Spoken Word~ noun. Poetry intended for performance, rather than just the page.
To many people poetry is a foreign concept, an art, mastered only by Dickensons, Thoreaus, and Seusses. I was among these ranks of disbelievers until I was approached with an opportunity to perform in a poetry competition a couple months back. The competition was for recitation only, but it was a hidden door in to the Vegas underground poetry scene. It was my wardrobe to Narnia, if you will. In the end, I didn’t win that competition, or even place, for that matter. In all honesty, by the time the competition came, I was already down a whole other rabbit hole. I had fallen into, and in love with, the slam poetry underground.
In search for help with my poetry competition, I was lead to a big red trailer in downtown Las Vegas. Where, I found possibly some of the best souls imaginable. There were men and women, couples and singles, of all nationalities, and orientations. It seemed everyone had a story to tell, and this was the place to tell it.
As each poet took the stage, stories of hurt and happiness, abuse and love, life and death, racism, sexism, homophobia, transphobia, and everything in between, flooded off the small stage. The audience, on modest folding chairs, beamed at each and every performer with nothing but love, acceptance, and positivity. Some of the performers shed their shoes, coats, hats, or jewelry to make themselves feel more venerable. They opened up, and let their emotions pour out of them. Each walked off stage looking raw, but cleansed, and purged of all negativity.
The people who stood before me were not Dickensons, Thoreaus, or Seusses, but normal people, channeling their energy into something brilliant, something that they could share and be proud of. It doesn’t take a poet, or even a rhyme, to perform spoken word; It just takes an idea and a voice.
This coming weekend I will be returning to the big red trailer in downtown Las Vegas, and hopefully I will be taking my place on that stage for the first time.