The Slamming that Breaks…
So I just returned from an awesome poetry slam that I was invited to about a few weeks ago through a friend. This poetry slam is the first, and I strongly believe, not the last. This was sponsored by the Carribean Association of Kuwait; this organization is basically the Jamaican Embassy of Kuwait. Their role is to bring their cultural influence to this foreign country so that they may learn from each other, compromise, and seek evolution. I was apart of this momentuous event; myself and my counterpart TJ. We arrived pretty late. The doors opened at 7:30; it was so difficult to find the place, yet we arrived. The ambience was very subtle. Quite a few people, actually. Myself and TJ seated ourselves and observed the room, chit chatting from time to time. So many women, ugh…so exotic. Man, oh man…the various Jamaican/Carribean flavors to the Arabic flavors, and yes…the traditional Brown-skinned and light-skinned beauties of America. Each woman with their lumps, curves, grace, style, and attitudes. So much mystery to them. Ahem, anyway. We were served some of the Carribean delights. I didnt know the name of ANY of it, but it was delicious, and quite a joy for my taste buds to experience something new and alien from my preference. Talk about being open. As I made eye contact with various beauties, allowing the silence and the body language to speak, more people seated. The aura of the room increased, and you could sense the spirit of peace and joy within the room increase as more people entered. Sophisticated, intelligent, wise, and youth-spirited individuals; we were truly God’s and Goddesses in Formation. The show started off with a warm-up round. The judges were selected from the audience, and the poets were identified. There were 7 contestants. 3 Americans (Black), 3 Indians, and 1 Kuwaiti…a young woman who was attending Kuwait University. So, Ayana (the MC) starts off with a poem called Sexual Love – Dedicated to the gents of course. The Kuwaiti girl starts off. I was blown away. Her short stature, and very ummm…well-proportioned, volutptuous body accentuated her cute face; so much innocence in there. Her delivery was of a spirte-like attitude, with very extensive vocab and charming word usage. What can I say? This girl impressed me. Reminded me of myself. She knew when to be subtle and when to explode. I mean the grace she had was magnificent. Next was an Indian guy. Elder character, he was, and his English-enunciation was still underdeveloped. He unfortunately lost the crowd because of this. It was hard to understand what he was saying; but I bet if spoken in Hindi, it wouldve been nice. I’m next now. The poem I do is Textual Pleasure. I was nervous initially, or so I thought. Truly I was just filled with anticipation and anxiety. My soul was just ready to show off! Because when I got up there, I was still nervous yet there was a sense of confidence within me. Interacting with the crowd, eye contact…my body language complimented my words very well. This poem gave me the responses that my soul was searching for. Giggles, applause, nods, smiles, eyebrow raises, eye-widenings, jaw-droppings, mmmnnn, ahhhh, oks, and above all….attention!! I of course went pass the time limit, but I intended to since the first poen is just a warm-up. When I finished there was a great applause. One judge reached for a fist-pound. I acknowledged the gesture. Felt good and fulfilled, yet I still left with a sense of nervousness. The butterflies in my stomach were definitely alive. After me, another Indian performed. This man had an expression of peace and humilty. You could tell this soul was very wise and knows God. His poem was about science and nuclear physics; the scientist who invests all of his energy to harvest a destructive energy that will destroy himself and mankind. He shared with us the cry of a soul of many who has forgotten what they alive for. Deep. TJ goes up next. He, of course, gives his disclaimer….he stutters. He performs without the mic allowing the echo from within his voice to resonate and suffocate the room. The room is silent as he attempts to express himself. Some looked at him intrigued, some astonished, some giggled at his speech impediment as he informs the audience of the truth of his “being” a poet. A few oohs, ahs, oks, alrights here. I looked at him with a smile, watching the young poet shine and bare himself naked to the world…boasting “this is who I am…accept me…or shut the hell up!”. You can’t help but admire the courage, unless you’re a perfectionist. Another Indian approaches. His style was very classical. So much grace, and his English-speaking and pronunciations were impressive. He sounded like someone you would hear from a play. Short and sweet, yet laced with very serene imagery. His appreciation for nature is humbling. The last poet was the American. He was as nervous as I was. Of course I had to encourage him; many of us did…waiting with anticipation to receive who he is. To a great surprise, although his poem was short and sweet, it left a residue in your mind. A residue that made you ponder about the message. He too was deep, and he had the experience of love to show for it. His poem was dedicated to the Black man who is hated by the White Supremisist…a Black man who just wants to be respected and loved as anyone else.
There is a break between the final round now. We are advised to fellowship with each other as preparations are made. The fellow next to me speaks: “Yooo, what you did was real tight, man. This is really gonna be something!” I was excited knowing that I touched someone. As I talked to him, I observed the room. I got recognition from all around. The brutha in the Orange and Cream 3-piece suit (cleeeeeean!!). The Kuwaiti girl whom was friends with the Kuwaiti contestant even came up and gave me props; nice. The Phillipina took a picture with me and TJ. Alot more praise and then some from the room. I felt encouraged. I felt fulfilled. I felt like I belonged. I felt complete. All this as meyself, TJ, and the guy next to me chit chat and exchange information. Networking!
The show resumes. It’s game time. Ayana starts it all with another poem dedicated to the Black kings of the world who are waiting to receive respect and reparations from a corrupt system. She was very blunt about her message, and because of her bluntness…the truth struck the heart and mind like a ninja moving in the blanket of midnight.
We perform in the same order. The heat definitely turned up from each contestant. TJ really outdid himself wit his final piece. It was like looking at a movie. He deserved 2nd place with that performance; which included the monologue of a drug dealer and his client (a crack head). It was when he got to the client’s dialogue when things got heated. He no longer stuttered….there was so much emotion overflowing from him that it drew the crowd in. It was definitely suspenseful. The Kuwait girl maintained her momentum as well…with a lil added enthusiasm. I myself switched my tempo of speech and my delivery to a more thought-provoking concept that I worked on last week. Stray Bullet is the title. Again, same responses from before with a few extras. Myself, TJ, and the Kuwaiti girl each received a very grand applause.
The moment of truth seemed to become greater as they announced the winners from 3rd to 1st. 3rd would receive a notepad, a pen, and 20KD (~$70), 2nd would receive a notepad, a pen, a plague, and 30KD (~$105), and 1st would receive a notepad, a pen, 2 plaques (both bigger than 2nds) and 50KD (~$175). The Kuwait girl recieved first, TJ – 2nd and I received 3rd. Although I would’ve loved to win first, I truly believe I got something much more valuable – the experience to entertain some of the most distinguished human beings. To be able to be ACCEPTED for me has no monetary value, and no consolation prize can replace the joy I feel. I shook so many hands and even was offered another connection (networking) into a new genre of music. My soul jumps, moves, swims, and explodes while reforming with the acknowledgement of an opportunity to take myself into another level of artistic expression. Although nothing is definite on what I am about to receive, just seeing another door open that’s….different from my current surroundings is more than enough. I know I need money to pay bills and honor obligations, but that is an Earthly responsibility that does not define me nor gives me the true joy that I seek in BECOMING.
This poetry slam… broke a shell of my previous self. Another death brings new life, while the old life lives to be remembered, and maybe…just may be a savior as well.