Friday, April 25, 2003

When I first came on the slam scene, I ranted a lot. In my poetry, I mean. Or what I was passing off as poetry. :-O

My free write from yesterday was turning into something interesting by the end of the day, too complex to finish before Urbana, and I wanted to read something new in their open mic. Sitting in my old home, Botanica (bizarre now, sans smoky haze), I scribbled out a good ol' rant while thinking of the morons lined up outside of Tower Records the other day for Madonna who pulled her video American Life from release because of its controversial message. Guess it's only cool to be outspoken when its sexual?

American Life - a rant
(2nd draft, free write)

You, on the tour bus
making your way through Harlem
taking in the sights from the safety
of the upper deck
listening to sanitized histories
told by over-zealous, underemployed actors
snapping pictures of the natives
while praying the pollutant-spewing bus
doesn't break down.

You, on 42nd Street
straining your neck
to take in the neon lights
that have bleached life and truth
to a pale escapist fantasy
that mourned Cats' passing
and see a difference between Disney,
Maddam Tussaud's and prostitution.

You, drinking the Budweiser and Coors Light
eating at Chili's and Olive Garden
shopping at Wal-Mart and watching Fox News and Friends
giving 10's to rants and 8's to poetry.

You, voting for Josh Gracin
and buying Iraq & I Roll while dissing the Dixie Chicks
saying "Protest is un-American"
while driving your SUV's and complaining
about $2/gallon for gas
but having no problem with $3/cup for coffee.

You, are the terrorists
and I'm declaring war!

Stopped in at Urbana early but the open mic list was full so I ran over to catch Karen Rockower's set with her newish band, the Hassle, which got a late start so I only caught 5 or 6 songs. She's really good with a band behind her, especially considering they've only been together a few months and the drummer wasn't even their regular guy! Headed back to Urbana for the semi-final slam and got there 30 seconds too late to be the sacrificial goat which was fine considering I wasn't there for the open mic. The slam was a little disappointing as somebody named PostMidnight won. I always hated the stage names in rap, even moreso in poetry. Poetry is supposed to be about truth, how do you get on stage with a fake name and expect to have credibility? There's a difference between nicknames and fake names. I say that to explain why I didn't really pay much attention to PM. RAC made a run at the end but PM took the slam and made their finals. I don't really like Urbana's format for putting together their team. It leaves the door wide open for random poets not particularly connected to their scene. As reigning national champs, that's always a danger. Worst thing, though, is their semi-finals that only requires poets to have three poems without time limits. Different philosophies, I guess. What the hell, though, they've won two out of the last three nationals so I guess it works for them.

Today's web site: Have to admit I'm tempted...

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