Slammin’ in October!
What an awesome slam we had this October!
With poets coming out from Guelph, Brantford, St. Catharines, Toronto, Oakville, and one dynamite feature from Columbus, Ohio – we were set to have a hot night!
Hosting duties were taken by yours truly this month, with Tomy playing Vanna on the scoreboard – which meant neither of us slammed, though we made sure to hit the open mic – I dropped a new piece that I can only describe as “an esoteric rambling about love”, and Tomy spit his Stephen King poem “Make you feel like you’re Dolores Clai-born for Nightmares & Dreamscapes”. But the real treat of the open mic this month came with our newer slammer, Saurav Jain – who delivered a passionate cry against letting fear get in the way of following your heart and your dreams – a sentiment that I’m pretty sure all of us artists can get behind 100%.
Keep an eye out for that one, he’s got fire in his heart, and he’s coming to learn and speak. I predict a deadly slammer in the future.
As for the slam, well, we got a little visit from the Guelph Team, getting some stage time for their team pieces (considering they were about to leave for CFSW), and this tends to be where you see the competition step up a notch.
Blood spilled on the stage courtesy of Dan Murray and Tomy Bewick.
Evie T’s offerings for the night began with a playfully human team piece with Bethanne about being a messy person. Despite its silliness and high level of boogers, it also reminded us of the patriarchal view that women are not “supposed” to be messy, along with connecting to everyone by reminding us all that we are all messes in our own way.
Her second piece began with the words “10 years later and I remember”, which was again, very human, and a somewhat sobering trip through a decade of memories.
Evie T’s stand-out line of the night: “I want to know what kind of person I have loved.”
Melly came charging in with a couple new, deeply personal poems, the first of which I can only refer to as ‘Welcome to Timbercreek” – which painting some alarming images of predators wearing masks of friendship. Her second piece was a heartbreaking poem about feeling lost and looking for direction in a life that feels overrun with suffering, and it resonated with every pulse of directionless anger and frustration.
Melly’s stand-out line of the night: “Always praying to a God I’m not even sure exists”
Eitan from Guelph brought us a team piece with Truth Is…; a meta-textual examination of consent in the performance of team pieces, and the declaration that if every writer does not want to perform the piece any given night, then the piece does not get performed. His second-round offering was what is becoming known as an Eitan “classic” – a poem that connects smiling hearts drawn by his father to the reminder to us, as people, to allow our hearts to smile. And what would, in the hands of many, seem like over-sentimental mush, becomes lived art when Eitan performs it – meet him offstage, and you’ll realize his money is where his mouth is.
Eitan’s stand-out line of the night: “When you really smile, I can see your whole heart smile.”
Sarah Burgess came up from St. Catharines to share some new work with us. The first, a personal poem about betrayal, the feeling of being wounded and speaking up for yourself called ‘Black rays of sunshine.’ Her second piece is one of the angriest pieces I’ve heard come out of her since she began slamming entitled “Equality” – about the constant preaching, judgement, and berating that goes along with dietary choices – from the vegans to the carnivores and vice-versa – this piece shouts aloud that what we eat is not worth fighting over.
Sarah’s stand-out line of the night: “Let it be, for fuck’s sake” (just for it’s rawness in context)
Korey with a K – one of only two BSPeeps who slammed tonight started us off with a piece about the system of whirlwinds that is psychiatric care, evaluation, medication, and making “crazy” part of one’s identity. There is a sense of being trapped in his own mind throughout, as both the mind and the system of mental-health can both be extremely prison-like. His second piece was a complete tonal-shift about a fart during a jog that proved itself to be a little more than that with nothing but lawns and no restrooms nearby. Little else needs to be said, but he says “I fart” so gracefully, for a second, he looks like a gazelle.
Korey’s stand-out line of the night: “All thoughts of civilization have fled my mind as I search for an option”
Bethanne from Guelph brought a fairly frightening team piece with the entire Guelph crew about the unknown death of Joyce Carol Vincent – and how our now almost effortless ability to disconnect from others causes us to disappear. Her second piece was an image of the gray-scale prison that overly urbanized areas can be, the lifeless man-made cities where oxygen is more a suggestion than anything. It made me quite desperately want to go up north for a month.
Bethanne’s stand-out line of the night: “Trapped in a city of concrete insanity”
KelsHarf – first time slammer! Long time BSPeep! Dropped a bomb on us with her piece about having an eating disorder that is not “according to Hoyle”, and the treacherous dance towards the cliff’s edge when the professionals don’t consider your situation to be an emergency. Her second piece was an instructional on being in love with an addict, and the painful reality of its difficulties. Both pieces showed incredible bravery, especially along with hitting the competitive stage for the first time.
KelsHarf’s stand-out line of the night: “You can’t crawl out of your own skin, even if being in it makes your skin crawl”
Former BSP rep Jaded brought us a taste of some new along with some classic – starting us off with a very honest poem about our abuse of land, people, and life in the name of capitalism & colonialism. Her second piece was a long-time favourite and classic about caffeine addiction, and a hilarious adventure through the impersonal “window-hand” of Tim Horton’s, the intimidating variety of Starbucks, and the eventual concession-cum-triumph of buying a drip machine and making your own damn coffee.
Jaded’s stand-out line of the night: “Now we dance to the beat of Heavy Metal distortion”
Toronto’s Ifrah Hussein came out to play, and as someone who has slammed against her several times in Toronto, I can attest to the fact that she is no joke. She led off with a mosaic of letters, to life, to death, to her father, and to love, and the strange intermingling relationships that all of these things can have. It would take time to decipher exactly which goes where, as this poem is expertly arranged. Her second offering is a call-out of those who equate Islam to terrorism, and a frank and earnest discussion of the actuality of what terrorism -is-, rather than what the world thinks it looks like.
Ifrah’s stand-out line of hte night: “I love you in ways unfamiliar to the universe”
Truth Is… – Guelph slammaster, former teammate, and one of my all-time favourite poets brought a piece about being raised by a mother who forced her into a religion, the difference between church and God, and the struggle of being made part of something that does not approve of the person you are. Her second piece asks “What does a writer look like to you?” – an impassioned cry to all artists to claim your artistic identity, to remember why you wrote it, and to treat your art with the utmost respect, or to get the hell out of the way.
Truth Is…’s stand-out line of the night: “I remember stepping into a change room no different from the closet I was never meant to come out of.”
Our feature for this month was JG the Jugganaut out of Columbus, Ohio; an absolute powerhouse of a poet who brought us poems about the PTSD of an Iraqi veteran (“My nerves were still Mountain Dew & Pop Rocks”), along with poems about football, love & heartbreak, his black-belt ex-girlfriend, and the history of divorce in his famiily, in which he equates marriage to a ponzi scheme (“I’ve never seen anyone get out of it as much as they put into it.”)
JG left our whole room floored, sold almost all of his cds (and a selection of soaps, creams, oils, and body-butters), and was a genuine treat to have feature at our slam. He’ll be performing at Dwayne Morgan’s “When Brothers Speak” on November 14th.
Altogether, hot, hot slam! And while the competition ran close (0.5 between 1st and 2nd), Ifrah Hussein managed to claim victory with a 57.3/60
Next month: BSP’s WOWps qualifier featuring T. Miller from Detroit! DON’T MISS IT!