Tag Archives: spoken word

Essay Reject #1


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.

This is your reward for making it through Essay Reject #1. I realize you could skip directly to the reward, but that would be cheating, so I'm sure you didn't.


Oh Baby Baby, Excitement and Tragedy


I have written a poem that could be called a slam. As in, I wrote it. It’s finished, complete, bop boom bang!

I need to apologize now, though, for getting your hopes up, because a slam poem cannot be shared in print or blog before it has been properly performed. And unfortunately, there’s a small chance that I will die of terror before I am able to conjure up the mental energy and constitution to dramatically perform a piece of spoken word. Basically, this post is a tragedy of the future.

As an aside, I am currently sitting in an extremely uncomfortable position and considering how this will affect the long-term health of my body. I am the kind of person who takes very seriously the long-term health of my body, which makes this a profound and significant aside. Also, the fact that I can’t seem to find a comfortable position may actually be a contemporaneous tragedy with the moment of Now.

In other words, this post is tragic.