Tuesday, August 05, 2008

I got slammed

Ah, the Vancouver poetry slam. Such an excellent institution of Commercial Drive. I have been going almost every Monday for the past couple of months, and the first time I slammed, I won! The past couple of times i competed, I got fourth place, which was pretty awesome considering who I was up against. These people are amazing--funny, unpretentious, never what you would expect.

As a result, of course, I started getting an ego on me. I invited just about everyone I know last night, including my parents and my new roommate expecting to at least make it to the second round. I opened with a known winner--the poem I won with the first time. It did not do so well! I didn't make it to the second round. Luckily my parents love me anyway.

This is what happens when you start getting such a big head you invite your parents to things. What was I thinking?

For your perusal, here is the poem from last night:

On Musicians and their Mystery

Tonight you played, you played me
on your accordion.
You played me so good that according
to the flush I flushed pink I got embarrassed.
I don’t remember what you were singing but it shamed me
It really shamed me, you know, to my toes.

Your voice and your accordion
crashed through iron tonight, through my walls I built of iron
strong stuff, but you could tell me stories
about myself that even I wasn’t sure were true.

Just me and a plastic auditorium seat,
Jaw bones and rib cage threatening out
You made me feel things, I was feeling all these feelings,
but suddenly, so suddenly—
it wasn’t just me and a plastic auditorium seat
but a whole lot of strangers seeing me feeling me feeling
and I felt so suddenly so
Devisably visibly uninvisible.

For the first time tonight I saw you,
for the first time I felt the raw power of your—
Really, and what an instrument to shame me with.
You know things about telling stories that I,
with my total deafness of tone
and complete discord with accordions
can only tell about telling.

You were so loud up there though,
just filling the whole room with my
deepest, darkest secrets that I had secreted away
from you musicians and your magic tricks
even though you never knew me, will never know me,
your listener.
Your audience.
your disgraced, humiliated,
eternally devoted
forever and ever

I wanted to tell you—I planned immediately—
I imagined myself saying—
“Thank you. You shamed me. Take me home with you.
Fill all my rooms with your song and we
will try to understand everything together.”

But I left with the crowd,
too embarrassed to look for you
aware of what a weakness it was to be touched.

I have none of your talent
none of the access you seem to have to me.
I’ll never understand it,
not being a musician myself.

I’ll find a way to let you know, though.
I’ll use the word “transcendental.”
Maybe I’ll pour you a coffee,
or write you a poem,
and it will be so good it shames you to your toes,
and you will never forget that poem or cup of coffee,
not having poured it yourself.

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