the weekend

friday: no poetry! instead, i had a nice dinner at my sister’s , ate paella and backed ziti, watched the knicks retire ewing’s jersey and hung with the fam. who got mad at me because they found out i have been on some local cable stations doing, what else, poetry at a local reading. i would let them know when it’s on but it’s a pretty bad performance (i didn’t know they were taping this to air) of one poem and then ‘mercy on the battlefield’ thank god for that poem.

saturday: yes poetry! shot over to a music gig ray was doing down in crook.lyn. met up with seve and his boy chris (who owns a fire engine, two state trooper cycles, can make bombs and used to own an ambulance! and meanwhile, brown people everywhere get stopped just for winding their watches) at the spot we met up with lynne, elana, sabrina, syreeta and were joined by mara.

the music was good but ray only played on two pieces. what’s up wit dat? hakuma matata, as we brought a fifth of j.d. and enjoyed it with some coca-cola that we had to travel deep into the ghetto to get.

afterwards, we hit a local bar, overtook their jukebox and got crunk for the rest of the night.

line of the night: as we are partying, a group of caucasians shoots us a dirty look like if dancing and singing in a bar is inappropriate behavior. i say. “the white people are mad because we are showing people how to get their groove on.”

mara then jumps in, “too bad! cuz that’s my job!” of course, mara is white with the soul of a blueswoman which makes this joke extremely funny. trust me. we cavaliered till 2 in the am and then the ride home had a TON of off-color jokes that involved sean connery, astroglide, horse carriages, alex trebeck, dildoes, asians, unicorns, the ghetto, frank sinatra, being single, honesty, toilets and blondes. ya had to be there.

sunday: hosted the youth slam, went to the blue ox, had a convo with the owner, took ed garcia home, had some drinks, saw the simpsons, talked about staging national competitions in nyc, hit a local bar, talked about a latino writers workshop, more drinks and then started plotting on making CDs for this bar that had god-awful music and from this there will be a poem for sure that should have been written a while back.

monday: memorized a new poem, ‘el ultimo canto’ which is the first poem i have been in love with for a long, long time. i am slamming tonight which means i will be very happy tomorrow or will question why i ever picked up a pen. the last slam where i had high hopes ended with the death of a journal and some severe depression. add the fact that ed, lynne and ray are sure to slam and i am living dangerously.


“Societies never know it, but the war of an artist with his society is a lover’s war, and he does, at his best, what lovers do, which is to reveal the beloved to himself and, with that revelation, to make freedom real.” James Baldwin

the muse is up late

and she is not taking no for an answer

i am almost finished with one poem and finished this tidbit that came from an exercise roger threw out.

btw, this is not an exclusive club. go to rog’s journal over at and you will get all kinds of writing exercises, reading recommendations and early poems.

From: "Roger Bonair-Agard"

Date: Sat Feb 1, 2003 12:21 pm

Subject: write muthafuckas! write!

here's your writing exercise. bring it to bar 13 on monday or the monday

after that or the one after that...

which night is yours? what part of the dark belongs to you?


i’m holding a beer bottle high in the air

to distillate the colors of the night

as i toast the urban forest

a train rolls by

flashing sparks alongside the el

and i see my place

in the orange glow of streetlights

this is the only darkness

i have ever known

where god shines down

like the empire state building

dressed in hues of green

and still means

that the ambulances

are obeying streetlights

and silent means

that the cops

are using batons

i avoid the stark luminance

of blue lights imitating day

and run under constellations

of apartment lights

dancing across the bricks

of tenements

sometimes hiding in the gray

of shadows that give shortened

breaths a chance to reclaim lungs

and get ready to bounce to the next

row of penumbras guiding me through

rows of late night gas stations

and bulletproof revolving trays

ready for that next forty

life lines that tell me

i am never more lost

than when i am comfortable

in the dark

open letter

things for the last year and a half have been crazy. i have seen you go through the lows and the highs (and it all tastes like forgetting) the times for excuses is running out fast. i wish you the best of luck and hope that you come through this all right. i understand that we won’t be speaking as much as we used to and i’m ok with that. you don’t have to talk to me but i am going to talk through you… a lot. let that voice come through. that’s what got you hear. for good and bad. tell them all about the lattice that keeps the glass from harming the children, the ‘new’ american express card, the dance through the branches, the choice of being who you are and what they think you are and please tell them about the last songs… i hope you can explain to them about the first song and its color and how it tastes like chicken. for your own sake, tell them about it all and don’t leave anything out.

change that, ima go through this with you because i cant trust it just to you. YOU cant trust it just to you. you have to finally let people in and let them share in the glory and in the failure.

i think it can change really quick and you can have a good night of sleep, in an uncluttered room, without worrying about the sounds, not sleeping in jeans for fear you may have to run out, dusting the old souvenirs, picking up that brush and admitting how much it meant to you, acknowledging your tears and how they don’t mean shit to the souvenirs.

ima go now. our visits will be less frequent but more meaningful and ima hug you like a brother the next time i see you and you can tell me all about the days getting longer and how that feels good and i’ll tell you about the nights and how i’m fighting her off for you. keeping her away so that she doesn’t hurt you no more. there’s no reason one person should have that type of power over another.

take care,


beau sia

ah… the man, the myth, the legend. well, i didn’t always feel that way about him.

beau was the very first person i ever saw on the mic at 13. here i am half-expecting some finger snappin’. laid back poetry and i walk into this raucous reading of the ‘asians are coming.’ it was almost enough to make me leave. remember, at that point, my longest poem is 100 words long and they are all about the sun & the tides and booty. on the other side of the coin, we have this guy reading from memory, at the top of his lungs, looking like he’s going to hurt somebody.

as we know, i didn’t leave. saw beau finish his poems and stuck around for the rest of the night. i was so impressed with beau that i went out of my way to tell him so. the very first taste of poetic ‘awe’ and what did i get for my troubles? a simple ‘uuhhmm, thanks’ in the most low key voice you ever heard in your life. my quick math said… exhuberant spoken word artist mumbling at me in a half-monotone voice equals someone not looking to talk to me.

my next few experiences around beau were no better. he would occasionally drop by 13 and hang out in the farthest corner of the bar and would speak to only a few people. i didn’t think much of it. considered him very aloof and didn’t bother getting within 5 feet of him for fear that i may bore him to death again.

flash forward to the 2002 nationals and my role as ‘sacrificial poet’

the bout that i sac’ed for included beau’s san fran team. i got to hear beau kick his ‘extreme’ piece and, despite my preconceptions, was once again wowed by his performance. after the bout ended, i was chilling outside plotting my next move when the enigmatic mr sia comes up to me and compliments me on my performance of ‘mercy on the battlefield’ in the same low-key voice i first heard from him but now i was armed with a greater understanding of pets and realized that whatever happens on-stage stays there. you may be displaying this manic revolutionary but inside you could be just as confused as everybody else/ you could be the most rico sauve poet and not know jack about women/ you get the point.

and that is beau… this wonderful mix of different personalities that explode on stage, mostly his in.yo.face.motherfucker! side but if you listen well, his comes out.

it all cemented a few months back when i got to check out ‘def poetry on broadway’ with some school kids. after the performance, i was chilling with their teacher and waiting for some of the poets to come out and hook up the kids with autographs. i see beau, compliment on his performance and i get the same low-key ‘uhhmm, thanks’

here is the moral of the story kids… whenever you approach a poet, talk to the person, not the character on stage, or even the poem itself. it’s hard because the words and persona may be so provocative and you are really curious to find out if all those things happened and what happened to the people in them. don’t do it. just chill and respect the person in front of you. they may share with you or they may not. just deal with it and move on. you never know said person may become a cool friend down the road and then you may find out more than you ever wanted to know about all them poems.

or you could find a cool mo’fo like beau who, in front of one of the most prettiest woman i have met in quite a bit (thank you poetry), offered to comp me the next time i go to his show.

beau sia… the man, the myth, the legend… for real y’all