I am always tired the evening after I go to the poetry slam, but it is almost always worth it. Last night, I wouldn't have missed it, even if it meant staying up all night and walking around like a zombie today, drooling on the photocopier and answering the phone like this: "Garrrragggzzzklk?" And that is saying a lot, because I do love my sleep. I think my pillow is something I would keep on a desert island list of essentials not to give up. Just six or seven hours of the deep dive into restfulness and I'm all exuberated all over again (that's a word from slam host Barbara Adler by the way, as in "Are you all exuberated for the second round?).
Last night I got by on five hours but I was exuberated before I slept and exuberated again remembering what a fun night.
Chrystalene, one of our best poets and organizer of WordPlay poetry workshops for students, hosted an "instant poetry" session before the slam. There were 4 of us writing. We began with a free-write and selecting then progressed to writing our own pieces that had to include a phrase and a word:
be prepared to stop
We committed to performing our pieces that same evening in the slam, which was fun to do, but also very frightening. I'm used to totally memorizing each piece, and being really ready to live inside it while I perform. Now I had something written on the pages of my notebook that I wasn't even sure if I'd be able to see up on stage. I do dislike taking my glasses off in front of people still. Luckily, all of our instant poems went over very well. Chrystalene explained to the audience what we'd done, so there was a bit of extra appreciation and encouragement. I did a pretty sentimental and personal piece about talking to a teenager about love and sex. I was afraid it would be too gooey or Hallmark cardy. Like those "I have the sweetest most amazing child in the world" poems, which are lovely personally but not so good for performance. But the audience responded enthusiastically and I made it to the second round. Also created on the theme were a call and response poem by Sean, thanking everyone who helped him weather a traumatic break-up; a jilted love poem by Chrystalene which, she said, was not all true; and a hilarious story about a pre-teen boy-girl party game, by Lisa.
I hope I'll get to do that again some time. I won't be quite so scared, which will be too bad. The first time of doing something new and challenging is always the best. It will be fun to see others try it.
Mike McGee featured. His "Midnight" poem knocked our socks off. Mike has a heart as big as the world and he puts it authentically into his work, and he's funny and intelligent and one of the most engaging performers I have ever seen. He's been best in the world more than once. Lucky us he calls Vancouver his second home. Now I am listening to all 115 tracks on his "compilation of every CD I ever recorded" a generous-beyond-imagining thing of beauty.
Irene came to the slam too, and almost left before Mike arrived (that's who she really wanted to see) then almost left again before the show started. But then the show started and she was still there and she performed "Chick-a-boom" and brought the house down and she was mighty happy indeed.
A good night, so very good. I am lucky. and tired.
Pillow pillow I love you. Here I come.
question: what is worth staying up for in your world?
mompoet - glad that the slam is one of mine