Clever Title about June Poetry Slam
Alright, so it’s not the best title. But aren’t I so against the grain?
We had a slam in June! Yes we did! Hosted for the first time ever by the adorably adorable and hilariously hilarious Sebastian Chong, who kept the energy up, the judges’ fingers flipping, and the night moving moving moving!
Our open mic kicked in with Sebastian reading a selection of Franny Choi poems, followed by our friend Andrew dropping a serious limerick, and taking us on a poetic canoe trip. Sean Muirhead gave us a story about a trip to a winter cabin & the beauty of isolation (“The cold and I had made a promise to catch each other”) And Sean was also kind enough to provide the sacrificial blood for our first round!
Getting into the slam proper, another Sean (a first-timer at BSP!) kicked us off with a poem detailing a philosophy of the things in life that -really- matter. His second round offering was a playful, though deeply personal and, at times grim, look at the resuscitation of one’s own emotional or psychological self, presented as paramedics trying to save a life at the scene of an accident.
Sean’s stand-out line of the night? : “CPR – Corporal Punishment Respiration, where they inflate your lungs with all the toxic fumes left over from all the toxic things you’ve done just to see if you could even sustain yourself in your presence”
Next up was Korey with a K, who set his apartment on fire and was insistent that we understand it to not be a metaphor in any regard. While it was not clear if this was intentional, the poem gave an interesting image of the poet, established in their own persona, and the difficulty in having their words taken at face value, when a world is expecting something profound. His second piece was a fun, wacky list of the rules of the cartoon universe, which, I must admit, were quite accurate.
Korey’s stand-out line of the night? : “While you were burning your tongue on first-world-narcissism, I set my apartment on fire.”
Next up was Dan Murray, who led with his piece about Einstein’s solitary regret – the encouraging of America to acquire the Atomic Bomb. His second piece was a personal account of watching a friend’s life slowly disintegrate and feeling powerless to help.
Dan’s stand-out line of the night? : “I wonder if Mozart would be sickened to know how he inspired me…”
Rounding out the slam was Tomy Bewick, who described a life living with a partner whose PTSD would instigate severe outbursts as sleeping next to a Chainsaw. His second offering was his coyly prodding piece about blaming (read: thanking) his mother for the life he has.
Tomy’s stand-out line of the night? : “It doesn’t matter which sui-side of the bed you wake up on”
Our feature was the magnificent Ebony Stewart, who exploded into her set explaining that she always had a hard time writing about herself. – “Every time Johnny Hart would pull my bra strap, I would wish my breasts came with a receipt.”
She discussed teaching sex-ed to 6th graders, and listed a series of hilarious questions that only the mind of an 11-12 year old could devise, followed with some very frank, real, and honest responses. – “There is no Skull & Crossbones over your heart, and that is a good thing.”
Next up? She had a conversation with the room about pickup lines and took some suggestions (some great, some not so…). She went on to explain she was not good at flirting (which, let’s be honest…who is?) – “You smell good – what is that? Forever?”
We were then treated to a BRAND NEW POEM read off her phone written to Monday as an almost-apology for how much hate it receives as a day, in comparison to the other days. – “Every day is Monday when you wake up alive. Every day is Sunday when you learn to operate in forgiveness.”
She closed us off with a poem dedicated to all the women in the room, and made a point of identifying that there were none participating in the slam, which is pretty common in a lot of slams, and should be identified more often. This is a very male-dominated scene. – “Anyone who believes that women are delicate and breakable can’t remember the ways in which they were born.”
Overall, Ebony brought an explosive energy with a constant air of welcome to the room around her. The kind of person who says “Yeah, I’m setting this place on fire, but sit down with me when it’s lit and let’s sing together.” It was a real treat to have her on our stage.
The slam ended with a tie between Sean & Tomy for 3rd place, Korey taking 2nd, and Dan Murray taking 1st.
Next month is The Burlington Slam Project’s 8th Birthday! You’d better come celebrate with us!