31 August 2005
- - Word of the Week - -

forte and foible

Pronounced: “for TAY” and “FOY buhl”

The forte is the strongest part of a sword blade (between the midpoint of the blade and the hilt).

The foible is the weakest part of a sword blade (between the midpoint of the blade and the point).


25 August 2005

Bring yer lighters, bang yer heads…

I will be performing September 10 as one of four poets in the Jam On It lineup. The September show is called Poetry Rock Stars, it’s held in an off-Broadway theater, tickets will sell out and… I will rock you, I guess.

Click on the muffin for tix or info.


20 August 2005

“This boy I went to grade school with
Was so brilliant that he could fold paper airports.”

—Matt Cook, Bad Potato Scholarship.

15 August 2005

2005 National Poetry Slam
Albuquerque, New Mexico

I flew into ABQ and met up with my Team Hollywood teammates for the first time since moving to NYC two months ago. Javon, Shihan and I were returning as 2004 Team Champs, and we hoped to extend our streak with the rest of the crew: Crystal, Simply Kat, and Slim. Five days, dozens of poems, and 75 teams later we wound up on the Finals Night stage, tied for 3rd with Fort Worth. Second Place went to Team Charlotte, and First went to the hometown crew, Team Albuquerque.

And who learned a shitload about the human capacity for scandal, exaggeration, pettiness, pettifoggery, stimulus, charisma, sunburn, sleeplessness, and pork burritos?


Go no further.

2002 Team Champ Shappy on a search for a bar rumored to have Star Wars figurines imbedded in a particular table top. Guess where we sat once we got there. And guess who delivered a, um, loud exposition on the proper way to make a Cosmopolitan.

It’s a dash of grenadine, bee-yotch!

Yep! Poet Rives knows poet Shappy.

Reigning World Poetry Slam Champ Buddy on the Albuquerque city bus. It was a regular-sized bus, but Buddy did his “short bus” act anyway.

Rives encourages white space. And white noise.

If you wake up from an afternoon nap in a hotel room, and this is the first thing you see, you might be at Nationals. Or, you have extremely honed persuasive skills.

Rives says: don’t read this. Don’t read.

The venues for Nights One and Two and Semi-Finals were bright and packed and loud, even if they didn’t always have a bathroom suitable for freestyling in.

Rives poetry chronicles.

That’s 2000 Indy Champ Shane getting serenaded in a special “A-List” language by 2004 Indy Champ Sonya.

Rives poetry, I guess.

If you have a swell-looking Albuquerque library card and a fair amount of confidence, you can flash the first and use the second to convince certain people that you are a state employee and should be granted access to certain places. Places with a bitchin view. Even after-hours. I’m just saying.

Rives slam poet chronicles.

The guy with the small camera was following me for Current TV. Everybody else was following Team Hollywood coach Shihan for a film called “Spit.” It was the first team practice I’d ever been to where “crew” outnumbered poets. The sound guy sat on the toilet in the bathroom. And—he wouldn’t let us turn on the AC because of noise. Thoroughly glamorous.

09 August 2005

Pen, sword, mightier, etc.

And speaking of trophies…

I took the National Poetry Slam trophy to Austin with me a few months back (oh—and you try explaining a frikkin’ sword in your luggage to the airport screeners) for a film shoot with Mike Henry.

While Mike was fiddling with the lights, I started fiddling with the pommel (that would be the knob) at the end of the sword. Turns out—it unscrews. And turns out—there was a wee note rolled up inside. And turns out—the note was in the handwriting of 2002 National Poetry Slam Team Champ coach (the extremely cool although possibly a little immature) Cristin O’Keefe Aptowicz. And the wee note said:

08 August 2005

This is the week of the 2005 National Poetry Slam in Albuquerque, New Mexico. Seventy-something teams will battle it out over four days for…this sword trophy. How did I get such a good picture of it?

Cuz I had it in my m—-f—–’ living room for three months. Cuz it’s mine.

06 August 2005
- - Word of the Week - -


Pronounced: “OB myuh TESS uhnce”

Becoming or keeping silent.


01 August 2005
Well, look at that—Corrina Bain in a punked-out Bowie T, and backlit by the American flag…

(Also, if you rotate the pic 90 degrees clockwise like it shows up in my camera display, the space below Corrina’s armpit looks like the area swept out by a windshield wiper. A windshield wiper on a solitary, energy-efficient car. Driving down a solitary highway. On a solitary winter night. On the road to Boysarebadville. Oh–and it’s raining. Bitter and poignant, solitary rain…)

Click on Corrina for my May 31 interview with her.

So, the first-ever Nickel City Poetry Slam was held this weekend in Buffalo. Corrina is allergic to cats, so she slept down the street, but everybody else crashed on the floor amongst the pizza boxes and the yeast at slam mistress Gabrielle Bouliane’s house. That’s her front porch in the picture. And those are her blue windchimes over Corrina’s shoulder. A good time was had by all—even the poet who got his underwear ripped by a Canadian stripper. I won’t mention names, but his initials are Alex. I didn’t witness the incident, because I was back in Buffalo, America, cruising Elmwood Avenue and trying to buy a plastic display monkey off a liquor store clerk for twenty bucks. He kept telling me to come back later and talk to the owner, but I was busy then.