The ground rules are usually once one gets started, the audience remains quiet and attentive, although drinking and imbibing are by all means not discouraged.
Sometimes if the cypher is chaotic, there is an MC of sorts who picks the next poet, other times (usually at calmer events or those with seasoned slam poets) the poet performing chooses the next poet. It's usually a profoundly democratic system even when the room is bordering on a collective 0.12 blood alcohol content.
If you get chosen, you perform one poem. It's generally good form to perform a "new" poem the room did not hear earlier in the slam, unless it's specifically requested by the crowd. When complete, it's good etiquette to chose a poet you haven't heard, don't know, or who isn't from your home venue or home city. This serves to emphasize the camaraderie of the Slam Family, or "Slamily," because even though we are cutthroats with strategy when on stage, we are really artists off stage who just want to share our words.
Those poets and non who think slam is too competitive an art form or full of unyielding egos (ex-girlfriends, I'm winking at you) need to stick around and witness the community support and bohemian beauty what happens at a cypher. Deep down, afterparties and cyphers are the root of why we slam poets continually experience profound moments after slams and at regional and national bouts. This one (and the amazing slam) certainly made the nine-hour car trip from Sedona to Salt Lake City worth every mile.
|Janelle Wilson from Boise, Idaho, "planking" on Lauren Perry from Phoenix|
|Cody Winger from Salt Lake City, left as Janelle Wilson, Tara Brenner and Cheryl Maddalena from Boise, Idaho, chat with The Klute from Phoenix.|
|Jesse Parent emotes|
|Dominique Christina Ashaheed performs|
|Lauren Perry performs|
|Aaron Johnson from Phoenix performs|
|Ayinde Russell performs|
|Ayinde Russell performs while Gray Brian looks off, contemplating the awesomeness of that belt buckle. My foot is bedecked in the Chuck Taylor at right.|
|The Klute, with his Cthulu T-shirt, performs|
|Tara Brenner performs|
|Cheryl Maddalena from Team Boise. Note the aforementioned "beautiful" tattoo in 200pt Times New Roman on her left arm.|
|Lauren Perry performs in her zombie tanktop.|
|Adorable Rebeca Mae, Gray Brian's girlfriend, performs.|
|Leah Cronen from Bosie performs. Note to viewers: the city is pronounced "Boy-See," not "Boy-Zee"|
|Levi Rogers performs|
|The Klute with his "O" face, performing|
|Gray Brian performs|
|Josh McGillis performs via SmartPhone|