BSP November – It’s a Women’s Game
We had a great night on Thursday, with a warm receptive room to fight off the impending winter, a great selection of poetry and poets, and still new faces to our slam, which is always a delight to see.
Our open mic was a tiny one, kicked off with Tomy Bewick rockin’ his Wolverine poem to get us feeling a little ferocious. Tomy was followed by our friend Saurav who rocked a new poem about accepting your own value and standing up for yourself – “A broken puppet possessed with the strings of its own pride”/”you don’t deserve darkness when the lightswitch is so near”. Always awesome stuff from this cat. I dusted off an older piece that turns Black Friday into a monster truck rally, in the spirit of the season, and then blam! It was over, and the slam was ready to commence.
The first thing noticed was what may have been a BSP first (and something that doesn’t often happen at any slam) – we had a slam entirely made up of women. In a scene where female voices are often less common, it was an awesome thing to see. Six women spitting truth and vying for that WOWps spot.
Tomy brought in his Rachel Dolezal piece as a sacrifice (which is a must-hear, if you haven’t), and the slam was underway.
Ifrah Hussein – viewers of last month’s slam will remember the two poems that Ifrah brought to us – but I wouldn’t dare say it was comfortable territory. Ifrah speaks hard truths in beautifully complex layers, like a well-wrapped kick in the stomach. I managed to catch some lines on this listening that I didn’t catch last month, which is always a good sign.
Ifrah’s stand-out line of the night: It’s a toss-up between “In a world where belonging is not to belong” and her introduction to her 2nd round poem – “I’m black, Muslim, and female – I am your fucking trigger warning.”
Mind the Gap – I was really happy to see Mind the Gap back at our slam this month. She’s been away for some time, and I have a major fondness for her quirky style and thought process. Her poems included an examination of the bullshit we eat (I believe, both in terms of food and un-truths) – and another poem about food mindfulness explaining that life is less like a box of chocolates and more like a bowl of fruits.
Mind the Gap’s stand-out line of the night: “And also, let’s maybe also try not eating shit” – simply for its blunt playfulness.
Jaded – Jaded came back! She treated us to her poem about all things Vagina – the truth about them, and the solidarity in which she does (and all of us -should-) stand. We also got another listen to last month’s haunting, anti-consumerist image of a societal apocalypse, which was cool to hear again.
Jaded’s stand-out line of the night: “Hello! My name’s Vagina! That got your attention!”
Twiggy Starblade – All the way from We Flip Tables! Twiggy Starblade came rockin’ in with two tremendous pieces. The first about the inequality in the video game industry between men and women, in gamer culture between men and women, and in the games themselves between men and women – a topic that has been close to my heart for some time. I was really glad to hear someone lay out both succinctly and fiercely the numerous problems that push women out of the video game world, and make some folks like me feel ashamed to identify as a gamer. Her second poem talked about her first “trigger” (namely, magic tricks) – and how she forced herself to fight through these triggers by continually engaging with them. She speaks of refusing to allow herself to live as a victim, and rather to fight past what triggered her.
Twiggy Starblade’s stand-out line of the night: “I watched tricks with a mortician’s detachment”
Aly- Aly came in swinging with her “How to love someone with an eating disorder” and earned herself a very strong starting position in this slam. Her second poem was a piece entitled “The Wolf and The Girl” – a piece about the inner dichotomy of brightest and darkest selves, and the impact it has on our minds.
Aly’s stand-out line of the night: “This is not your fault. Repeat this until it no longer sounds like a lie.”
Siaara Freeman – Wait, what? Like…THE Siaara Freeman? Yes indeed! She happened to come into town with our feature and threw her hat into our slam. Siaara brought some seriously raw truth to our stage; one that says “Fuck your comfort. This is the world I live in.” Her two poems, entitled “10 things they never tell you about the drug dealer’s daughter” and “Things I would rather people not ask about my drug-dealing-ass daddy” give a pretty chilling and unapologetic insight into where she comes from. Despite a couple major time penalties, Siaara ended up placing very high in the competition.
Siaara Freeman’s stand-out line of the night: “I am a bakery with nothing sweet left in it”
Our feature was Natasha T. Miller from Detroit, MI. She graced our stage back in February 2013, and I was thrilled to see her back. With lovably awkward banter and audience interaction, I at times wondered if she was practicing to become a roast comedian, as she singled out the occasional audience member to have a playful conversation. And then she always hits you with the poems. “Sangria” a poem written about her mother, “5 things that I want to say to my ex-lovers” – including ‘it’s my liver that hates you the most’, a poem written to Raven Symone – “For you to tell black gays that the most important thing about being black and gay is to not be either.” And what I felt was the most powerful piece of the night – a poem about her late brother, Marcus (sp). More specifically, a poem about the difficulty in naming those we’ve lost…how easy it is to reduce them to the role they played, and not the person they were. It talks about the world and the news doing the same – “They don’t give the drug dealer a back story”, and the inner turmoil of her own experience “I’m scared of remembering what his name tastes like.” Altogether, a wonderful set from Natasha.
At the end of the night, all scores, feelings, time penalties, and everything taken into account, our 3rd place winner was Twiggy Starblade with a 52.9. Second place was Siaara Freeman with a 53.6, and…
I am thrilled to announce, that with a 54.3, our first place winner and CONFIRMED BSP REPRESENTATIVE FOR THE 2016 WOMEN OF THE WORLD POETRY SLAM IS: IFRAH HUSSEIN!
A huge thanks and congratulations to everybody who took part in this slam, it’s a landmark event for us at the BSP, as Ifrah will be our first ever representative for WOWps.
So that’s it folks! Until next month – keep writing!