semi finals (take 2)

so, i have another shot at being in semi’s due to folks dropping out or not able to make it, etc. this makes me feel kinda “eh” considering i dont feel exactly like i’ve earned my spot in the line-up, however, I am looing at it as an opportunity and consider myelf lucky for it. This time around, I’m also going to focus less on strategy and moreso on being completly “in” my poem 100% and less focused on what the audience is “feeling” or things like “what poem can I beat the other poet with”, etc.
Overthinking is one of my weaknesses. Problem is now, which poems to choose as I have now a huge variety to choose from, which is both good and bad. There are two poems i have been wanting to do for awhile at the slam that i havent done yet, and a new one that I want to try out too….

fingers crossed, because it would be really great to make the team this year and feel like I’m ready to be on a team again and long to work with other people on group pieces and be a part of the nationals experience.

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Most German slam poets write comedy poetry

last week my friend challenged me to write a “funny” poem. I wasnt so happy with the results, but he seemed to enjoy what I came up with(because he’s nice, and probably doesnt want to hurt my feelings…)

I have never been able to write funny stuff. It’s not that I dont find things funny. Just that many of the things I find funny are in poor taste most of the time or involve being mean to small children (I’m only half serious with that last sentence)

honestly, I think when I am writing funny, I am just trying too hard to be funny. Or maybe it’s because I dont think funny poems can incorporate as much visual and sensory flavor as more serious pieces

or maybe, I’ve just known too many comedians….

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8VdxyvaA0NM

The last couple of weeks I have been very home sick for germany. I say “home sick” because I really do consider germany my home. I never felt like I belonged in the USA but it wasnt until I went to germany 10 years ago, did I really feel like I fit somewhere. Like a piece of myself I never realized was missing. It has been a year since I was there. It will probably be another year before I can go there again (when the baby is 4 months old).
I miss my friends. I miss the appreciation for poetry there. I miss the enthusiasm felt for being a part of this wonderful and unique art movement.
here is a poem by one of my favorite german slam poets, and a dear friend of mine: Lars Ruppel
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=syrJFYi5EJo
Yes, he is on a television program. Public television.

(btw the title of this post is true. One day I will post my college term paper comparing the cultural differences between the German and American poetry slam scenes…)

VIVA DIE POESIE

updates, portland semis, etc

a couple weeks ago, I was unexpectedly qualified for one of the portland poetry slam semi finals. I participated in the slam last week, but sadly did not make it to the finals. I feel like I did well and ripped my poem, and was pleased with my performance, however, I wont lie and say I was not disappointed that I did not make finals this time around(for many reasons, not just personal)  I am still going to try to make it to finals as there is one more semis I can try for, however, I need to ask: “is it ok to ‘sell out’ for the sake of making a team?”
There is only one slam in town that sends a team to nats, and this venue seems to cater to particular style, formats, and topics, most of which I do not fit into with my natural writing and performance style. Before I moved to portland, my poetry style was not a problem and I was successful everywhere I went both in the USA and abroad, but for some reason, I am well aware that I am going to need to start writing poems that do not fullfill me as an artist for the sake of being “successful” in this venue. On the one hand, it is challenging because I can try new things and perhaps I will be happy with the outcome of this experiment and can expand my topics and such, however, I am also aware that if it werent necessary,  I would not be doing this and would be focusing on the topics and subject matter I would be more inclined to write about and focus on .  I am not faulting this venue for their style or audience tastes, far from it. Every venue has their own flavor and style and some poets mesh well in some places and dont in others.

In the case of this venue, it’s just too bad that I do not hear as much of a variety in content and sometimes it seems like it limits the audience’s tastes only to what they are familiar with. I also take personal issue with the judging style used in that venue because I think there is room for bias, as well as padding the audience (i.e. if youre a poet and bring a crew of 10 people to the show, you will most likely advance) and (speaking from a coaching perspective) it can mess up strategy for bigger national competitions if you are not familiar with the standard 5 judges format. ( mind you this is just nit-pick personal taste and my opinion, as I do think it is good for the audience in this venue as they can feel more integral to the show itself) 

Bottom line: I suppose it could be said that I should just be a better writer and performer and that will help me succeed, and I totally agree. I do need to step up my game if I want to succeed.  I do love being a part of the community and if nothing else, I feel like I need to be more involved both on and off the stage.

 

ok venting is done:

on to other news

So I’m aout 12 1/2 weeks pregnant (yay!) and since I got preggo, my creative spark has been very high, which I give total credit to Baby Bee, as I am positive s/he is an art baby. I am positive that I will write more poems about “being pregnant” as the process progresses, but so far, my creativity has been channeling stories of other pregnant women. A couple years ago, I began to write a poem about a pregnant alcoholic, and since I became pregnant edited it to final draft status and began performing it. In a way, it is surreal to assume this role, as I have had problems with alcohol in the past (although for the record, have not been drinking at all since I found out I was pregnant) and I can imagine what that persona could be like, as many of the things the woman says in the poem are things I have felt personally (i.e. not wanting to continue the familial generational cycle of abuse and addiction). Other stories of pregnant women are floating to the surface of my mind and awareness, and I think it is great that through this new and most important experience of my life, I am compelled to tap into those stories and write about them. For me, I get to not only process my own feelings about pregnancy, but also get the opportunity to share stories and experiences felt by so many other women in the world and throughout history.

here is the poem I wrote:

 

Cradle

When I was 8 My father explained to me Our bodies are 90% water

That people were ‘jelly fish with spines, but never as pretty.’

What once was my bi-weekly hobby

Became a daily downpour of Jack Daniel schooners’

Captain Morgan

empty glass throats

still as the table I sat as a child

watching my father

he taught me how to live on sour mash and bloody Mary mix

It took him most of the afternoon to find enough southern comfort

to keep His fault line hands from tremors

His daily hobby

was building ships in the remains of the day’s intoxication

He would lay out every precious piece

In neat tombstone rows in front of a hungry bottle

Broken masts, 

twisted planks

hanging thread

Cradled in glass

each finished masterpiece

stacked in the empty bottles of his addiction

by the time his liver failed him there were a hundred

when the two lines appeared on the pregnancy test

I was hungover

trying to piece together the blacked out moment of your conception.

I know there are stories of children who can remember Before there were here, born

never asking to exist

all i wanted

was for you to be a remedy

for my self destruction

but oceans are destructive by nature

swallowing ships

splintering their fragile frames

some still born babies of alcoholics

are so deformed, they are kept for medical education

placed in mason jars full of moonshine

others are born alive

after 9 months of swimming

in amniotic liquor

still craving their mothers’ rum soaked wombs

each sip makes a fetus drunk for 3 days

so in a sense, you and I

have always been drinking buddies

we always closed the bars

4 months later

your body an un seaworthy vessel still being built

underdeveloped

Back bent into a fragile question

only god can answer

child, if you can remember this moment of your existence

when you moved in the darkness inside me

as warmth rivered through your limbs

like the lingering heat

after a whiskey shot

realize that some ships never make maiden voyages

dry docked

and only confined to the bottles that they were built inside of

I understand now

some treasures should only be buried

if only to keep them safe.

From rising tides

alcoholic anchors

spineless mollusk for a mother

unworthy of a pearl

I was never built to be anything but hollow

I pray for mornings of red seas between my thighs

like a broken merlot bottle

and think of you

perfectly preserved

my child

who will never suffer the cruelty of the air

addicitve legacy

or my father’s fate

 

I will silence the sirens that for generations

have driven us to swallow salt water

my gift  to you

is a  stinging sea that will consume us both

            as my nightly runs to the liquor store bear a glass cradle

I carry in the crook of my arm

holding it snug against my body

like it were precious

as a newborn….

copyright 2013 Melissa Rose