September 25, 2015

Poe Jam

What is the ideal way to spend a Friday evening in college?

Poe Jam! Poe Jam all the way.

My school has this awesome event where writers can go read poetry while a Pro Jazz band plays music to fit the poem. This event is incredible. As my professor said "when it doesn't work it sounds good. When it works it sounds surreal." Or maybe he said "phenomenal" or something else. I don't remember, but either way he was right. Poetry and Jazz mix crazy well sometimes.

This Friday the Jazz was awesome. My non-writing roommate comes just for the music because even without a deep appreciation of poetry the music sounds great.

It's a little hard to read to, for sure, because you kind of want to listen to the music but you also want to read the poem and you have to read louder and more precisely. I sometimes have issues enunciating so it's really good reading practice for me.

I read one poem, which sounded better on paper, but came out all right. I sat down feeling super proud that I managed to get through it without shakiness. I have this awful tendency to either get super shaky hands or voice or both and people think I'm really nervous or about to cry when I'm not really.

Then the end of the list came half hour before the event was supposed to end, so I jumped in to read a second poem. It was a spur of the moment kind of decisions. There's this poem I wrote five or so years ago and the first line is "I want to hit something. No someone." It's pretty emotional and captured a lot of feelings and thoughts I had been dealing with for a while. I've worked on it a bunch, and it was my go to for workshops with my mom's writer friends.

I love reading a poem about anger and revenge to a table of, uh, can I say old people?

So now I read it to a room of college students and professors and maybe some passers by who just happened to step into Speeder and Earl's coffee shop. I don't think anyone was quite expecting it, but man oh man did it sound so good with the music. I had to yell a little by the end, but those jazz players brought my poem to life and it felt so good.

(Also felt good to read the poem from an outside kind of perspective years after writing it. It's good to see that a lot of the feelings have changed or shrunk and there's just a lot less anger in me now. Healing at its finest. Or maybe just time and distance blurring the memories into less than they are. Either way, it's good to know I am not angry.)

I suppose in a post all about poetry it's only fair that I post a poem. I'm going to post the first poem I read because it's easier to access at the moment. I know I'm lazy. It's a problem but I'm kind of working on it.

The Cycle of Fading

Can you hear the heartbeat
of my silhouette?

One thousand and two
memories of you, of us, of me
fill this skeletal heart of mine
until I trick myself into believeing
the pieces are all one heart again.

I am all chaos and spattered paint,
I am the globe,
the sky,
the uneven ripples of the ocean,
the lines between stars
of the constellations.

I am the echo
of all the times you've stopped my breath
and the whispers of your voice
as it follows the wind.
My life is made up of remnants,
all the shadows I have loved,
until I too am a shadow soul.
A million pieces
slung across the skies
in search of a heartbeat.   

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