nuyorican squad and some other group from i_dont_remember_where. host nathan p comes up to me and briefly recollects me from this spot in the bx called kays cafe. “oscar, right?” yeah “but how do you say your last name?” i tried to go over it with him a few times and each incarnation was worst than the one before. nathan p was stabbing my language with a rusty spoon and i was helping him. finally it comes time for me to go up….
“next on the mic- oscar duh ler pay lab… uh… oscar dee lez pah… oscar” and i just rush the stage after that and do my thing. i took it as a sign from above that poet names were evil and i should stick with what i had.
for the record- i still like the flow of nina parrilla and it was fun coming up with it. i think jess should call herself whatever she wants to and that she will eventually stick with jess but the only way she’s gonna know for sure is by going through the whole process. google’ing people is fun and was my main source of info on poets in the pre-blog days.
and if you call me de la palabra, you’d better have a drink in your hand ready to pass to me so that when we can toast the past and have a laugh together the right way.
coming to you from clinton and henry street,
this is oscar bermeo