Slam It!

I love poets.  I walked into the venue on Mt. Auburn street past the guy on the front porch shouting out to those walking past that a poetry slam was happening inside, to be greeted like an old friend.  After picking up my festival pass and settling into a great seat I made fast friends with the girl next to me.  I shared a box of tuna and crackers with her and she shared a bottle of water with me.  It reminded me of kindergarten-simpler times.

Then I met this guy.  Only at a poetry slam can you walk up and say to someone, “Hey, can I take a picture of your ass?”  Only to get the response, “Sure!  My mom made these for me!”

Everyone was excited to be in the room and it quickly filled beyond capacity to standing room only.  It was difficult to see from my chair in the VERY back of the room, but I had the big overstuffed comfy chair while everyone else had folding chairs –or no chairs at all.  The people to my left turned out to be from Atlanta, where I will be in about a week.  They gave me a lot of good information about poetry events happening there while I’m visiting.  Poetry.  Poets.  People.

A room of poets is an instant community.  Even among the competing teams there is support and love for one another.  From where I was sitting I observed one team nod vigorously while another team performed, sighing to each other “he’s good” while nodding and applauding for this opponent.

The event tonight was at the Democracy Center building on Mt. Auburn street in Cambridge.  The building itself is interesting.  It’s an old house downtown that serves as a meeting place for several non-profits.  Four teams competed in this preliminary round: 6

Da Poetry Lounge (Hollywood, CA), Intangible Slam (New York City, NY), Nuyorican Poets Café (New York City, NY), and  Puro Slam (San Antonio, TX).  My favorite slammers were on the teams from New York.  Those poets were polished.  I wouldn’t be surprised to see them in the semi-finals.

The walk from the venue to the subway carried the same vibe as people who couldn’t stay for the second bout left and headed to the subway.  I made even more friends as we walked long swapping opinions on specific pieces we’d heard.  I wonder if everyone else comes back from a slam needing to write the way I do?  Maybe tomorrow, I’ll ask around.


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