April 1, 2011

SLAMMIN in Santa Cruz!

So as promised I did begin slamming again! First time in 8 years. A few nights ago. In Santa Cruz. It was awesome. But I didn't win. Not that I expected to, but...you never know. :)

Na, it was really cool though. I had some fierce/great competition. A couple members of the UCSC slam team (which got 2nd at nationals) were competing that night, so I really would've had to bring out my best poems to have a chance against em, and I didn't. I decided to try out an old piece I've never performed before. I already figured it wasn't anything amazing but...the timing seemed right to test it out, so I did.

Part of the reason I did that one though was because I got thrown off by how they do it there. They only have two rounds (normally (in my experience at least) there's three) and the first round is only one minute. When I found that out I was like" shit, what poems do I have that are under a minute?!" Again, it's been SO LONG since I've competed or even been to one of these things, I thought it best to play by the rules, stay between the lines and such, and since I happened to be the FIRST one up for some reason, I didn't have a chance to see that everyone else just says "fuck the time limit" (which they said many times actually) and does whatever! I woulda been better off doing that too (if I wanted a chance to win) but at the same time I'm glad I tested that one out. It got a decent score, outta five judges, it got one ten, a nine somethin, and an eight somethin and so on. But it got a low score of 4, so...that hurt. It felt good though, I didn't really care about the scores much, I'm mainly just in it for the experience, the rush, the practice. Everything else is gravy.

Honestly, the best part of it all was getting to share that part of my existence with Erica and getting to see her reaction. Which was awesome! She was stoked by the whole experience, but also by my performances, and seein her surprise and joy was all the support and motivation I could ask for that night. Think I may have even made a convert out of her, she wants to go back and do it herself. MAD PROPS if she does!

I love bein able to SHARE this side of me with you guys though, that is easily one of the best parts of this trip home. As soon as I started doing it again, as soon as I felt that desire and the hunger to perform and then did that first time in Bangkok, it instantly became ridiculous to me that I ever stopped AND that so few people in my life even know that I CAN do this. I'm like a closeted heterosexual...poet. A very straight poet who's been in the closet for a very long time. For some reason. Even though I'm not gay at all. It's time to tear those slatted doors off the hinges! Or at least knock down a wall, make it a walk-in closet and invite all of you inside. "Pay no mind to the feather boas in the corner guys, those aren't mine, I swearrr!"

Back to the slam, regardless of my score in the first round, that little dinky poem I wrote in 1998 was good enough to get me into the second round! I made the cut, from 8 poets to 4. The second round was three minutes, much better, enough time to spread the wings a bit. And I brought what seems to be one of my better pieces, the one I performed at Anja's housewarming, my NYE poem, and it came out perfectly. Powerfully. I felt it, every step of the way. And it seems like I blew that crowd away with it. I GOT THREE TENS! I don't remember anybody else getting that many perfect scores all night. Those judges were not generous, but they couldn't deny me on that one. It was awesome. I think the low score was like an 8.6. So that one rocks for sure! I'll be bringin that one to Seattle, no doubt!

Oh yeah, I did that one without a mic too! Can you imagine?? :)
Well I hope so, cuz we did a terrible job of documenting the night!

I wasn't sure where I stood in the scores, I couldn't remember my own from the first round, so I was a little hopeful that the second one might swing me up there but...the competition was just too strong. These were seasoned pros for all intents and purposes, on their home turf! And their poems were excellent. In the end it didn't matter how great my second poem was, the first one had to be top notch too. If I hadn't gone first, I coulda cased the place and figured that out but...it's cool. I think Seattle would be a much cooler place to win it anyway! No offense Santa Cruz ;).

After it was over I had a couple people come up and talk to me and say some nice things, and then when it was one of the team members, I could tell they were kinda scoutin and wantin to recruit me :). It was cool.
They're all, "you should come back for the next one, really!"
And I'm all, "I don't live here, I'm just passin thru town, havin a little fun."
"Then you can drive back in a couple weeks, c'mon! Where do you live?"
".......Oh! ....Well that's not very close."
"No it's not" :)

It was cute. It was fun. It was really a great warm up and that's kinda how I see it. Cuz while I did do my best, I know I didn't bring my best work out so.....guess what I'm gonna do next time?! OH YEAH, GUNS-A-BLAZIN! Seattle's slam has to be even bigger than this one. And the competition has to be just as fierce, which is fine, I don't expect it to come easy. But I really do believe if I do three of my bestest poems and do em well, I can take the cake! And I'm lookin forward to the day that I do.

I'll let you know how it goes folks. The next one is Seattle on the 5th and then Phoenix on the ninth. Both of em could be bigguns. I'm gonna miss the one in Portland (unfortunately) it looks like and I haven't found out about Austin yet, but....if I place in the next two, I think I'll be pretty damn satisfied! Wish me luck guys, I do hope to make ya proud!

Peace out & Palabra!

(the featured poets doin their thing in tandem. Also the ONE picture I took while we were there. WHAT? I WAS FOCUSED!)