Wednesday, April 30, 2008

A Poet's Moment

This email is to inform everyone who might care, that this week I am going to be on the KXCI mini-program, "A Poet's Moment" This short program showcases one local poet a week, and this week that local poet is me. The show is on five times during the week. The times listed below may vary by a few minutes, so if you are planning on listening I would reccomend turning it on about five minutes early. You can listen at 91.3 FM, or if you are not near a radio, you can listen online at this link:
KXCI Stream

3pm Wednesday
8pm Wednesday
8am Saturday
2pm Sunday
10am Monday

Sunday, April 27, 2008


I will be going to the National Poetry Slam to represent Tucson. That is all.

Saturday, April 26, 2008

To Lighten the Mood

The hour draws nigh. My slam is tonight. Yes I am afraid, but that is a good thing. Fear is a powerful motivational tool. So to further embrace the fear, here is the scariest video in the world. I want to buy one of these.

See more funny videos at CollegeHumor

Thursday, April 24, 2008

Thoughts Before the Slam

As many of you already know I have a poetry slam on Saturday. But this is not any ordinary slam. These are the finals. Twelve poets will compete in a three round, no elimination slam. The scores from all three rounds will be added up for each poet. The four poets with the highest cumulative score go on to represent Tucson at the National Poetry Slam. I haven't wanted anything this much in a long time.

I know that the point is not the points, that the point is the poetry. My mind knows that, but no one bothered to tell my gut. Normally with poetry slams I want to do well, but only for the sake of the audience, and the opportunity to read more poems. Now I not only want to do well, I want to do better than eight other poets. I'm not a competitive person, which is why I'm freaking out, because I'm forced into a competitive mindset. I remember Logan Philips telling me that nervousness and excitement are the same emotion. But that is not what I'm feeling. Its not nervousness. The only word I can think of is fear. A huge "what if" hovers over my head. I don't want to think about what will happen if I don't make it. I don't know if I'll be able to support Tucson team if I'm not in it. I know that sounds awful, and I hope I won't feel that way, but I don't know.

Last night I had a dream. It began as a great dream. I was watching a new anime series. It was amazing. The art was breathtaking. The plot twists had me jumping out of my seat. The relationships between the characters were incredibly complex. I was horrified, touched, and inspired all at the same time and it was beautiful.

Then I realized it was 8:00 and Saturday. The slam finals had begun an hour ago. I clumsily called my mother, and barely stuttered out the word "finals". The next thing I knew I was screaming into the receiver, "TV IS EVIL! TV IS EVIL!" and trying really hard not to cuss to my mother. I had missed the finals and it was my fault. Then I woke up.

As soon as my heart stopped hammering I began to think about the dream. My mother and father are reading on Saturday and would never let me miss something this important. And there's no way anime that awesome would air at 7:30 in the U.S.

I realized that the dream was a manifestation of my fear. As soon as I realized this I was comforted. I did not dream that I froze on the mic, or that I got straight 1s, or got booed off the stage. The worst thing that could happen would be for me to miss it. I'm a good poet. I'm a good performer. I know what I'm doing. Its going to be alright.

Tuesday, April 22, 2008


This Saturday I will be slamming in the Slam-off to determine who becomes part of the team that goes to nationals. Below are the official details

This is it, y'all!

After nine months of struggle, the top twelve slam poets in Tucson go head-to-head to determine who will be the 2008 Tucson Slam Team.

Saturday, April 26
Bentley's House of Coffee and Tea, 1730 E Speedway, Tucson
6:30--Sign-up for qualified poets
7:00--SLAM FINALS! Three rounds of no-elimination poetry, the best of the best.
Hosted by Arrian Wissel.
Suggested donation $5--help send the team to Nationals

The top four scorers will be the new Slam Team, representing YOUR community at the 2008 National Poetry Slam!

THIS is the biggest event of the year for the Slam, so don't miss it! Bring your family, bring your friends. Bring your enemies and we'll make them judge.

The points are not the point... but they do keep things interesting.

See you Saturday,

Monday, April 21, 2008


More Ninjas!

Sunday, April 20, 2008


This post is to explain the constant reference to cookies in many of my posts. In an attempt to get more people to comment, I offer virtual cookies to the person who best completes the challenge to my entirely subjective specifications. It might be as simple as offering a cookie to the first commenter, or as complicated as offering a cookie to the person who gives the best answer to a deep philosophical question that has puzzled mankind for generations. The cookie for this post will go to whoever I want it to. In this case the rules are secret, or perhaps nonexistant. Post a comment. Maybe you'll win a cookie.

Saturday, April 19, 2008


Today is Saturday. That means there is a poem today. One of mine, believe it or not. Today's cookie goes to the person who can tell me what is ironic about posting this particular poem, on this particular day.

Edit: The poem that was originally here is an older version that is not as good. The newer version can be found here.

Friday, April 18, 2008


I have way too much poetry stuff to be doing. Fortunately, little of it requires actual memorization of poetry, but I still have to be prepared to read it with passion. Let give me you an idea of what my next couple weeks look like in terms of poetry.

2/23 Next Wednesday I am reading some poems for the faculty. My "Oda a Los Calcetines" poem is what got me this gig, but now that I have it, I decided I would take advantage of it. So I am reading a poem about my aspirations as a teacher, and a Taylor Mali poem (Not the one I read here, one with more "appropiate" language) I also need to get some more images together so I can create visuals. Most of the faculty don't speak Spanish, so they need visual cues.

2/26 This is the biggie. The slam finals. Twelve poets will compete in a three round, no elimination slam. The top four poets go on to represent Tucson at the National Poetry Slam is Madison Wisconsin. I have my three poems in mind, and I am going on page that night, but I still need to practice. I also want to order some business cards with my email and this blog address on them. That way I can point them to the "Recordings" link on the left, so they can hear more of my wonderful poems.

5/2 I am performing some poems in Spanish, at my brother's cultural festival. My original plan was just the "Oda" poem, but I decided it might be nice to be ready to do a few more. But this has somehow morphed into a requirement. The poems I have found will not be enough. I need to find a Puerto Rican poem, longer than six lines.

This should be fun.

Thursday, April 17, 2008



Wednesday, April 16, 2008


No, I am not hopping on the bandwagon of blogging about the '08 presidential elections (though I can't promise I won't) A friend of mine is running for Prom King. He has many famous friends so we rounded up a few of them and took pictures. I did a few little touch ups, but I assure you all of the pictures you see below are entirely authentic. KIMON FOR KING!

Tuesday, April 15, 2008


Today we have a ninja comic. I don't really like the title of it (Ninja Love) so the cookie for today goes to the person who can come up with the best title. As always, if you need help translating my scratch, let me know.

Monday, April 14, 2008


I know that I'm supposed to post Ninja Comics on Mondays, but so much cool stuff happened this weekend, that the poetry Gods would probably strike me down if I didn't blog about it.

The language fair on Saturday was awesome. I rocked my poem, and the group from my class did great on their skit. However when they put the names of the "winners" on the screen (we were evaluated on a rubric, and got ribbons/trophies based on our scores alone) my name was not there and neither was that of the drama group. We found out later that there was a hole in the database, and many people were not posted, that did very well. If I knew how to hack their techie would be brute-forced into the stone age by now. I got a perfect score, and the drama group was only one point short of a perfect score. If you scroll down, you can see my ribbon on the left hand bar.

That night I managed to get the money to go see the performance. Ayisha Knight was very interesting. She is a deaf poet and all of her poems are in ASL. She had a translator for all of the poems except for the first one. But that one was the most interesting. She said before she started that it was about the first people coming to America. Even though I know almost no sign, I could see that it really was about that. I could tell that it was poetry.

After Ayisha, Verbobala Spoken Video performed. And what a performance it was! There was video, acrobats, people on stilts, and lots of cool poetry. If you ever get the chance to go see them, do it.

The next morning there was a panel on poetry and voice, with the festival guests. That was very interesting. Then early that afternoon Logan Philips, the leader of Verbobala gave a workshop on perfomance, and voice. I learned lots of cool stuff, that I think affected my performance that night.

That night there was poetry slam with a 100 dollar prize instead of the normal fifty dollar one. My first poem was excellent, and I got the highest score in the round. So I got to choose whether to go first or last in the second round. I chose first. That was the first of many mistakes, and unfortunate circumstances that got me low scores on my second poem, a poem that normally gets high marks. But I really liked my performance for the first round and that is what I am choosing to remember about that night.

Today's cookie goes to the person who can tell me what two poems I did at the slam. There are ways of figuring it out even if you weren't there, but if you were there, then this is an easy one. You don't need to tell me titles, just enough information so I know what poem you're talking about.

Saturday, April 12, 2008


I'm at the language fair now, desperately trying to upload and scan and post and read, all while people read over my shoulder. Here we have a poem about poetry, which is rather appropriate for today. I'm still not sure whether I'm going to the performance, or the open mic tonight because funding is still complicated. Anywho, today's cookie goes to the first person who can tell me the name of a poem, by one of the poets I mention in this poem.

Friday, April 11, 2008


"Oda a Los Calcetines"

I have blogged about this poem before, but last time it was in despair, now I have a message of hope.

When I began this process I struggled over the memorization. I had a mere two weeks to get this poem presentable. It had been nearly a week and I was barely halfway through the poem. But I kept on trying, knowing that I had a responsibility as a poet to do this poem justice. Soon I had the poem memorized, and recited to my teacher. She handed me back my poem, with numerous words highlighted. I have always thought I have excellent Spanish pronunciation, but I was ignoring accents, accenting the wrong syllables, and pronouncing "z"s with the English sound, instead of the "s" Spanish pronunciation. How could I have gone through four years of Spanish not saying "sapatos"?

But again I pushed forward, and corrected my mistakes, and soon had the poem memorized with the correct pronunciation. On Tuesday after school, I performed the poem for my teacher and one other teacher. I appreciated the slightly larger audience, and the other teacher gave me some good advice on pacing. By this point I was brimming with confidence. I did the poem perfectly when walking to and from school, and so on Wednesday I performed it for my Spanish class.

I rocked it. I owned the class. All the other's reciting poetry were boring, and barely had it memorized. I don't mean to be mean, but they only had fifty words, while I had 200. I had fifty words of my poem in the first two days. I was doing excellently, but then I got near the end, and my mind went blank. What was the next line? It was in my head, but I couldn't get it to come out of my mouth. My teacher refused to prompt me, because they wouldn't at the language fair. I thought for a bit and repeated some lines, and soon figured it out and was on my way. I finished the poem, and was complimented but I felt like I had failed.

I took a look at the stanza that I couldn't remember and figured out why it refused to come into my mind. I didn't know why it was there. It made no sense why the poet would have put in those lines. So I read the English translation, and figured it out. Not only did it help me to get it memorized, but it also improved the quality of the performance.

The next day in class I recited it, and this time I really rocked it. I went all the way through without messing up. I was still pronouncing the z wrong in one of the words, but it was minor. I'm working on fixing it as we speak. That afternoon I met at my teacher's classroom to practice some more. She asked if I wanted an audience again, and I said "sure, if you can round one up"

Five minutes later she returned with nine or ten teachers, and the principal. Most of these teachers knew little to no Spanish. But they seemed to enjoy themselves. They could tell it was a good recitation. After I finished, one of the teacher came up to me and asked me about the poem. It had already been mentioned that the title was "Ode to my Socks" this is our conversation.

Her: "So did he like his socks or not?"
Me: "He liked his socks, but his feet were bad, compared to the socks, his feet paracieron inaceptables, they seemed unacceptable."

I never intended to use the Spanish from the poem, but that was the easiest and most natural way to describe it. I am beginning to think in Spanish. Thus is the power of poetry. I wish I had got the chance to do this as a beginner to the language.

Today I am doing the poem for another of my teacher's classes. I'm not worried. Then the language fair is tomorrow. This should be fun.

Today's cookie goes to the person who can tell me who wrote this poem.

Thursday, April 10, 2008


Below is the information, for Sunday's slam. There are also some things happening Saturday, which are not important enough for their own post, but I will mention them here. I am competing in the Southern Arizona Language Fair. So if anyone wants to come to the UofA to listen to me recite a Spanish poem, let me know and I'll give you further details. Saturday night there are two potential events. One of them is a performance at the Tucson Poetry Festival, by a few different awesome poets. But it costs ten dollars to get in, which is great price, but I don't have that money right now.

So if that event doesn't happen, I will be going to the Tucson Premier Open Mic. I am sure that it is actually happening this time. I don't know anything about it, other than what is on the Myspace paged linked above. If it turns out to be awesome I will start promoting it, and attending when I can. There is also an event Sunday, morning, but I am still trying to figure out what it is, so I will post details later. Until then here is the details for Sunday's slam. By the way, I will be reading something new there.

Hey y'all,

You're going to the Tucson Poetry Festival this weekend, aren't you? I figured you were. And since you're already planning to be there, I know there's no way you would miss the FREE, OPEN SLAM with a $100 PRIZE!

Sunday, April 13, 2008
8:00 pm (show up early to get on the list--wait, you'll already be there watching the rest of the Festival)
THE HISTORIC Y, 300 E University (just west of 4th Ave, near Epic Cafe)
Hosted by Lindsay Miller

Did I mention the $100 PRIZE, donated by none other than the lovely, talented, and generous Jo, of Bentley's Coffee fame? And hey, since we're not gonna be at Bentley's this weekend, why not stop by there this week if you have time for a cup of coffee? They are wonderful and supportive to us, so let's show the same love to them.

This is the LAST qualifying slam for the 2008 Slam-Off. Poet standings to follow in a separate e-mail.

See you Sunday! It's gonna be a big one, so bring your friend, bring your loved ones, bring your enemies and we'll make them judge.


Wednesday, April 9, 2008


There is no cookie today, only a poem. Not my poem, just me reading someone else's.

Tuesday, April 8, 2008


As promised I have recorded another one of my poems, and am posting it for your enjoyment. This poem is also in the playlist, that you can access by clicking on "Recordings" to your left. Today's cookie goes to the person who can tell me what the natural enemy of the subject of this poem is. (Yes, there is a right answer to this one)

Edit: The poem that was originally here is an older version that is not as good. The newer version can be found here.

Monday, April 7, 2008


As promised I bring you yet another ninja comic. This time the entire post is dedicated to it, instead of being buried amidst old men, and the like. If you need help translating my scratch, let me know.

I have decided to make a recent running joke, into a somewhat continuous thing, in the hopes of garnering more comments to feed my inflated ego. But don't worry, there is something in it for you. I am giving out cookies. Virtual cookies, but nonetheless, cookies. People who get them will get recognized in a later post. Today's cookie is for the person who can come up with the best explanation for the last frame of today's comic.

Sunday, April 6, 2008


I have just returned from Lake Havasu, from the last retreat that I will take with my youth group. Fun times were had by all, but I didn't get to read any of my poems. Oh well, I'll survive. I have a slam in a week, so I shall just have to wait until then. I will post details about that event when I get some more details on it. I will try to post another recording of a poem sometime soon. There should be another Ninja Comic tommorow as I plan to go to the library, so I can use their scanners. I also have plans for another series of posts, but I think I will wait until Blogger adds scheduled posting. That will make these series, much easier. In other news I intend to buy a domain name soon for this blog. I may build a website later, but for now I will just host this blog at or maybe What do you all think?

Friday, April 4, 2008


The title is the roman numeral for the number 50 (It is also the alias of a brilliant, international detective. If you know who I'm talking about, cookies for you! But I digress) The reason that fifty is important is because this is my 50th blog post. *CONFETTI*

But instead of boring you with my words I will give you this quote that I got by googling "50 funny" and choosing the first result.

“In at least one way we are atypical bloggers. That’s because we just keep on posting. The typical blogger, like most people who go on diets and budgets, quits after a few months, weeks, or in many cases, days.” (Stephen J. Dubner)

Thursday, April 3, 2008


Yet another of my mortal enemies.
This afternoon I set out to record a Spanish poem, so that I could make it into a video for spanish class. I have very good Spanish pronounciation, and still after an hour of trying I couldn't get through the poem without mispronouncing any words. So I took a break. When I came back I thought I made it through the entire poem without messing up, but then when I listened to it I discovered I pronounced "oro" like "ora" At this point I gave up, and made to head off to the library.

Even though I couldn't make my video for spanish, I could at least do some other stuff, like work on my dad's website, scan a ninja comic or two, and perhaps finally start working on my teacher's website. But as I am about to head off my mom informs me that I must buy cheese, for the retreat this weekend that will keep me from a functional computer until Monday afternoon. I still have math homework, and I still have to memorize that poem for Spanish that I can't pronouce right.

I've put a great amount of effort into avoiding this kind of schedule overload, and yet it is happening. I blame society's obsession with time.

Tuesday, April 1, 2008


Yes, this really is the whole post.