Saturday, April 19, 2008

Festival Slam

I no idea how a Poetry Slam worked. I sat in on a session with Patricia Johnson, a past winner of National Poetry Slam competitions, and a devout Christian. She currently works as the PIO for the Sheriff Department in Roanoake, VA. She read some of her poetry, but she primarily discussed the emotion behind belief, faith, and poetry. She was sincere, real, and dynamic -- even, and especially, in prayer.

She was hosting a Slam at the Calvin College coffee house tonight. I was tired after a full day of sessions and presentations, but my goal has been to absorb as much about poetry, and poetry presentations, as I could. So i went to the Fish House to watch.

I heard some of the best poetry all week. Where were these folks on open mic night the past two nights??!! And there was true diversity here; plenty of pain, emotion, excitement, and wonderful use of words and cadence. Rap and hip-hop without the music -- altho some of the presenters did sing part of their poetry. Each reader has three minutes at the microphone, and Patricia had three tables of judges on hand to do the scoring, on a 1-10 scale.

I didn't sign up initially, so I did not bring my poetry. But i was fascinated by the quality of the material, and the fun that people had on stage. So I started writing, and under prodding by Patricia, I finished enough lines to read. I was the last of about 12-13 readers -- and I came in 5th! The top 5 do another round, but I had no more words left.

So I was exposed to another facet of poetry, one that fosters incredible emotion, lyricism, and fun. That's what words are for.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Hi David, This was forwarded to me from a colleague and I thought it was germane to your poem and you might like it.
best, Mike

Poem: "Borrowed Time" by David Moreau from Sex, Death and Baseball © Moon Pie Press, 2004. Reprinted with permission. Borrowed Time

I will not die tonight
I will lie in bed with
my wife beside me,
curled on the right
like an animal burrowing.
I will fit myself against her
and we will keep each other warm.

I will not die tonight.
My son who is seven
will not slide beneath the ice
like the boy on the news.
The divers will not have to look
for him in cold water.
He will call, "Daddy, can I get up now?"
in the morning.

I will not die tonight.
I will balance the checkbook,
wash up the dishes
and sit in front of the TV
drinking one beer.

For the moment I hold a winning ticket.
It's my turn to buy cold cuts
at the grocery store.
I fill my basket carefully.

For like the rain that comes now
to the roof and slides down the gutter
I am headed to the earth.
And like the others, all the lost
and all the lovers, I will follow
an old path not marked on any map.