September 6, 2012

Nitty Gritty Slam, #25, September 4

This was the start of the 2nd year (!) of the Nitty Gritty Slam at Valentines, after the return of Albany's 1st Slam Team from the Nationals. Ironically, this was also the smallest attendance/audience, with, in fact, more judges than audience, if you don't count the open mic & slamming poets, who are also the audience, so then what does it all mean (ay, Mr. Natural?). Anywho, Thom Francis did the general intros, & was the Slam Bastard, while Mojavi was the host/entre'acte comedian for the open mic. 

Another of the night's ironies was the presence of so many new faces/voices making up the small(er) crowd. Starting off the open mic was was a stroller-by poet Dad, David, whose kid wandered in during his Dad's reading; Dad's poem was titled appropriately enough, "My Commitment." Mojavi was up next with a long intro to a break-up poem with advice to a friend. The new rules here allow poets who sign up for the Slam to also read a the open mic, which I am not particularly in favor of, but it worked OK tonight.  So I followed with a short recent poem, "Alcoholism." Thom Francis, el presidente, read a piece he has read here about 12 times (a rough estimate), Charles Bukowski's sociological study, "Poetry Reading."

I had hoped, when I signed up for the Slam, that only a few folks would sign up, that way insuring I could make it to the final round (or at least the semi-final round). Ah, no: 5 Poets signed up, which meant that with scoring a 25.2 (for my poem "Autobiography") I still lost out to the night's virgin, Tracy. I mean, she has not only not read at a Slam before, but has never read her poetry out anywhere, & wiped me out with a break-up poem to a guy she used to love. But in the 2nd round, in spite of reading a poem ("Panama In the Wet Season", the only other poem she had with her) that Thom Francis creamed over because of the sexy words "Panama" & "crevice" she ended he night there.

Billy Stanley returned & Slammed with pieces from memory that got him a well-deserved 3rd place, but then he disappeared before the distribution of the prize money (Thom knows where he lives). The finalists were Elizag & Mojavi, with Mojavi's piece on being a poet squeaking into 1st place.

The Games continue, but at least there were some real poets (& real poems) in the house. You can find the Nitty Gritty Slam at Valentines on the 1st & 3rd Tuesdays at Valentines in Albany (NY) on New Scotland Ave. & check for a full calendar.

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