Showing posts with label poetry. Show all posts
Showing posts with label poetry. Show all posts

Thursday, August 6, 2009

Nationals 2009, Day 3

Yesterday was overflowing with amazing poetry.

The first event I went to was the Women's Showcase. The host was energetic, the poets were awesome, and the venue was cooler than I thought it would be. It was at a design boutique called Design Within Reach. So there was plenty of seating (on really cool chairs, and the space just looked really cool. The only thing that would have made it better was good enough acoustics for people to go off mic. The next showcase I went to had this.

The next showcase was the Death and Remembrance Showcase. This was a hard one, because it was over an hour of heart-wrenching stuff, but it was still amazing. One of the most amazing things about this event, was the audience. Normally with these side-events, the crowd is very transitory. Usually in an outward direction. People read their poem, or hear their friend read their poem, and then leave. This didn't happen. Nearly everyone was there the whole time.

Flagstaff had the early bout. I was the sacrifice poet for that bout. This was the first opportunity I had for performing poetry at Nationals. I did a poem that I had done only twice before in Tucson. But this time I pulled it off without messing up. There was loads of awesome poetry. I remember one guy who I had seen before judging another bout, and he was giving really low scores. He was wearing a tie, and a button-down shirt that was tucked in. I assumed he was a local yuppie, who had been wrangled into judging. Then he got on stage. His performance showed an exuberance I wasn't expecting. This is what I get for jumping to conclusions.

Flagstaff took second in that bout. Because we got first yesterday, we have a pretty good chance at making it to semifinals. We'll know for sure after tonight's bouts.

After that bout I went to get some ice cream, and saw some people filming on the side of the road. They were apparently making a video for the local paper's website. They were filming slam poets doing their poems. I did a poem, and when I find where the video is up I will link you to it.

For the late bout I saw Boston Cantab again. That slam was quite possibly the best slam I have ever seen. Poem after poem blew my mind, and made the whole room explode with the kind of energy you only see at poetry slams. After it was over I went back to the hotel. On the way there I saw someone running, and thought that looked like an excellent idea, because that bout had made me really pumped. So I sprinted for about a block, before my hours spent stationary caught up with me. Then I found a piece of wall to lean against and wrote a poem.

Once I got back to the hotel I found a cipher almost immediately. I got a chance to do two poems, and hear some cool stuff, and bask in the whole cipher energy. Later that night I found some cool people to talk to. We talked about everything from anime, and the originality of art, to gender identity, and the physical symptoms of fatigue.

Then because I knew I had to be up for the LGBT showcase I decided to go to bed. I set an alarm for 10:50, and then ended up waking up at 9:00. I suppose if I hadn't I wouldn't have had time to write this.

I'm hungry now, so I'm going to sign off, and eat some breakfast.

Wednesday, August 5, 2009

Nationals 2009, Day 2

Oh ciphers, ciphers, wherefore art thou ciphers? This Nationals has too much talking to people, and not enough spitting at them. But enough complaining, cool things did happen yesterday, and I intend to talk about them.

I managed to print off a couple poems yesterday at the public library, as well as use the internet that wasn't capped at 15kb/s like the hotel's is. One of these days I'm going to write a manifesto about how internet is a basic human right that shouldn't be charged for. At 3:00 I got my first real taste of poetry. This was the rookie showcase. I had forgotten how awesome this art form can be. Just words spoken aloud can evoke incredible responses. There was a guy there from Paris, and his poem was entirely in French. I have no idea what he was talking about, but his performance was so enthusiastic, and exciting, I really don't care. One of the memorable poems, incited both cheering and booing. I did not think was the possible until I heard "This is a List of People Who Had it Coming" For fear of inciting a riot I will not repeat his words.

That night was beginning of the official bouts. The first bout was one that everyone was looking forward to. I was surprised that tiny bar wasn't more full than it already was. Boston Cantab, NYC Nuyorican, Houston and Madison. So many brilliant poems were on that stage. Last year at finals I mentioned a poem about rape, where a woman was on stage, but a man was doing the voice from off stage. That man was on stage that night, and his poem was almost as terrifying. He has officially become the most terrifying poet ever. He has the most brilliant voice. To use his words, "If I was your lover and all you had was my voice, it would be enough"

The next bout was Flagstaff, San Francisco, Kalamazoo, and Detroit. The judges were low scoring the whole night. Antranormous, our local MC from Flagstaff did a piece called the Wackest MC. It was all kinds of brilliant. Flagstaff dominated the whole night, and in the end came out on top.

After the bout was the comedy showcase. This was unfortunately not as cool as I was hoping. There was some funny poetry, but a whole load of people were in the back of the venue talking loudly, so it was hard to get into the spirit of things. I put my name in the hat, but didn't get called.

After the bout I tried to find a cipher, but was unable too, and was too tired to stay up and wait for one to start. It might have had something to do with me being up at 8:30 that morning. This morning I got up at noon, so I should be able to stay awake until people get tired of talking to each other.

Tuesday, August 4, 2009

Nationals 2009, Day 1.

I have no idea what makes this true, but poets are usually pretty cool people. I've spent the last 24 hours hanging out with poets and it's been great.

I woke up at 4:00 Monday morning, so I could catch a 7:20 plane. As unpleasant as that was, I did get a bagel, and a new poem out of it. I really like this new poem, and I'm hoping to find somewhere to perform it today. The flight was okay, I met someone from Amarillo, who was also a slam poet. He also produced a comic, which he gave me a copy of. This comic is amazing, and is also a webcomic that you can find at: He gave it to me a few minutes before we were supposed to be boarding our plane, and I was so engrossed, I almost didn't get on the plane.

Upon arriving in West Palm Beach, the first thing I notice is the humidity. The air is sticky. I am not sure how this is possible, but trust me. This year may go down as the sweatiest Nationals (though I hear Austin in '07 was pretty bad)

I got some pizza, and then went to the kick-off party. This years kick off party I think was better than last years. Last year it was more of a dance party with loud music, which made conversations tricky. This year the event was much more social. And since I don't drink or dance, I come to parties to socialize. I gave away 13 copies of my CD. Speaking of that CD, it now has a different cover. This is it:

After the after party I went back to the hotel, looking for ciphers. For those of you who don't know, a cipher is when poets do poetry for each other, instead of for points on stage. It's really informal, and a huge part of the slam culture, not to mention a huge part of Nationals.

That's pretty much everything important that happened yesterday (or at least everything I'm willing to mention on the internet for everyone to read (I'll let you decide if I'm kidding or not)) I'm off to go and find some breakfast.

Thursday, July 23, 2009

it's just some words and stuff

In 10 days, 20 hours, and 5 minutes I will be departing to West Palm Beach, Florida for this year's National Poetry Slam. Last year I went with the Tucson team, and it was amazing. I blogged all the way through Nationals, and I plan on doing the same thing this year.

However, this year there is a notable difference. I am not on a team. I tried out for both the Flagstaff and the Tucson team, but unfortunately made neither of them. I'm traveling with the Flagstaff team, and plan on performing at as many side events as possible. Not to mention soaking in the general awesomeness that exists off stage.

Because I am not on a team, this means that less people will hear my poetry. And because I'm an egotistical maniac who thinks my poetry is the greatest thing ever to grace this plane of existence I decided to make a CD.

Because I'm not going to be on stage very much, I figure that asking people to pay 5 bucks for poetry they've heard very little of, is a bit unreasonable. So I'm going to give it away for free. I am casting off the chains of capitalism, and spitting in the face of traditional business, and [insert clever metaphor here]. Mostly I just want to get myself out there. I want people to have some idea of who I am, and what I do.

However, there are a few barriers to this plan. The most notable of which is that I have no blank CDs. I also have little to no money to spend on blank CDs, and I'd rather not spend the money that needs to be spent on food at Nationals. Also I need to print the cases, so it's a bit more than a CD written on in sharpie. Speaking of the case, I have a cover for my CD. This is it:

I'd like to get about a hundred of these,so if anyone wants to improve their karma and help me out, you would have my eternal gratitude. Also, I'll tell you a secret.

I hope to be blogging more than I have been, so I should have another post up here in another day or three.

Thursday, October 9, 2008

Poetry Haiku #1

Cool! I won the slam.
I did cool poetry and
Everyone approved.

Saturday, August 2, 2008

How It All Works

In approximately 2 days several hundred poets will descend on the unsuspecting town of Madison, Wisconsin. Those poets are traveling to this town under the guise of a "competition" So that outsiders can understand the nature of the event it is filled with things like judges, scores, winners and losers. But we the poets know that none of that matters.

The poetry is only happening at the same place so that more people can hear it. The only purpose of the competition is to raise the quality of the work. The only purpose of the winner is so that outsiders will feel that something has been accomplished.

The National Poetry Slam is a big party pretending to be a competition. Not only is there competitive bouts, but there are open mics, theme slams, workshops, and countless ciphers. Here are a few of the events I am looking forward to.

Nerd Slam - This has been on my list ever since I found out it existed. I have poetry for this. I am sure to meet so many cool people there. (By cool I mean at a similar level of nerdship as I am)

Okay, I lied there is only one in particular. But I am sure to be going to lots of different things. Here is a list of all the events that will be going on outside of the main competition.

Here is an explanation of how the competition works for those of you who happen to care:

I plan on taking my computer with me to Madison, so I will be blogging throughout Nationals. Stay tuned.

Wednesday, July 30, 2008

Team Tucson 2-0 Part 2

So we get home from Mesa at about 5:00am. I found out that I act drunk when I am really tired. I am only 18, but people kept asking me if I had been drinking. Go figure.

So on Saturday night we had another show (For those of you keeping track at home that's 3 shows in a row.) This slam was like every other slam except Team Tucson was the feature. We all rocked it, but there was one moment which sticks out in my mind.

I am in a group piece that talks about why kid's eat their boogers (hilarious poem, I wish I had written it) Everything was going well until we approached these two lines.
Would we have evolved this behavior without justification?
Would children cling to this habit just to make parents angry?

The first line belongs to the woman who wrote the poem, the other line is mine. However as she said her line, what came out of her mouth was:
Would children cling to this habit without justification?
I still don't know how it happened, but somehow my brain went into overdrive, I realized that she had switched the line up, and somehow managed to come up with the perfect line to follow that one:
Would we have evolved this behavior just to make parents angry?
Call it a poetry miracle, or great feat of mental maneuvering, that was the best way to mess up a line.

The rest of the night was a really awesome slam. Loads of cool poets were there and the ones I thought were good were advancing for the part. The judges were feeling harsh that night, but that gave me an excuse to boo them loudly (which killed my throat. Not that I had to worry about it, my poetry was done for the night.

The after party was fun, and all in all it was a great night. I'm going to wrap it up here and give more details about the later events in future posts.

Tuesday, July 29, 2008

Team Tucson 2-0

I happen to have the privilege of being a member of the Tucson slam team. So far we have had two shows, and two competitions. They were all awesome. But as those few words hardly qualify as a blog post I will expound.

On Thursday we had a show at the loft, but I already ranted about it's awesomeness, so I will move on. The next day the whole team, and our coach's girlfriend piled into a minivan and drove up to Mesa. They had requested our presence for a bout. This was the first time that any of us chose out poems on the spot. It is good slam strategy to pick your poem based on the poem that went before it, so that is what we did. There was a great deal of awesome poetry, but we ended up just barely pulling ahead. but it is not what happened during the event, but after it that was truly magical.

The venue was essentially an alley with some tables. The entire slam the wind was blowing and their was lightning and thunder. The threat of a monsoon downpour was always imminent. But the clouds held. Then the slam ended. Mere seconds after we got all the expensive sound equipment inside the clouds erupted. Any other group of people would have ran for shelter, but we are poets.

Both teams ran about the rain, splashing in puddles. I even got up on a table and did the "To be or not to be" soliloquy from Hamlet. Then one person spoke up, and said the one thing that excellently summed up the situation

"This is the perfect date. It's pouring rain. He's doing Shakespeare. She's in her underwear. I'm soaking wet. And it didn't cost me a thing."

As this post is getting rather long I will save the descriptions of the other events for later posts. So stay tuned.

Friday, July 25, 2008

Better Than Sex

You know when you wake up in the morning and the first thing that pops into your brain is the amazing thing that happened the night before? And then you lay in bed smiling, trying to remember every detail. No, I'm not talking about sex. I'm talking about poetry.

As most of you should know, I had an event at the Loft last night. The night began with a competition between some local poets, and the entire Phoenix slam team. They all came down from Phoenix to compete. A summer's worth of practice will do wonders for your performance and your poetry. The team dominated and one of them went home with the prize.

Then came our feature. After months of preparation, Team Tucson was about to showcase their work in a public venue. A group of people from my church were there. The amazingly awesome Team Phoenix was there. It was time.

The first poem was a group piece. I wrote most of it, and I performed it with someone else on my team. We had never done it for a crowd before. Group pieces are so much fun.

After a few more poems I was up again, this time with an individual piece. I knew this piece well, and there were only a few minor edits. What I had really been working on was performance. That performance was without a doubt, the best performance of my life. And one simple fact helped it on its way to greatness.

There was no mic.

A microphone had always tied me to one spot. Limited my movement. My feet had to be planted. But without this limitation I moved. I had never practiced that poem without imagining a mic in front of me, but the movements were easy, and so much fun. As I came to the end of the poem, I noticed a short stool in front of me Without thinking, as my words began to crescendo to the bellowing ending, I stepped up on the stool, raised my hands and roared to the audience:

"The world is doomed!"

Who needs sex when words can make you feel like that?

Wednesday, July 16, 2008

The Silver Screen Slam at The Loft

Date: Thursday July 24th
Time: 7:30pm - 10:00pm
Place: The Loft Theater, 3233 E Speedway
Admission: $5
Details(taken from Facebook event description):

Bring your best poetry performance pieces and battle it out with other cinema-loving slam-sters in hopes of snagging the coveted “Slammie” Award for Best Poet (and a $100 cash prize)!

We’ll hold two performance rounds, featuring a maximum of eight poets, so show up early to sign-up and ensure your place in film/poetry history. Judges will be selected at random from the audience, and points will be awarded after each performance. The highest point average after two rounds takes the $100 cash prize and the "Slammie" trophy. Bonus points will be awarded to anyone with a film-inspired piece, so start re-watching your favorite movies, pronto!
Doc Luben will be your cinematic tour guide through all the slam madness, so be prepared! And since we’re a movie theater, we’ll also be screening some amazing experimental short films throughout the evening, to make sure ALL your senses are stimulated.

But that’s not all … our featured performers of the night will be the talented members of the 2008 Tucson Slam Team (Lindsay Miller, Teresa Driver, Kelly Lewis, Faldwin, and Mickey Randleman), in one of their final appearances before leaving for the National Poetry Slam in Madison, Wisconsin, taking place August 3-9.

The $5.00 admission to The Silver Screen Slam will help raise much-needed funds to send the Tucson Slam Team to compete in Madison … so don’t be shy about donating a little extra cash in order to help our team bring Slam victory to the Tucson poetry scene!

Cookie: Today's cookie goes to the person who RSVPs for this event in the comments.

Friday, July 11, 2008

Slam Idol Podcast

Several months ago I submitted the infamous Harry Potter Erotic Fan Fiction to a poetry podcast. This podcast is different than most of them in that it is formatted as a contest. Once all of the entries have aired, the listeners vote on who they think is the best. The winner might receive amazing prizes beyond their wildest dreams, eternal internet fame, and untold riches. Or they might just win a t-shirt. I forget. You can listen to me here:
(a word of warning if you don't know the poem. It is very sexually explicit. It is also very funny.)

If you are coming here from the Slam Idol Podcast, welcome! You may be my first visitors that don't actually know me in real life. You already know what you heard on the show, but let me tell you a few of the things that Simon left out. I am currently part of the team that will be representing Tucson at the National Poetry Slam in Madison, Wisconsin this August. *pauses for cheers* Also the double l's in "Ocotillo" are pronounced with a "y" sound. So it is pronounced: "Ocotiyo" So there.

Another thing that many of you may not know is that I am going to college this fall at Northern Arizona University to study Elementary Education. I also do not plan to walk to the National Poetry Slam or sleep on the streets of Madison. Words may be cheap, but they are not free. In short, I need money. There is a Paypal link on the left. If you don't want to give me a donation (All donations made for me to go to the National Poetry Slam are tax deductible, really) I may be able to do something for you. I know a lot about computers, teaching, anime, and I'm a pretty decent poet. If you are willing to pay for any of these skills send me an email. Okay, shameless begging is over now.

Since this podcast thing I can pretend I have an audience now, so I will probably be blogging more often. I have run out of clever words for today, so I'm am going to sign off now. Farewell!

Saturday, May 31, 2008


This summer should be interesting. I have a whole bunch of things I would like to do, and I have no idea how many of them I will actuallly accomplish. But with any luck I will accomplish something.

Firstly, I am on the poetry team that is going to the National Poetry Slam in August. So I have practices and fundraisers for that. This is probably my first priority, but it's not going to take up all of my time. My other "goals" for the summer include the following.

There is an anime club at NAU, so I would like to get caught up on Naruto episodes, before the summer is over. I have about 70 episodes left of Naruto, and then there are about 70 or so of Naruto: Shippuden after that. This is a rather ambitious goal, but one I hope to at least make significant progress on.

After I get back from NAU Freshman Orientation, I would also like to get a job. This trip to Wisconsin for Nationals isn't going to pay for itself. That, and I would like to have a little money for college.

Which leads me to my departure from this house. While I'm not leaving forever, I would like to have a good idea of the location and status of most of my possesions. I have a bunch of books I haven't read, and I don't want to get rid of them. But I also would like to finish LotR this summer. I finished Fellowship a while back, so I'm re-reading it, and then moving on to the other two.

Then we have the novel. I haven't touched the thing in weeks, and next November is looming. I would like to have at least completed one viscious edit before starting on another novel. I may have to resume my schedule of early rising so that I can actually work without distractions. I've only done about 15 pages of 600 so far, so that is also a pretty ambitious goal.

I also would like to try to get a story published so that book publishers will look at me a little more seriously.

I also have a gew goals that are not progressive, but are still on the list. I would like to get a decent digital camera and take pictures downtown. I would like to recite poetry during a monsoon storm. And I would like to write a poem about tucson or the desert in general.

I'm going to try some progress bars here, to motivate me. Wish me luck on my ambitious summer plans!

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.

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,