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Jelena aka Helen the Bashful Dragon 6.12.02
Da Lounge Is Da Bomb - Part 2

Yes, I know, I've said it before: Da Poetry Lounge is da bomb! But I have to say it again... Especially after last night's show there. And a very special show it was. As a matter of fact, it was a talent showcase created for a few big honchos from a few big name record labels, but all of us ordinary folks got to enjoy it, too. So, the first half of the regular poetry reading was scrapped in favor of the showcase, but I didn't hear anyone complain.

By now, you are probably burning with curiosity, asking who was in the showcase and what was it they showcased. Well, it was anything from spoken word to music to rap and anything in between. The evening started with some local poets to help warm up the crowd: GaKnew with his "Black Man" poem, Thea with a great love poem, Gimel with (get this) another love poem, Javon with a brand new (and I must say quite powerful) poem, and Steve Connell with an old favorite. Then, the showcase began with an awesome vocalist -- a 14-year old named Malee (hope I spelled your name right, girl!) who blew our minds with a perfect a-capella performance and a nice rendition of Stevie Wonder's "Ribbons in the Sky." She was followed by none other than Sekou tha Misfit, who brought the house down with three raps and his Sekou-rants-at-God piece. It was really great to feel his energy and hear familiar words over an interesting beat. Not to mention getting to re-acquaint ourselves with the unavoidable Uncle Four-Lips. Sekou had some help from two "accomplices" one of whom was his own brother, Azikiwe (aka Raw Daddy). And as though his perfect performance was not enough, Kou hung around a little longer, helping Shihan with the "Nigga Rap" and a couple of other pieces. Shihan also did one of his tried and true poems and finished with an 80's flashback in collaboration with Gina Loring.

And talking about Gina... Aaahhhh! What can I say?!? That girl can SING! And she can WRITE! And she is absolutely amazing! She performed two songs that she wrote and a poem about her baby cousin. And let me tell you, those songs got everybody in the audience involved. The female half of the audience could completely relate to the first one ("I am not a secretary") 'cause every female poet out there had those days in her life when she was repeating to herself: I am not a secretary (or a waitress, or a receptionist, or whatever the case may be), repeating it like a mantra just to stay alive and true to herself. The second song ("41 shots in Amadou Dialo - NYPDiablo") got everyone in there who had a voice singing the chorus. And we wanted more of Gina, more, more... But the show had to go on. It was time for Poetri's own sister, Dee, accompanied by a guy (whose name everybody kept mispronouncing) on the acoustic guitar. Then, Tunnel Rats took the stage. I never realized what a diverse band they were. Not until last night, that is. They could rap (Macho, Elsie, Rafi, and a bunch of others -- both male and female), they could sing, they had musicians playing all sorts of imaginable instruments ... heck, they could even pull off a couple of perfect ballads backed by the wonderful John Villalobos on acoustic guitar, who at times sounded quite like a classical guitarist.

All in all, everybody had a great time, everybody on stage sounded great, and I sure do hope those big shots felt the same way. We want some amazing record deals for these amazing people! Why?!? Because they are amazing... and because we are poets, damn it!

P.S. Come by Da Lounge next Tuesday, too. The Battle for L.A. is beginning and you will see all three Los Angeles area slam teams in action battling each other in preparation for the Nationals in Minneapolis later this summer. I'm telling you, Da Lounge is da... You get the picture!


Jelena aka Helen the Bashful Dragon 6.7.02

Sweet Taste of Maple Syrup

syrup – n. mass 1. a sweet, fairly thick liquid food made from sugar.

maple – n. count 1. a tree with five-pointed leaves that grows in countries which do
not have hot climates. 2. maple leaf is the emblem of lovers in Oriental cultures.

totem – n. count 1. an object that is regarded as a symbol by particular group of people who treat it with great respect.

If you have never listened to Totem Maples before, you are bound to get completely immersed in the poetically thick, lyrically sweet but not sugary sound of their musically backed spoken word that overflows with symbolism and love. Maple syrup at its best, indeed! And now it is available on a CD. Totem Maples first (double) album, titled "nus eht ot pirt" (Trip to the Sun), was released early this year and is already making waves on the spoken word scene. Recently, I managed to get my dirty little hands on a copy of this gem, and I highly recommend it to all of you, LitRavers.

From track one of this recording, you will be floating on the surface of music like on calm ocean and diving into the meanings of words, sailing on the smooth, polished and soulful sound of “sweet poetry unshackled,” wishing to drown in the depths of imagery, and wanting to never come down from this poetic and musical high. You will be asking yourselves “if the poets are cursed” (Dusk Cantation) … and if you are cursed. You will be wondering “if Jesus is ever writing poems about you and does he treat you as a singer, hanging posters on the wall.” (Muse) You will fall under the spell of Totem Maples “sweet legacies,” and “close your eyes and let poetry experiment with you.” (Experimental) From unpretentiously jazzy sound of love poems (love for nature, the city, as well as fellow human beings), over the ambient sounds underlying spiritual messages, to an Irish drinking song in The Parting Glass and the captivating cacophony of The Americans, Totem Maples explore a whole gamut of human emotions and universal truths as Larry “pours his hot poetic soul into a cup” (The Parting Glass) and “speaks in tongues of rainbows.” (Modern Prometheus)

It is extremely hard to pick just one favorite from this album, and it is even harder to decide between the studio recording and the live one. While the studio recordings present themselves as polished and professional, the live recordings on the other hand, capture all the energy of Totem Maples in live performance, from the mystery of Indrumduction, over almost tactile imagery of Solomon's Princess, to “Columbine, Waco and coffee & cream L.A. … suits and ties, white collared lies” of The Americans. So, “What else can a poet say?” What else can a critic say except, “Bravo!” If a book can be judged by its cover, the book titled Totem Maples is bound to be a bestseller.

Note: Information about purchasing the album and a schedule of Totem Maples live performances can be found on their website, www.totemmaples.com or by e-mailing them at totemmaples@hotmail.com

Jelena aka Helen the Bashful Dragon 6.6.02
Dear Family (poetic and otherwise),

I have just posted online a few MP3s from my upcoming spoken word CD, Sound Exposure - Take 1 (working title; although my producer prefers to call them Angel Songs; you are welcome to submit ideas for the title, too). I would love it if you checked them out at your convenience and gave me your feedback (if you please). You can find me at http://jelena.iuma.com The CD will be coming out sometime in June, and will sell for $8 (plus shipping for those of you who do not live in L.A.), or $10 (plus shipping) in combination with my chapbook (you get a DEEP discount here if you purchase both).

Of course, if you like what you hear, please feel free to pass the info to your friends and whoever else might be interested.

Thank you and enjoy!

Shameful self-promoter signing off...
Jelena

Wayman Barnes 6.6.02
Better late than never, right?

On April 25th (I believe) the Valley Contemporary Poets competed against the Five Penny Poets in a Literary Slam as part of the first ever Orange County Poetry Festival.

PS: The Five Penny Poets won.

Wayman Barnes 6.4.02

A couple of new poet sites (new to me, anyway):
Steve Connell (the reigning Hollywood Grand Slam Champion) www.yapimadigg.com
Sekou the Misfit (hosts a reading every third Tuesday of the month at Fais-Do-Do) www.blindfaithrecords.com

Wayman Barnes 6.4.02
Have you guys seen all the stuff Rachel Kann has done to her Website? Looks good. Check it out: http://www.inspirachel.com

Jelena aka Helen the Bashful Dragon 6.3.02
Slamming Mystery Solved

Dear LitRavers, your humble reporter is pleased to announce that she has FINALLY figured out the line-up of the local slam teams to represent Los Angeles at the Nationals in Minneapolis in August. Yes, it took me a little longer, but I finally got it right. So, fanfare please!

The Hollywood/Miracle Mile Team: Steve Connell, Talaam Acey, Bridget Gray, Sekou tha Misfit, and Gaknew (alternate); slam master - Shihan.

The Los Angeles Team: Gina Loring, Thea, Shihan, Javon the Golden Child, and Omari (alternate); slam masters - Damon and Christmas.

The Long Beach Team: Buddy Wakefield, Rachel Kann, R-A-C, Nafeesa Monroe, and Michael Cirelli (alternate); slam master - Paul Suntup.

And, talking about Long Beach team, they will be facing off in competition with the San Diego team on Friday, June 7th at 9:15 p.m. If you want to hear some sizzling spoken word and maybe take part on the open mic, the address for the reading is:

Wells Fargo Bank Building
260 Ocean Ave
Third Floor
Laguna Beach

Keep your eyes and ears open for more local team face-offs to come!


The Exorcist 5.31.02
Exorcist posting: The feature Saturday at Mia's did something I wished all the features would do. Better yet I wish all poets did it. Most every poet that knows me is aware that I sell single poem booklets for a dollar. A friend of mine said I took him back to Shakespeare's time when people sold broadsides.The feature didn't have a chapbook but he did have a broadside single sheet of hardstock poetry with about four of his poems on it. A bargain for 25 cents. Nobody had an excuse for not getting it. So here's an in-depth review of Larry Colker because he thought to be that considerate. 'The Lizard Series'. I told him it would have been a hoot if he'd taken Jim Morrison's nickname 'The Lizard King'. One line in 'Contentment took us by surprise.'...thumb and fingers spreading in precise anticipation as I imagine they would reach for a man's cock, nerve circuits readying for contact, slipping around the circumference, pressing with exact firmness..' He did a great piece. One line and he shifted all the words around every time he repeated the line. He did a great rhyming piece too. My favorite in the Lizard Series is 'Call of the Wild discovery channel'

Prehensile noses
Lizards that squirt poisoned blood from their eyes
Females that decapitate their mates during sex
Bugs that live only one day
Birds that can't land without falling over
Frogs that live under desert sand for years
Carnivorous plants
Flies that shoot their eggs like bombs into bees' burrows
How can you be amazed that I find your ear sexy?

Tuesday at the Lounge I attended the finals. Gevon calibrated. The set up was four rounds and three of the rounds for each poet would be randomly selected for totalling. Bowerbird told me people played around with different scoring ideas a lot when slams were first conceived because they didn't take scoring poets seriously. Were they trying to capture that spirit Tuesday? Who knows. In advance I can tell you that Steve Conell benefited greatly from it. He came first because the round they randomly dropped for him was the one where he went over time and lost half a point. The players were Omari, GaKnew, Steve, Bridget, Seiku and Talaam. 4 rounds each. Talaam won the first round. Steve took the second with a perfect 30. Almost got five 10's. One judge gave him a 9.9. It was his 'I'm an American!' piece.'....you should use this shit against me!'Inq and Thea calibrated. Inq was the highlight for me. He said he was in anger management classes to deal with his feelings about the judge that gave him an 8.9. 'The judge that gave me an 8.9' was sort of the title for his poem. Actualy it was longer than that. He blanked near the end which caused him to utter a few expletives deleted. He decided then to freestyle. He asked someone in the crowd for a word. Someone said 'Peace' and he flowed and got a 29.3 for it. Two of the judges blessed him with 10's. RAC calibrated too. Talaam took the third round with perfect ten's all across the board. I'd never heard the piece before. Steve and Talaam tied on the third round with tens all across the board. Combining all the poets it was the highest scoring round I'd ever seen at any slam, but then these were all finalists. Wednesday I did poetry with a band behind me. It was a lot of fun. Me and about 6 other poets. The venue was '217' on Broadway. Thursday I caught the end of the 'Green' final because I was in the Pig slam. I caught Shihan and Thea doing a tie-off. Thea, Bridget, Gina and Sekou won but because some of them were already on the Hollywood team. So the final LA team was Shihan, Thea, Gina and Gevon. Back to the Pig slam. I felt the high's and the lows of Slam. I came first out of five people the previous week but this week came last out of seven. I was mortified, to say the least. Rives won the first round with a great piece about how people would act if God was here. One judge was wrong giving him a 7.9 but one judge scored him a perfect 10. A girl called Eka got a perfect 10 but also got two 7's. Dufflyn, the host also took part and did pretty good. Gimel got the second highest score. Jim Bolt did his 99 cents store piece. Katie who had placed before got 27.1. I did my 'Crystal meth' piece and got burnt by the two youngest judges who I believe may be part of the techno scene and didn't appreciate a poem that probably sounds like a lecture. I got a total of 25. The exciting thing was seeing the place packed out more than the previous week as people gradually realized what was going on in the room. I was glad to be a part of that. I did a poem on Spiderman in the second round that I call 'The Worldwide Web'. In both rounds I'd read off paper but that hadn't hurt Dufflyn. I had the two pieces memorized but I didn't know until Monday that the slam was on Thursday so I'd only had three days to memorize two pieces. I could have done old pieces but I always like to perform the latest pieces I write and that's my downfall as you're tightest with poem's you've had for months or years. I won last week because I went with two tight pieces. This time the two 7's bumped up their scores with two 8's. The other three judges gave me 9.4, 9.4 and 9.3. Dufflyn did a piece about catcaller's. 'Show us some skin!'. Rives did an awesome piece. Great play on words about a girl he got with sexually. He got two 10's and three judges gave him 9.9. Total of 29.8. One of the judges that sevened me was trying to give him 10.10. My best memory that night was the judge who was seated next to me who had given me 9.9 for the meth piece. When I sat down he looked at me and said 'Thank you'.

Wayman Barnes 5.25.02
Encino's so Bitchin'

Ron Dvorkin is oh so bitchin'. The man knows how to get a good thing goin' in the most unlikely of places. Who'd have thunk that one of the hippest, happenin'poetry readings in Southern California would be in ... Encino?! And in a Barnes and Noble, no less?!!
Well, on May 25th Ron's reading was the place to be. No doubt about it. You should have been there.

The last Saturday of every month
At 8pm, FREE
Barnes & Noble
16461 Ventura Blvd.
Encino

PS: Everyone was drinking Starbuck's. Who'd have thunk it?!!!


Jelena aka Helen the Bashful Dragon 5.24.02

Drama Never Ends in the City of Angels

Just as you thought the L.A. Slam wars could not get any more dramatic, here comes the final slam at Green! Yes, I was there last night, and though I was really (and I mean REALLY) paying attention, I still don't know who the heck is on the 2002 L.A. Slam Team. No, this humble reporter is not coming down with SDS (suddenly-dumb syndrome). It's just that even after the scores have been tabulated, some of the spots on the team still carry a big question mark.

Let me start from the beginning... Green was packed to the brim again Thursday night, and everything was looking good: the newly painted stage wall in (what other color but) green with the big tagger-style sign that read (what else but) 'Green,' the awesome grooves spun by the resident DJ Jedi, the lights, the cameras, and above all else - the action. The night started with two calibration poets who were so hot they could have very well been part of the competition: Jamie Chan-Ortega and R. Macho Ortega. And yes, they are related ... that is, if being married to one another counts as being related. Then, competitors took the stage. And for all of us who were surprised by the line-up, this was just the beginning.

Steve Connell, who already made the Hollywood team, gave up his spot in the competition, so Thea got a chance to fill it. Poetri, who left for San Francisco yesterday, was not competing either, so instead of eight, there were only seven finalists: Bridget Gray, Omari Latif, Shihan, Sekou tha Misfit, Thea, Gina Loring, and Javon the Golden Child. Although competition was hotter than hot, the first perfect 30 didn't come until the third round, and the first poet to get it was Gina. However, she went over time and was penalized by 0.5 deduction. Shihan read after her, going down the list of things he is "sick and tired of" to score a perfect 30 himself. He was followed by Thea, and what else but another 30. For all of those who thought this was the end of competition a surprise was in store. There was a tie. Two ties to be precise. Bridget Gray was in first place with 88.8 points. Gina Loring and Sekou tha Misfit were tied for the second with 88.6 each, and Shihan and Thea were tied for the fourth with 88.3 points. Since only four poets make up the team and one ends up being an alternate, Shihan and Thea had to go into a slam-off.

Thea read first, musing about a "man with the eyes the color of damn!" and scored 29.8 points. Shihan followed with one of his tried and true pieces, but fell short of the fourth place by only one tenth of a point (bet he was having Seattle flashbacks). So, for all of those who know how to count to five, the question of the 2002 L.A. Slam Team line-up was answered: Bridget, Gina, Sekou, Thea, and Shihan as an alternate. Still, it's not that simple... Bridget and Sekou have both qualified for the Hollywood team as well, and it will be up to them now to choose which team they want to be on. So, that still leaves the door ajar for Javon and Omari to get on the L.A. team or for GaKnew and Omari to get on the Hollywood team. Drama just never ends in the city of Angels!

Jelena aka Helen the Bashful Dragon 5.22.02
Slamming Divine in the City of Angels

It's that time of the year again, folks! Local poets are wrapping up slam competitions for the three local teams to represent Los Angeles at the Nationals in Minneapolis this summer. Long Beach got their team lined up already: Buddy Wakefield (stolen from Seattle), Rachel Kann, R-A-C, Nafeesa Monroe, and Mike Cirelli (stolen from Oakland) as an alternate. Last night, Da Poetry Lounge hosted a sizzling hot final competition for the four spots (and two alternates) on the Hollywood/Miracle Mile team, and on Thursday, May 23rd, Green will be hosting finals for the Los Angeles team. Rumor has it that somebody in Los Feliz decided to put together her own slam team, so competition is still underway at The Bourgeois Pig (yes, that is the REAL name of the venue).

But before I disclose the winners of the finals at Da Lounge, I absolutely have to give you some details. That's the least I can do to make you hate yourselves for not being there last night. The six finalists (Talaam Acey, Steve Connell, GaKnew, Omari, Bridget Gray, and Sekou Tha Misfit) competed in four rounds. All the scores were added up, and then poets were asked to draw one round from the hat. Whichever number they drew, that score was dropped from their total, and the remaining score was used to determine the winner. Yes, I know, I know... A little confusing, but that's how the slam masters wanted it to be.

Needless to say, Da Lounge was packed as usual, even if the charge at the door was raised to $5. And not only were the finalists hot like hell, calibration poets were hot too. Javon the Golden Child got the judges warmed up really fast, and In-Q (who messed up in the middle of his poem and went on freestyling like mad) and Thea had them practically glue those score cards together so they could show only 9.5 and above for the second half of the competition. But back to the stars of the evening... Everybody, and I mean EVERYBODY looked their absolute best tonight - no glitches, no skipped lines, no half-hearted delivery. Everybody was in the moment and living for that moment. After the first two rounds, it was still anybody's game. Steve Connell claimed "his territory" and emphatically proclaimed he was "an American and had the right not to remain silent," which put him in the lead with 59.7 points. He was closely followed by Talaam Acey, who started off by giving us a piece of his mind on the topic of slams and judging only to invite us "to come back forward." That put him at 59.5 points, just 0.1 ahead of Bridget Gray, who talked about her painful childhood memories and showed us how proud she was to be a woman. Omari (with his "Wise O" social/spiritual spiel) and Sekou (bringing forth the infamous Uncle Four-Lips) were tied at 59 even, and Gaknew was not that far behind either with 58.6 points. In the next two rounds, Talaam scored a perfect 30 for each. Steve was right up there with one perfect 30 ("Straw to Gold," Steve!) and a 29.9. Unfortunately, he went over time and 0.5 points were deducted from that 29.9 to drop him to 29.3 and make the finale even more dramatic. Bridget pulled two of her standard audience-pleasers from her hat ("A Letter to Hip-Hop" and "What If We Kissed?")to end up with two 29.9's, and Gaknew scored two 29.8's while he invited us to march "left, right, slide, dip..." emerging as a serious contender for one of the winning spots. Sekou took no prisoners even though he admitted to hating sooooo many things ("I Hate Beige Jeep Grand Cherokees") and ranted at God for giving him all the tough lessons in life to learn. He scored 29.9 in the fourth round, which put him in a position to possibly play a wildcard in the end. The female part of the audience was very excited when Omari scored 29.9 in the last round, but the excitement deflated quickly when the timekeeper announced that Omari went over time and was penalized by 1-point deduction to drop him to 28.9 and thus significantly diminish his chances of getting a spot among the top four. If all four rounds were taken into account when determining the winner, the line-up would have been (from top to bottom): Talaam Acey, Bridget Gray, Steve Connell, Sekou, Gaknew, and Omari. And all of this only within a 2-point difference between the first place and the sixth place. However, after the dubious "round dropping" exercise behind the scenes, the final line-up was as follows:

6th place, with 88.2 points - Omari Latif,
5th place, with 88.4 points - GaKnew,
4th place, with 88.5 points - Sekou tha Misfit,
3rd place, with 89.3 points - Bridget Gray,
2nd place, with 89.5 points - Talaam Acey,
and the big winner, with 89.7 points - Steve Connell.

Talk about an awesome slam team! Shihan must be very happy to be their slam master. Do I smell a national title coming to Hollywood this year?

However, we should not discount the Los Angeles team yet. So, come to Green on Thursday to see what Damon is cooking in his slam master brew! And stop by to say 'hello!' I will be there rain or shine.

And last but not least, best wishes to my 'adopted brother,' Poetri! He is leaving for San Francisco on Thursday to spend half a year working on a play there. You are the greatest, bro! And I do hope they get to love you over there as much as we do here in Los Angeles. We'll miss you, Poetri! Your poems about Krispy Kreme donuts and ants, your bad jokes, your dancing to Michael Jackson songs... I've got to go now before I get all misty-eyed. And, Poetri, you get 'em, tiger!


The Exorcist 5.17.02

Exorcist posting: Friday at Midnite Eric was so on form that Dana gave him a CD in return for being allowed to use some of his material. Eric talked about humans being in a swimming pool of milk and aliens seeing them and saying "Look! Human cereal!" He said he was trying to daydream but his mind kept focusing. On Saturday at Mia's Dana said suicide prevention centers talk to you until you don't feel like killing yourself. The opposite of telemarketing. I did tele-sales for five years so I felt that one. Adam was the feature. He mentioned narcissism and Tiresias in the same poem which fascinated me because I'm a Libran and Tiresias is what Libra symbolizes. We're narcissistic to the degree James Brown sang about 'Jump back and kiss myself!'. Admit it, you Librans out there. Always check ourselves out in a reflection. Tuesday at the Lounge Poetri announced that he'll be away in San Francisco for 8 months to do a play, I think. DefPoetry connection, I think. Poetri Lounge won't be the same. Who will fill in? Next Tuesday is a finals and it's $5 to get in but believe me it will be worth it. Some top notch oets will be there. On June 4th they will have the 2 year anniversary of the Lounge and the week after will be a musical showcase. I did poetry at the Reign Restaurant on Robertson and Wilshire Thursday night. 5 poets were scheduled but 8 more turned up. Beautiful thing. One guy came spontaneously out of the crowd and did a short piece. Gaknew performed. One guy did a sensual piece that went really well with the musicians providing musical accompaniment. Exorcist signing off.


Wayman Barnes 5.12.02
Psychobabblin'

Our LitRave at the Psychobabble Coffeehouse was, as much as anything, cathartic. We were able to purge some of the untreated neuroses and perfunctory guilt we had acquired by avoiding the Eastside for so long. Of course, by confronting and accepting these repressed feelings we were able to tap into our unconscious and find a hitherto unknown feeling of subjectivity and poetic license which we shared with the wonderfully oedipal of Los Feliz.

Psychobabble Cabaret Poets & Musicians:
Kenny Klein - Cotton-eyed Joe
Crispin - Inspirational Poetry
Brian - Interpretive Dance
Krista - Collisions/Dialogues
Dylan Gus Anarchy - Loud guitars and drums
Jason - More than one poem
Leslie - Goddess of Cool
Robinson - One and one don't make two
Wayman - Who knows?
Frankie - Featured and drank coffee
Jocelyn Wright - Lipstick

Psychobabble
Sundays at 8*
1866 N. Vermont St.
* On hiatus in June

Wayman Barnes 5.11.02
Hey Exorcist, congratulations! Keep it pouring!


The Exorcist 5.11.02

Exorcist posting: Just had a trippy experience, Wayman. I'm about to post this and I've got Maury Povich in the background and he says your name. He had a guest called 'Waymon' so I'm in the Twilight Zone right now. There's a third Waymon in the world it seems. Anyway. At the Lounge Verbal Toxicity did a really trippy poem about taking on the Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse! There was a slam winner who did an awesome piece. He said he was there spying on us. I think he was from Boston. His poem was about how to do a political poem for maximum impact. It was hilarious. He said three times 'Say the same thing three times'. He talked about pausing and so on. I mentioned the Bourgois Pig Slam and I'm happy to report that I won the slam there last week. My first slam win. Weird night. Previous week there were ten competitors but there were only five this week. Gimel from the Lounge and Jim Bolt were two of the others. I knew Gimel would be hard to beat because I've seen people that were slam winners come out in a first round at some slams but as far as I recall Gimel would usually always get to a third round. The host said that she would have 2 rounds and three would be in the second so me and Gimel and Jim Bolt went into the second. Gimel scored highest with a 26.1. I came second with 25.8 and Jim got 24.8. I did a poem about being schizophrenic called 'Arena of my mind'. Gimel got 8.7/8.5/9.2/8.9 and 7.6. Less love than he gets at the Lounge and Green. It was a different vibe here as the title 'Bourgois Pig' suggests so I'd selected which poems to do as a result of going there the previous week. I'd never seen Gimel get below 9 before and at Green once he got 10's from all five judges. Jim got 9.5/8.1/6.6/7.7 and a 9. I got 7.3/8.9/8.4/8.5 and a 9.5. In the second round I had the disadvantage of going first. I did a poem that Shihan, a consistent slam winner said was my best called 'The Weekly World News'. Christmas also said it was my best so I intentionally saved it for the second round. I got 8.9/8.9/8.7/9/9 and a 9 for a total of 26.8. Jim Bolt helped me because in the first round he was the fourth poet and the first one to forego the mike. I felt it was a sign to do the same. One judge asked him if he could use it so that they could hear him clearly but he still went without as it was a small space. Smart move. You can be more descriptive with two hands. So I followed suit. He read from a piece of paper in the first round but had a memorized piece in the second. Believe me, people. Memorized and no mike really helps your scores. He was like Shakespeare on a box because he knew we were down to the wire. He laughed after when I told him that's what I was thinking. I'd never been in a final round before so it felt weird sitting there knowing only him or Gimel had to fall. His first piece was about pollution.'Cancer is good business. Good business is cancer'. His second piece was about travelling to Mecca but not being able to find his keys. He got 6.9/7.9/7.4/8.5 and 8.7 for a total of 23.8. That's about what I got the previous week when I fell out in the first round. Gimel got 8/7.8/8.8/9.2 and 8.9 for a total of 25.7 so it was close. I was spaced out tripping that I beat King Lyric G. The two of us go on to the semi's which the host said would be at the Tamarind Theatre. Strange journey. I was homeless for three years and wrote what I felt would have been a best seller. Lost all that I wrote. It would have been a 2000 page book. My three year diary on the streets. One day a paragraph, another day I wrote for 6 hours non-stop. Some days were unplanned prose. Each day I had a really cool quote from books and mags that I read. Day one was a Morgan Freeman quote 'L.A. is not a good place to run out of money'. On the way to the slam I was reading the latest 'Venice' with him on the cover and in his article it mentioned he'd been a stage actor for decades before his 'ovenight success'. He said he realized at one point that success comes to you when you're ready for it. Weird reading that before winning this slam. I would have been happy with second place but coming first was a trip. I'd really rehearsed before though and during the slam. More into writing so I hated to keep spinning a poem in my head. I have a feature at Charlotte's on June 29th if anyone wants to come. Just outside the Santa Monica mall in Tanner's Coffee Shop. My first feature and first slam win. It doesn't rain, it pours. Anyway I'm still spaced out and signing out.



Jenny Gabrielle 5.8.02
Wrongway Icarus

Drowning is a pleasure
of sweetness
coming on like floods
lapping my feet
like dogs -
Melt my callouses
I am made golden
by virtue of epiphanies
by my love which liquifies
my body until I turn
inward
into the sun

The rough green of Ireland
the twilight wedged under the skin
water
in my eyes
falling out of my mouth
we have been waiting a long
time for the rain

A pretty jewel of a window
blue as swimming pools
stuck in a shadow wall
and above it the towers
of Avalon

A city rushes
the reeds break under my
palm into backwards
locusts

filling the air with the sound
of bending
the gentle crack of release
mouldy fingers trace the edges of the
sky TV a rough
outline of glass
the ice breaks on the shore
like a tangam
we have lost all notions
how to fix it
only the sky before me now
torn empty
filling with birds
that dizzingly
fly from the sea
to a nothing in my heart
that is as blasted as the
voice of Godmouth
waiting for the rain
pulling water
from the wind
which sighs
like Godheads
over everything
into crevices
we, waiting on the stairwell

I am tripping, running over my
feet bent backward,
if I fall flat on my face
a thousand shards of laughter
will explode from my brain
the blue eyed
wings of moths
gone wasted on light
and night
and lonely joy
a large glass broke open today
holding all my life
in the edges of (______)

small bird
whispers
to you
under my dress
my fingers race over the skin
of piano keys-
leaving a stink in the air
a siren jumps like a needle
through the night

Children
are broken and lay into
the streets
with a rancor to
dig

[7.16.02][5.5.02]