Friday, February 26, 2010

Poetry Slammed

A while back I attended my first Poetry Slam.  I've never been much of a poet--typically I leave that department to my sister--but I didn't have anything else interesting going on that night, and thought the opportunity might prove intriguing.  I debated the idea of bringing some pre-written material, but ultimately decided that if everyone else was going to be composing on the spot, then I probably should too.

So here are the two "poems" I penned at the event, in all their raw, unadulterated glory.  For the first round, everyone wrote down a Valentines-related topic down on a blank piece of paper and circulated them around the room.  The topic I drew was "Gondola Ride in Venice," which I promptly distorted into more of a "Gondola Ride in the Venitian Casino in Vegas" theme:

floating the canal, we three
the gondola dude, my love, and me
fifteen dollars well spent
nirvana...ooh baby

the Venitian looking so alive
shoppers staring as we ride
my love grabs my right arm
"nirvana," she coos..."ooh baby"

hard to believe, hard to conceive,
that we only met three hours prior
down at the Bellagio
playing keno...ooh baby

our driver, the gondola dude, he smells
of apricot, apples and fine cheese
his shift ends at ten
lobster buffet...ooh baby

i can't remember how i got here
my last memories so hazy
surviving the quantum mind probe
alien abduction...ooh baby

the romantic ride so near its end
elvis looks down from nearby rail
you the man, the king he sneers
chapel 'o love...ooh baby

The first poem was received well, but I felt it was a little too formal, so for the next round I tried to go for something a little more stream-of-consciousness spontaneity, more appropriate for a beat-poet poetry slam forum. I named it after something I found on the inside cover of a nearby children's book.

Platt & Munk Publishers, New York, New York

super fly monk man
out on the town
cruisin for chicks baby
boo-ya diddly-doo sha-wow wow
dull dank night is cool yo
monk man shuffles his feet
funkadelic show boatin free floatin easy strokin
no room tonight for hatin'
sucka mc's debatin'
super fly monk man ain't waitin'
hit the club yo do some disco
whip out his banjo kick some tae-bo
ladies faint by the dozens, rollin bass lines smooth techno jumbo
monk man gotta go-go
eat some sushi rolls hot and spicy tempura paradise
can't get saki on the dance floor gonna fly like rocky head out like a baby
make like a tree and leave leave
late night strollin monk man ain't foolin groovin to the bongo beat beat
tight pants be shiny smooth rattlesnake scales ouch if you go wrong way baby
hair be slick back duck tail droppin curly fro hoppin
pimpin kicks smackin sidewalk slappin cerulean blue
2 am coming still no ladies showing gotta step it up to the rhythm rhythm
lights reflecting street signs directing posh super fly would you like to take a ride in my hovercraft?
super fly monk man out on the town
ain't no love in Boise tonight

For some reason, this second poem was voted best of the night, largely because my recitation reminded people of Vanilla Ice.  So I don't know whether to take it as a compliment or not.  All I know is that Walt Whitman is probably spinning in his grave.