Twice since arriving in Scotland, I have woken up with a slam nascent and pacing, on the perimeter of my consciousness. Even in the dark and the cold of my room, this is the muse and it gets me up writing.
Slam poetry is performance – natural territory for truth telling, the way most art is. That sleepy scrawl is just the beginning. What develops later is quick, tight phrasing, a vocal explosion, and then, in the fashion of traditional rhetoric, a gentle return to the repeated line. When the interaction of poem and performance is accomplished, it lands between image and emotion, making a case for something logical and occasionally preposterous. Emotional truths are not always logical, but the most powerful story or argument is both. Slam poetry is an ideal venue for truths so funny your belly aches from laughing, or so full of sorrow that breath catches in your throat. Sometimes truth leaves you running for cover.
Discipline cultivates the ability to recognize and grab hold of opportunities to render truth. I am learning to be ready for it, learning to channel its offerings in the wee hours, the minutes in transit between classes, even in the grocery store.
A good slam poet compels you to stand waist deep in a marsh, waiting cold for the punch line or resolution. I want to be a person who brings poetry to debate. I want to tell truth so it can be heard. I want to slam.