I had thought about doing English Major, because humor goes over well at Essenza, but general slam-offs that I've seen, humor takes a back seat to serious poems. Going so early in the round, after David Tabor's humor piece got low scores, I figured it was a lock. If I had seen how the night was going to turn out, I might have save it for a later round and done English Major, for a quick high score. Bottomline, Manifesto of an Addict was an top-notch performance, but bad strategy.
I hadn't done the piece since tour and one fluke drunk slam at Essenza in December. I don't think I can break it out in a hard-core competition again because it doesn't soun right as a solo poem.
Target: Corbet Dean. Maybe a bad idea (especially if I knew his sister and mother were in the audience). I didn't want to early again for the rest of the slam, yet there I was first in round two. Good performance, great laughs, but the rule of score creep levels all. If Corbet and I carpool to Sedona next week for the slam, I may not make it back....
I had a toss up between English Major, Bookstore Dreams and , This Poem Has a Secret Title. In the end, I wanted to do the poem I had always wanted to read in Arizona. I wrote this poem in downtown Manhattan the night I and my Save the Male Tour featured in the Nuyorican's Poet Cafe, June 21st 2002. It felt great to read it and get it off my chest, and I thought the beauty of it outweighed any score, high or low. By that point, 4th was a distant goal, only if Regina and Jon Standifird got time penalties and I were to get an unbelievably high score. Bottomline: my best piece of the night and the one I felt most proud of. It's deeply personal, with good reason, and the real title and inspiration is known by only a select few....
Score Creep is mother-fucker. David Tabor and Julie Elefante took the brunt of it. I got a bad piece too, and the real scores didn't start flying until Regina Blakely read.
theklute was genius. I love that anti-slam slam poem. I hope he does it a Nationals, hopefully, in the early rounds to pre-empt and drop-kick the other teams.
David Tabor got raped on scores.
The only slot really up for grabs was 4th. Alternate was also eligible, but that fourth slot was the only target for the 5 of us who weren't already assured. I think Regina Blakely rightly snagged it because she brought out a crowd-pleaser. No foul. The four of us who did not make the cut read what we felt and did an kick-ass, true-to-heart reading.
#1 One of the single best slams I've seen outside of a National team bout. Maybe Flagstaff 2001 was better, despite the venue, a slam I saw on tour at the Cantab where all 20+ poets were spectacular. I guess, with some reservation, that the point system does work.
#2 Cutting to 8 after round two was a bad, bad, bad idea. Everyone who slammed last night deserved to read three times, even if they had no shot at the team after round two. Everyone worked on three poems and being unable to read them was a harsh, bad idea. I disagree strongly with the decision to cut. This isn't Urbana, nor is it Boston. We read because we love to, not because we're cutthroat about points. There were no tears last night (except during poems) and no screaming and yelling afterwards. There was good blood among us all so that decision, again, was a serious flaw to the fairness of the sport. [Off my soapbox and stand to the left].
#3 Any one of the 11 of us deserved to be on that team. What it came down to was slot-pulls, the ever-permanent crap-shoot that are judges, and a few shitty scores.
#4 There is a cosmic reason I didn't make the team. Other forces were at work. Call me a crazy Pisces, but I all I know is what I know, if you know what I mean.
#5 Yay, Slam. You cruel, beautiful bitch, you. It's the only chess match artists have.