open mic night postgame

This waketime was my second-ever trip to my local poetry open mic. Which as I've learned since is actually the birthplace of the entire poetry slam movement, and as such attracts traveling poets as well as skillful people from around here. It's not the poetry big leagues; more on the order of a respectable AAA affiliate.

Let me briefly explain to you how awesome this place is. In a four-person poetry slam competition (grand prize: $10), I came in 3rd. Reading "composition" in the first round and reciting "residual categories" in the second. And that was a completely fair verdict! I know that I am a good poet. As the book of Proverbs says, however, iron sharpens iron. And finding a whole scene full of other poets who are themselves good in many different and magnificent ways gives me the opportunity to aim at becoming great.

This makes me inexpressibly happy. There is a place in the world where I fit in, even if I don't really know anybody yet. Where people do the stuff I do and care about the stuff I care about to such a degree that despite all the work I've put into it I'm just. about. normal. Best of all this place is not merely out there in the world somewhere, but just on my doorstep, on my bus route, within arm's reach. All I need is the occasional night off work, and the discipline to work the modest expense involved into my budget.

Oh yes. Also the nakedness of spirit to start learning to write again from scratch. Which I don't mean in the negative "ahh I'm doing everything wrong!" sense at all. It's more like the transition from classical music to jazz, or (here's where i read it) as Bruce Lee said about martial arts: "Learn technique. Practice technique. Forget technique."

There are a whole host of habits, necessities, little skills which go into writing "on paper" poetry which must apply differently to "live performance" poetry. They're still useful tools--but you use a screwdriver one way when installing a set of shelves and another when assembling a swingset, say. And there are a whole host of basic, basic things about live poetry regarding which I've just recently become aware of the depth of my ignorance.

Which, again. Awesome.

There was extra time at the end ("we didn't run long, we ran short!") so they had the band play while people randomly stepped up to the mic and said whatever they chose. As opposed to the open mic, wherein people are called up one by one according to an order the MC decides on his own.
Anyway during this last part I improv'd a thing which I attempt to reconstitute here. XD Mostly so I can give this post the "poetry and lyrics" tab.

these are the same streets
I used to go get lost in
just to figure out where the hell I was,
and I found my way
I stumble out onto a sidewalk that smells of banjo music
and barbeque sauce,
glance back over my shoulder at a long low room
full of better poets than I am

and I say, "you fool! how small your world,
how small the circle of yourself!
you dared to think that poetry was dead,
when it was you who could not see
beyond the lip of the grave you dug!"

oh let me catch a smooth round edge
on a sharpened piece of someone else's mind
and dash out through these streets, laughing, naked,
unraveling the borders of my old, small self
at a time.