I bought Slam at a Scholastic Book Fair in 2000 and it took me on a wild ride that I may still be on. It had everything a sad, brown tween who was ashamed to cry in public needed to get by. For example, words…everywhere. Fast and loose. Coming at you from all directions all the time. Words that conveyed heartache, words that were meant to be read aloud while scream-weeping (naturally they were in all caps), words by Missy Elliot and words by Saul Williams that made me feel very anxious.
As if this wasn’t enough, they threw Our Lord and Savior Tori Amos in there!? Patron saint of 100% feelings 100% of the time, TORI AMOS! I mean I know it’s just the foreword but you know she went wildddddd!
This anthology is chock full o’stars!
From then on I became obsessed with slam poetry in a verrrry weird way for an 11 year old. Like – I was in love with Beau Sia, extensively followed his career and forced other 11 year olds to watch Def Poetry Jam with me at sleepovers so I could catch a glimpse of him in his wacky pink turtleneck- weird. And let me tell you, if there’s one thing a group of children do not want to talk to another child about it’s mildly comedic poems about failed relationships.
This still gives me a charge y’all. I’m a monster.
As a present day grown woman – with menstrual back pain and an extensive collection of sacks masquerading as clothing – I thought my slam poetry days were behind me. Turns out there was nothing further from the truth.
I present to you the babe of my dreams and a new, very chill, crying at my desk slam poetry vibe that is bubbling up from deep within me:
I watched this video 100 times and then I set a car on fire and drove it into the East River while screaming MELISSA! Where did I get a car you ask? To that I say, MELISSA! Amber, you don’t live or work anywhere near the East River? Doesn’t matter, MELISSA!
Now I’m drowning in a pool of Def Poetry Jam reruns mixed with my own tears. Except now that I’m almost 30 a month’s worth of crying in public (a 7 train platform, multiple duane reades, the times square hard rock cafe) feels less like spiraling and more like a verrrrry cool pastime.