Growing Up

Posted: January 25, 2010 in Poetry

Big weekend. Ian Keteku, Prufrock and I drove down to Kitchener for the SpeakOut Slam. I am not sure where Ian heard about it, but he wanted all of the Recipe to go, but when it came time to apply, it was just the three of us.
After a six hour drive that included me getting my second EVER speeding ticket (sigh…), we got into town, with plenty of time to spare (double sigh…)
The event was at the Kitchener City Hall, and it was pretty dope. After talking to some of the other slammers, it seemed that most were pretty new… except for a couple of other ‘ringers’… Truth Is and Tomy Bewick were on the card!
The format was a little different in that there was a panel of three judges, including spoken word phenom, Carlos Andres Gomez.
The first round was decided by the judges, who gave a little ‘American Idol’-like critique after each performance. I was a little wary about that idea, but I went up second and…bam.
The mic wasn’t really to my liking at first. It was set-up on the floor (while we had a raised stage) and it didn’t ‘feel’ right. That made me a ‘little’ tentative at first, but my decision to perform 1968 was the right one. I figured the panel of judges would have a better chance of getting my references. I was right.
The first judge, Nader Khan started with, “I have just one word – spellbound’.” They were effusive in their praise. Carlos caught my initial hesitency (though he didn’t know it was because of the mic), but other than that, they heaped the praise on.
By the end of the first round, based on the response from the judges, I was wondering who the sixth person was to make the second round, since it seemed the three Ottawa poets along with Truth and Tomy were locks. (Ian did Chocolate and Prufrock did an amazing Patent Number.)
I was right. The sixth was a duo named Rachel & Kat who were going to school in Kitchener. This was their first performance but they worked well together (despite needing to read), so it was all good.
The second round was judged half by the judges and half by crowd vote.
This time I took the mention of hesitency by Carlos and did Why Art?, because I knew I could blow it out without pause.
It worked. I went up second again (which may have hurt…maybe), and blasted out Why Art? like it was a mission. Everyone dug it.
When the dust settled, it seemed like we really had a chance to take 1-2-3.
Not quite. I was squeezed out by the hometown duo. Afterwards they practically apologized to me saying “we had a lot of friends in the audience”, but they have NOTHING to apologize for. They worked hard and are off to a good start if they want to keep up with Spoken Word.
In the end Pruf was the big winner with Ian coming in second and Rachel & Kat getting third. The organizers thanked us a LOT for coming and want us to come back when they do it again in the summer.

Maybe I’ll drive a little slower next time.

I got a lot of love from Carlos after, which was really nice. I had seen him at TIPS a couple of years back and I have a lot of respect for him as an artist, so getting props from him was really cool.

Here’s hoping some people liked what they saw and find this blog. πŸ™‚

CONTEXT: October, 2006

Remember the trouble I had on my 38th birthday? Well this poem kind of pokes fun at that. Once I was involved in the scene the age divide became obvious, however I also discovered that it meant very little. We were peers and nobody batted an eye that I was a little… more experienced. Especially to those that I was way LESS experienced than… at poetry.

When I did this the first time, it went over okay. I performed it again in February 07 and something switched. Suddenly I was getting cheers and jeers in all the right places. I paired it with the debut of Why Art? and came VERY close to getting my first ever slam win. The unexpected crowd reaction sent me to a .5 time penalty, and then I lost to Free Will by EXACTLY .5. Oh well, I’d get mine eventually. πŸ™‚
I also performed it at the Black Sheep Inn on my 39th birthday. I started it by announcing to the crowd that I was giving up poetry. The reaction from Kevin and Danielle was classic… for a moment until I segued into my poem and they got that I didn’t mean it.

I also did it as my last poem in the Capital Slam finals in 2007 and it was released on the Live at Capital Slam 2007 CD. I messed up a little bit but other people claim they can’t tell. If you read it below while listening along you will find the spot. πŸ™‚

Here goes:

    Growing Up

I think it is time for me to grow up
I am 38 years old
Or 266 in dog years, and I’m told
That I should put away my childish things
Going all fanboy for Lord of the Rings
Is fine for those much younger than me
But not for someone staring down 40

So I am going to make some resolutions
Share with you a list of solutions
To my apparent issue with maturity
A list to bring some clarity
To all the things I’m doing wrong
So listen up! It won’t take long.

It is time to stop buying comic books
Don’t I realize how bad it looks
When I pick up the Avengers or Spider-man
Without pretending it is some sort of retirement plan?
Look, I know comics are literate
But I am pretty much a hypocrite
Considering I am buying the spandex set.
Well, no more. Standards must be met.

It is true that my tattoo is somewhat iconic
I guess I’ll pretend it’s meant to be ironic

I’ll have to change my music picks
And switch to something that clicks
With a more mature listening crowd
And whatever it is, nothing too loud.
I’ll toss out my Buck ’65 and K’naan
And buy some Kenny G or Celine Dion
Or whatever the hell old people listen to.
It’ll be tough, but it’s something I gotta do.

It is time to start dressing for the ‘job I want’
Which is odd since that would send me to haunt
The government halls in pj bottoms and tees
Because the job I want is where nobody sees me.
But that’s not practical so I guess it’s time
For button-down, full windsor, and spit-shine
Because image trumps knowledge,
Didn’t they teach you that in college?

It is time for a mid-life crisis
I’ll pick out the sports car that is the nicest
And have myself a meaningless affair
(Oh, I shouldn’t say that. My wife’s right over there.)

I need to start voting conservative
My bottom line should be my motive
Enough caring about others
Lower taxes will be my druthers.

Then there is the writing.
I write for a game called Legend of the Five Rings
(That means nothing to most of you but it does to some)
But it is time to suck it up and admit it is dumb
To think that magical samurai and oni
Are going to be coughing up the money
To pay the mortgage and finance retirement
I have to face facts, I work for the government
I always will, until I get my pension
Writing and poetry don’t even get a mention

So I am ready to embark on a whole new phase
Where imagination and play are for past days
And the future is a sort of dull, gray fate
But that’s the way it is, because I am 38.

But I have a story due
And new poems to write too
New comics come in on saturday
Do I have to start this right away?

On second though, I like my life fine.
Maybe I’ll grow up when I hit 39.

Note: I didn’t.

The next poem will be another Object of Desire poem… but this one actually inspired a whole OTHER poem a little further down the line.

  1. nadinethornhill says:

    I remember this poem!

    Sounds like Kitchener was good times (speeding ticket notwithstanding). Congrats on the effusive praise — not that I’m at all surprised.

  2. […] month I debuted it with Growing Up, I came the closest I ever had to actually winning a slam. I finished behind Free Will by .5, after […]

  3. […] It also is the first of my pieces to appear on a CD… on Live at Capital Slam 2007 (along with Growing Up). […]

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