Part I: How to Become a Slam Poet
Do you have what it takes to be a Slam Poet? Well, do you have a bandana? Do you sit in a Starbucks and write in a tiny notebook about how fake everyone there is? Are your parents divorced but still fairly wealthy?
STEP 1: Read your history teacher’s copy of A People’s History of the United States. Become anti-free trade, since it’s politically popular and vaguely blue-collar without actually requiring that you change anything about yourself.
STEP 2: Write a poem using “Howl’s” structure, only changing some words to make it all modern-y:
I saw the best minds of my generation destroyed
by madness, starving hysterical naked,
watching WB reruns in the back seat of a Ford
they drive by an independent bookstore. STEP 3: Write a poem using some personal trauma, or failing that, someone else’s trauma. Unwanted sexual advances: good. Divorce: overused but not bad. Past suicide attempts: fine so long as you don’t imply you’re going to try again, which would make the audience guilty about having to do something about it.
STEP 4: Actually go to a Slam Poetry competition and sit in the back. Drink a latte and leave early. Write a poem about the experience.
STEP 5: Get up the nerve to go up there. Interpret polite applause as connecting with someone.
STEP 6: Inevitably win some sort of Poetry Slam competition.
Part II: The Archetypes
Gay Asian Guy:
“I am a banana!
I am an egg!
Or am I both?
Yellow on the outside,
Boiled in the waters of my sexuality!
America’s Acceptable Asians.
I am not my parents’ son.
I am not China’s son.
I am my own
White Girl Channeling Maya Angelou:
Most likely to rhyme “chocolate skin” with “ebony bird falling through air adrift as if upon an amber metaphysical dolphin fin.”
Can’t Understand National Testosterone
The only bush I like
is the one I lick.
Will I be a lesbian after I graduate?
White Guy with Dreadlocks:
Columbus sailed the ocean blood.
More like San Deathador.
San Death @ the Door!
But what now?
Dubya gives his infected blankets
Let’s make a stan
This was not India.
This is not AmeriKKKa.”
Most likely to rhyme “Zionist” with “fry on this.”
“The call GAA
on a September day.
Angry Jewish Guy Who Swears a Lot While Fucking a Watermelon:
You think we’re kidding.
Part III: Handy Rhymes
If you want to rhyme…
Slit my wrist
We raise our fist
Blood on the soil
Blood for our toil
Blood of the loyal
Blood makes it spoil
Blood fills your throbbing boil
Break it like weak shale
Vicious like an Airedale
My uterus is not for sale
My hometown is Glendale
Have it burp on
Shall lid hurt Ron?
Cal’s skirt is gone
Wall micks yurt bon