Posted: March 26, 2012 in Uncategorized

This is the poem I read at my surprise birthday party last week.

CONTEXT: May, 2011

This poem came about nearly a year ago. I was trying to come up with something to use for the Capital Slam Finals. The poem I started with was an amalgam of this one and the next one in my book (which will stay under wraps for now), bu thwne I read it for both Ruthanne and Greg Frankson, who was staying with us at the time, they both said it sounded like two different poems stuck together. So I seperated it into its two parts and then worked on fleshing them out into full poems.

Neither ended up making the cut for last year’s finals. I chose something else… it didn’t work out exactly. So the poem stayed in my book for a long time. Relatively recently I decided that the poem that I was trying to memorize was one that I wasn’t really interested in so I went back to my book and saw what was next. It was this one so I printed it out and stuck it in my pocket. Then I realized that we were getting close to the semi-finals again and I should be working on THOSE poems, so I printed something else out and put it in my pocket as well.

Then last week happened and my surprise birthday party and show happened. I can’t express how moved I was by this, but I gave a shot here on the blog. As the show progressed I remembered that this poem was in my pocket so I asked Danielle to make sure I had a chance to get on stage.

I read this poem. It said everything that needed to be said.


Sometimes poets try to give
Opinions about reality
With insight or clarity
To pass enlightenment
To the willing masses
But when I test the scales
Weighing what I know
Against what I don’t
My tree of knowledge
Is barely a sapling.
What I don’t know could
Fill libraries and I am
The librarian of my own
Like, what happens when
We die?
I don’t know for sure
But I do know if there
Is a heaven, mine will
Look something like this.
I’ll be running the sign-up
List for that big poetry slam
In the sky.
First-come, first-served
But there is room for everyone –
No pushing –
Because the audience never
Gets tired and always wants
One more poet.
Walt Whitman, Steve Sauve and Rumi
Will throw down in 3-minute
Blasts of brilliance
That will sometimes last an
But the timekeeper
Never calls out a penalty –
There are no rat bastards
In my heaven.
Random judges will include
George Carlin and John Lennon
Who are tough, but fair,
Not just throwing up 10s
Because the joy of the
Competition will be
Lessened without the excitement
Of a win.
They will shrug off the boos
And stand like a rock
Because there is no
Score creep in my heaven.
And the POEMS!
Because my heaven is
Words that tumble out
Slow or fast –
Bardic epics and
Epic haiku,
Deep soul-searching
Journeys through the inner self
And comedic rips that elevate
The spirit.
Every poem ever written
And every poem never written,
From William Shakespeare
Or Bill Bakersfield who works
Down at the PetroCan and
Never dreamed of jotting down
Those couplets in his head,
Because in my heaven, just like here,
Everyone is a poet.
But unlike here,
They all know it.
Taking the stage in a room
Identical to the Mercury Lounge,
Because how can you improve
On that?
And when the final scores
Are read
We will head over to Zak’s
For some post-show
Analysis with words and
Numbers scrutinized and
Idolized as our next poems
Start writing in our
Heads as the poets
Conspire to inspire
And fire our desire
To create.
My heaven displays
What I value and
Give worth –
Poets conceive and give birth
To ideas – dreams – schemes –
Revolutions of the soul.
Sometimes it is scary
As they barely can keep it
Together as their truth is
Raw and painful,
But the crowd is with them
And will never let them fall.

It isn’t hard to get to,
On that other side of
Roy G. Biv’s rainbow,
Over by the Grapefruit Gelato Lake
Where even the Grey Days are
Filled with the Hallelujah Chorus,
All you need to do is put
Your fist up and raise it…

But then I realize how lucky I am,
Among my peers
Because I don’t have to die
To go to heaven –
My heaven is right here.

  1. jessicaruano says:

    I love that I can read your poems and hear your voice in my head; your rhythm is so identifiably you.

  2. […] That convinced me to do a poem I had only ever performed once before, at my birthday party – Heaven. […]

  3. […] than the first round at a summer show). But I enjoy it, so I do it. (Top poem right now is Heaven, but after only one performance, followed by Stroll on and then a tie between The Stranger and […]

  4. […] Why Art?Poetry and Poetry: B… on Blue, Black or RedPoetry and Poetry: B… on HeavenPoetry and Poetry: B… on Stroll On Top TagsAmal El-Mohtar Arizona Bill Brown Brandon […]

  5. […] jsut squeaked into the second round, tied in fifth, so I went ahead and dropped Heaven anyway… and was right. Poets liked it. It didn’t score well. I came in […]

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