Thursday, July 17, 2008

Last Slam in Lincoln, plus a new poem

Here are the news for slam-poetry:

1) I am now in the "Vagina" poem instead of John Mark. Oracle J and I are working some really awesome choreography; my job is to channel the internal 13-year-old who doesn't shut up with the puns, except lewd.

I was totally that 13-year-old with the puns, but I didn't know enough innuendo to be too terribly lewd.

Plus it means I don't need to stay still for a poem for once.

2) John Mark and I re-wrote "Magyarazni" (the Hungarian Poem) completely. It's now about finding places that are home. It's also probably a lot better, though I'd imagine that John Mark might still desire to strangle me just a little bit. Though I can't say I blame him, especially given how much work I was making him do at 1 am.

3) Slammed the last time ever in Lincoln, at least on an individual basis. I can't say that it's entirely sunken in just yet. Bob Nelson, from Arizona was there, and he did a rockin' feature - nothing too loud or crazy, just a good guy reading some good poetry. I read "Magnifying Glass" and it seems as though I was in 2nd place (behind good ol' Chris Book) going into the second round, before I brought out Redwood Spines (an automatic DQ 'cause it's co-written, rather than entirely original), and then proceeded to forget major portions... it'd have been much easier if JM was there so I didn't have to remember his lines. I should have run an Italian or something, but one of the judges gave me Avogadro's number as a score, which totally made my night. Chris Book ended up winning with the ADHD poem, and pulled a much tighter performance of it than I remember him doing before. Which is awesome.

After that, Bob, Ryan, and company went to IHOP (Ryan made me go with, under penalty of death), and we talked about non-profit organizations. Bob has some awesome things to say, and we all learned a lot. I'd capitalize "lot", but even that would not convey the magnitude of things learned... sometimes typography is remarkably underwhelming.

So it was a good night.

Here's the poem I was going to read in the 2nd round before I decided to go with something louder and bigger:


We knew the war was over when
daisies started growing out of the tanks.
They took root in the iron and steel,
leeched the oil and gasoline from the engines
and forced their roots into the seams and joints,
through the rivets and welds
and tore the tanks apart.

The daisies grew fast,
the roots forced their way into the tanks
and into the mouths of the soldiers inside,
frothy, verdant suffocation.

We knew the war was over when the artillery shells
stopped exploding, their dull muted thuds
absorbed by the rainforest that grew around them,
and the cannons were pulled into the ground
and devoured by a carpet of creeper vines.

The creeper vines snaked along the causeway
covering our roads and enveloping our houses
in thick leafy fecundity, forcing open the walls
and cracking the foundations, dissolving the mortar
and bringing our buildings in on themselves

We knew the war was over when
the rifles disintegrated in our hands
covered by bullet-stained moss.
when our pockets were full of only brass casings
and grenade pins.

We didn't see the wall of water come
after the dams crumbled, the way it swept away
the bridges and jeeps, the way it carried away
the bodies and the rubble, the way it knocked
us to the ground and left us gasping for air
amidst the puddles and pools.

We knew the war was over when the wheat fields and
orchards grew back, sopping up the water and
turning the air sticky moist with the aftertaste of death done.

We went to the fields hungry, scared and tired,
eating the fruit as it grew and filling our distended bellies
until our ribs were no longer visible.

We harvested wheat as juice ran down our chins.