June 11, 2012

Home is What We Make of It

It's good to finally post this poem. It's been a soldier, and it's that much closer to a well deserved retirement. This has been my Go-To poem for years whenever I need to introduce somebody to "Performance Poetry." It WORKS! It has all the ingredients of a good performance poem. Not large portions of those ingredients, mind you, but enough dashes to give people a taste of what this art is and can be.

It's got a simple rhyme scheme which helps keep the listener's attention. It's got a character, since I perform it as a gay flight attendant. Gay in the old sense of the word, of course ;). It's got a nice variety of images. It's simple but complex since it is satirical. And that satire paves the way to humor, which is one of the most important ingredients for a "Well-Rounded" performance piece. Because of the humor, this piece is guaranteed to elicit an audible response from the crowd in the MIDDLE of the poem. THAT'S important. If you can't make a crowd laugh, gasp, moan or cry, then you're not doin it right. This poem does that almost every time. It's short, pointed, and to the point. Just like Jon Stewart. :D

I guess what is most notable about this poem is its age. It's old! I wrote March 2nd of 2000, which puts me just shy of 19, my first year of college. 12 years old and it STILL works. That's awesome. I haven't changed a thing, and when people find out how old it is, they're like, "Hmph, you coulda wrote it yesterday, still true." And I'm like, "I know, right!" Nothin's changed folks, just more people are aware of it.
It's also worth noting that that means I didn't write it as a performance poem. I didn't know what performance poetry/slam poetry was at that point in time. But once I did learn about it a couple years later, I went back and a few pieces, like this one, just seemed to lend themselves to it naturally. And the true potential of the poem was born. Pretty cool. And now look at it, it's been with me a long time. And I even started using it in class to teach what satire is as part of my introduction to Animal Farm. Which coincidentally is right now! The only time I do anything with my poetry in class is performing THIS poem, as I just did twice last week and once more tomorrow. But that's not why I'm posting it now. I'm postin it now cuz I also performed it at a gig last week, as part of the Dine in the Dark WORLD ENVIRONMENT DAY on June 5th. Which is really awesome.

I got the call to serve up some poetry and I knew just the piece. This piece. I love it, it's so useful. I'm glad my teenage self was cool enough to write it. I never ever would've imagined the life this poem has lived.

Anyway, I just thought it was high time I put it on the internet. I'm sure I probably put it up on my old blog back in the myspace days, but that was many years ago. And I haven't wanted to ruin it for any of you by letting you read it first, but now I've about performed it as much as I can. It's a got a couple more public events left in it's Bangkok life, but eventually I'll just save it for private events or friendly demonstrations. I hate making people hear my poems more than once or twice. Really. It's probably a stupid hate to have for this line of art, but...I know they're never gonna have the same punch after that. And if they don't make you feel anything thennnnnn what's the point?

At some point I should do a video for this and get it up on youtube too. I'm gettin a little bored of the one take videos in my room but...maybe one more for old times' sake. ;)

Enjoy the poem. Remember to imagine me reading it like a VERY gay flight attendant. But in the old sense of the word.



Home is What We Make of It


Welcome to the world Where We Don't Care
If you're just passing through, then please don't stare
You might provoke the natives and make them self-conscious
and they really don't like that, so please, be cautious

If you're planning to visit, then we welcome your presence
Understand that the pollution and violence is all part of the essence
We do everything we can to make it completely carefree
And making sure you never have to think is part of that guarantee

If you're planning to stay, well then you came to the right place
The more the merrier as we all say, and don't you worry about space
If push comes to shove we'll just knock down some more trees
then you can jump on the freeways and go anywhere you please

We can mass-produce anything to accommodate your every need
and we have so much technology, you don't even have to be able to read
You can live whatever life you want through a cellular phone
and if you ever become homeless, we promise, you won't be alone

Here, the world truly is your apple, so don't be afraid to bite
And don't let yourself be discouraged by someone else's plight
They will have their day, so let this one be yours
and enjoy the world from war divided continents to oil-slick ocean shores

It's all about boiling yourself down to your senses
only then can you cast aside your pretenses
That's when you'll feel that global energy in the air
and you'll know you're in the world Where We Don't Care

1 comment:

Kausam Salam said...

Funny poem! Definitely makes me think about our lifestyle today.