travelin back to new york with marc anthony and la india blaring on the radio. tata is rockin a dam good tune while profe and fish are keepin themselves entertained with parodies. i love it.
the poets asylum was all that and some seasoned bagel chips. them worcester folks is MAD rowdy and damn good listeners. lets start with the cold hard facts:
Spanglish- The New Mother Tongue
Poem for the Hispanics who insist on mispronouncing
the menu items at the Chino-Latino restaurant
The New York Times finally got it right
when they took the R out of my “a’ight”
Paying the Toll
Carried Game by Jai Chakrabarti
Where’s the new shit, O?
She Reads The Letter, Oblivious To The Fact
That She Missed Her Stop Fifteen Minutes Ago
My Father Teaches Me The Aesthetics of Poetry At Age 8
Getting Ronald Reagan to Visit the South Bronx
Anything to Declare?
About B-Boys in the Boogie Down
Oda Para Leticia
Zero Hour at the Event Horizon
Mercy on the Battlefield
whew! the biggest challenge of putting together this set was mixing up the pieces where i could keep the energy up and moving. not all of my pieces end on definitive notes and that leaves some audiences scratchin their heads wonderin exactly how i could be on the mic for so long and NOT detail exaclty how republicans lie, the blueprint for ending racism and the date poetry will be the new TV.
luckily the java hut crowd is not looking for that. instead, they are on the hunt for strong lines, good imagery and tight metaphor and their feedback says they found some of that in my work.
the initial set list was pretty rich with the spanglish so i threw in Cartography in there to break that up and to also perform it with some early feature high energy. in bodybuilding, you work out your weak body parts early to let them catch up with your stronger body parts. same concept here.
from there the ‘short poem’ part of the night to the ‘new shit’ but i cant assume they are goona vibe with the short poems and sometimes the new shit is a lil TOO new so i break it up with Paying the Toll (kinda short, kinda new and funny finish) and Carried Game (ya didnt know Jai wrote a poem about Latinos playin soccer did ya?)
from the new stuff to the core of this set. the ‘where im from’ section. it feels good to gice the bronx a good shout out and unless i come up with a new poem, this may well be the set for the BX1 Festival (more details soon to come)
more on the ‘where i’m from’ tip but this time focusing on ecuador and then Zero Hour which got a very strange reaction. something i was kinda expecting as its one of my more surreal pieces. no worries cuz from there we end on the ol stand by.
the flow went near perfect. my banter was also dead on. with me telling good stories without giving away the core of the poems or apologizing for anything.
preparation was the key here. i had this set list in my head for the last 24 hours and had all the poems ready to go. with the good flow and personal satisfaction i am gettin from She Reads The Letter and About B-Boys, i wasnt stressin out that i didnt have NEW new shit and just focused on gettin down the flow.
the last time i had to put together a 30 min set was for the Syracuse Univeristy reading and i damn near crapped myself in the process with an end result that was not the bestfeedback ive ever received. amazing what 8 months does. this time around i had extra(!) poems in my holster. a full ten more poems i could have busted out if need be.
the highlight of the evening was presenting Tony Brown with a copy of the set list and all the poems (cept for Jai’s as i only had one copy on me). tony is a poet’s poet and i was happy to give a lil sumthin back to him.
did i mention that the Acentos crew rocked out? hell yes! they all brought the fire and i was happy to acknowkledge them from the mic.
the cherry on top– chapbook sales… thru the roof!
okey dokes, i need some sleep.
love ya like the pocket knife i carry just cuz