Urban Grind, Hillcrest
the Oct slams..

friday oct 11, 2002

we had yet another special VIP guest tonight- touring poet/visiting judge corbet dean of mesa, az. as most of you know, corbet was ranked #2 out of over 250 poets at this past summer's national poetry slam! unfortunately, tonight was one of the most under-attended sd slams of the past year.. I know there was alot going on tonight besides the slam.. f'rinstance, carlos santana played the cox arena tonight; creed & sevendust shared a bill tonight as well, down at coors.. however, between corbet, myself and barrista emil, the energy level was kept high enough so that we barely missed those of you who couldn't make it into hillcrest tonight.. however, not only did we have to settle for three judges instead of our usual five, but the other unfortunate part was that we paid out so little to our top two poets. one of our m.i.a.'s tonight was co-emcee lizzie wann, who had a show with michael klam over at a theater in ocean beach tonight. but for those of you who made it to the urban grind this evening, I know you weren't disappointed; it was a mystifying night of street tough poetry, to be sure. besides the aforementioned officer dean, other judges were local poet and sd slam veteran kaivalya, and audience volunteer rosemarie.. yours truly sacrificed with "the small get by" and scored a 26.9 from the three judges. so on with the slam. 7 poets went up on the mic, including first-timers abel morfin, who grabbed the sound bite of the evening with the line about standing by your man (see found poem below); also jeffrey good, with a high-scoring first-round piece about "that guy" who ruins it for all us other guys; and chris a., who actually took 3rd place tonight with his 52.8 cumulative score, not at all shabby for a first slam! slam veterans tonight included elijah baxter and micki adams.. corbet took the mic before we closed out first round, performed a couple of pieces including one called heroes from his latest chapbook ghetto art.. it begins with the words "before you call me a hero, / you need to know that I like to talk about / what no one wants to talk about". it goes on to discuss the "us vs them" polarized thinking that tears apart any dialogue between the police and the communities they are commitred to serving. he also performed one of his love poems, to infuse the room with some positivity & softness after exposing us to much of the tin-wearer's solitary pain. we brought corbet back up to the mic to close out the evening for us with more of the wrenching poetry borne from inner city streets only a cop would ever get to know.. oh let's face it, how many of us could endure the harsh & gritty world that corbet sees daily, and then forge it into exquisite art like he does? corbet chose as his last piece the poem that captured all the buzz at nps '02 in minneapolis, entitled nietzsche's prophecy, from voices for the voiceless anthology, of which he is editor.. the poem begins with the philosopher nietzsche's words "he who hunts monsters, beware" and tells the story of five year old odessa, "..a tornado / of elbows, knees, wild hair, tattered jeans, / she wore everything with confidence", who came into this world via a crack addict mother who beat her girl child to death and in the process permanently wounded a piece of corbet's soul. incidentally, if you purchased a copy of this anthology tonight, your money went to the de colores shelter of southwest phoenix, as it is the worthy beneficiary of all the publication's proceeds thanks to corbet.. and as an added bonus you also got poetry from the entire '02 mesa slam team, among others, with the purchase of this anthology! ok, you know who took 3rd tonight so what about the top 2, right?! in 2nd place with a 54.81 and winning six bucks, it was elijah's friend from his ol' pomona neighborhood, tamara blue who along with corbet spun a welcome spiritual weave on the u.g. tonight.. and taking 1st place along with $12 for his 55.3 score, first-time sd slammer but veteran local performer ken10 of goat song notoriety. special thanks to our everfaithful volunteer claire for being scorekeeper tonight. and extreme gratitude to corbet dean for making the long I-8 drive from phoenix to bless us with both his heart and art. oh yeah.. and of course I kept lizzie's tradition of the found poem because.. well somehow, it always gives the night some very soulful promise; thus I give to you..

I too, have an uncle who wears blue..
cheers for all the exploitation;
life didn't flash before his eyes-
it wasn't news, wasn't worth the paper it was printed on;
don't they know morals are found on people's foreheads and nowhere else?
my nature has infinite time,
so stand by your man because even tho' he spits
in your face, he really does care.

sunday oct 27, 2002

it's finally here, the annual halloween 'props & costumes slam' is upon us.. I've been looking forward to this one for weeks now and couldn't have been more disppointed that only one other person beside myself showed up in costume.. what was that all about?! now before I say another word I want to stress that it was still a great hi-energy slam we had tonight.. just not as festive as I'd hoped. see, we moved the slam to hillcrest (aka san diego's halloween central) just so we could have a feckin' fabulous halloween every year but this one was a bit of a bust, I gotta say.. I'd blame it on election blues but this slam actually went down prior to election day! actually, had lizzie been able to attend tonight, she'd have been properly costumed.. as a flamenco dancer, she told me earlier tonight. wouldn't that have been the bomb?! anyway, she was en route from a weekend in utah this same day plus game 7 of the world series was also this same night (and by now you gotta know about lizzie's passion for america's fave pasttime; so there was lots going on besides the slam, including the big anti-war protest on o.b.'s newport ave earlier this afternoon.. I ran into a couple of san diego's spoken word community down there today, including our very capable scorekeeper for tonight's slam, jan daniels.. awright, let's introduce our judges for the slam; sd slam regular, and the other person in full costume tonight- linda bauer.. and audience volunteers todd, crystal, heidi and cassandra-alex (a cute couple working as one judge!) I sacrificed tonight with the piece "vox mortis" and grabbed me a 24.4 from the five judges. there were 12 poets' names in the black felt fedora.. and ten of them went two rounds tonight. first-timers included musa, freestyling, givin' us his random beats, but I gotta say here that freestyling, although bold & immediate, doesn't always win over an audience as well as the written word can.. we were also entertained by a guy named tom g who wrote about "thumbin' it up to big sur" (hey you can't go wrong in a west coast slam venue with a big sur poem).. our other first-time slammer was named mattdawg, and he totally got robbed tonight.. his entire poem consisted of the following lines.. "is her hair dyed? are those real? I really don't care." and he got scored a pitiful 18.3 by the judges. now jan & I thought this guy displayed some real showmanship and hoped he'd come back and kick everyone's ass in second round.. but alas, he left the venue shortly after hearing that score. all we can say is- come back, mattdawg- some of us think you RULE! veterans tonight included dizzy order, the professor hugh hyde, who also left after his first-round piece, a well-received little ditty entitled "hugh's journey through life" which included the lines "let the dream sit in the driver's seat of your life. give yourself permission to explode with laughter".. there was also a great vampire piece ("he flew until daylight beckon'd") tonight from chris a, and a poem about addictions from curran jeffery, who did his peace practice poem, inspired by sd slam regular drucius ragnar, in second round.. speaking of d. ragnar, he came in 5th tonight, under the nom de plume earnest byron moore- his first-round piece ("walked into gold's gym") took a 23.7 and the revenge piece in second round scored him a 26.35, giving him a cumulative 50.05 and I bring this up cuz come january we'll be qualifying folks with a 50 and above for the grand slam in june! in 4th place tonight, with a 51.65 for "cruisin thru la" and "down here on the streets", and wearing a fabulous sparkly blue headdress, it was chris vannoy.. in 3rd place with a 52.25 it was jeanine, who did the piece about "barbie, my next door neighbor" in first round (with the great hook "I am ROARING") and a piece about life as a bartender in second round.. in 2nd place with a 54.0 and taking home just four bucks, it was cara, whom we kidded about being always the bridesmaid but never the bride, as this is like the 3rd or 4th time she's come in second at the sd slam! next time, cara.. with your talent, someday you'll OWN this venue! now, in 1st place with a 54.4 but winning only $8 it was bear wolf with his right to free speech poem entitled "american way" in first round, and his brand new "second thoughts on love at first sight" piece in second round.. by the way, his first round piece scored an incredible 28.15, which is why we chose it as the one to retire for a year! mega thanks again to jan for scorekeeping and for entertaining us between rounds with her peace rally poem.. thanks also to the three spirited individuals who accepted my invitation between rounds to take the mic and give us 60-second reviews of michael moore's new film "bowling for columbine". you gotta go see that film before it leaves town, folks!

next slam is friday, nov 15..

your slammaster
and faithful servant,

ps- got anything to add to this entry? email it to us here, and we'll upload it to this page..

Back to the Wall of Champs!