skonen_blades: (Default)
What a night. I got to Lydia's pub from the airport and I was super nervous. Charles picked me up and gave me a ride. I saw a few familiar faces from CFSW at Lydia's when I got there. They were having a CFSW organization meeting and it looks like they have everything well in hand. I brought a lot of merch as per other poets' recommendations. My new chapbook and some Van Slam shirts. I sold 22 chapbooks. Fucking ridiculous.

I was worried going up. During the open mic, someone innocently told me that I better be off book. Since I am not off book on any of my poems, I was suddenly terrified. I didn't know what to expect. There was a five-person open mic, a break, then me. The crowd was pretty sparse but it filled up quick. It was a beautiful day here so I'm not surprised. Summer slams are slow everywhere I imagine.

I started with my star trek rap, went into my first breakup poem, did Next Jen, and then segued into stuff my new book with a dirty haiku in between each poem. When it was over, they demanded an encore so I gave them one. First time that's happened I think.

Afterwards, a lot of people came to get their books signed. One woman had just broken up with a tall man so both my tall poem AND my breakup poems resonated with her. Another woman usually can't make it out so tonight was her first poetry night in years and she said she was super happy to have seen me. Another younger woman at the bar told me she loves video games and star trek and she was serious. She lost it when I told her I'd worked on Red Dead Redemption. Although at the end, she did tell me to "live long and prosperous". LOL.

I had great talks with everyone afterwards, especially Ryan Bradshaw and Dorion Brady from the burlesque scene up here.

I'm leaving with a fair amount of cash and a much lighter heart. I'm sure for most traveling poets, this is just a normal night of performing but for a nervous person who hasn't done too many away-from-home features, it's been magical.

Home again tomorrow. Looking forward to being back and seeing Audrey and Sonja and the Van Slam again but this has been a fantastic experience.

skonen_blades: (Default)
At the labour slam last Monday, I wrote this poem about my job. I came in third so that was pretty cool.


My Job

People who don’t work with their hands are parasites, or so the say. Does typing count?

Sitting in my ergonomically designed chiropractic chair, staring at my monitor through late nights, weekend, friend’s birthdays, and my life, I feel my body lack exercise. I feel the absence of sun. Us computer users become vampires. We spend hardly any time in the Big Room; the room where the ceiling is blue and there’s one giant light. I think that when it comes to laborers, computer programmers, animators, tech, and data entry clerks are the same as hands on oars in a slave ship.

Thought laborers work hard than us physically we are no less crushed. We are no less kept down by the man. Money keeps us at our desks. We walk past construction sties with eyes of envy for the men and women under the sun operating heavy machinery and just plain carrying heavy objects.

Computers use more power they they’re on standby, the say. I know exactly what they mean.

My life takes on aspects of the office and computers. The computer has become my memory. I am a cyborg except for the fact that my electronic parts are outside my body. I am owned by the new world yet as little a stranger to demanding bosses and overtime as children were in Victorian London textile mills.

Don’t get me wrong. When it rains, I am thankful that I work inside. When I receive a bonus, I am happy that I am paid well regardless of legislation pertaining to overtime in Canada for video game developers. When I’m on a creative roll, I’m thrilled that I get a chance to be creative from time to time in my job.

But other than that, I think I am just as much a worker as the man lifting crossbeams and concrete molds downtown.

We are both drained in different ways and neither of us makes the rules.

skonen_blades: (Default)
A while back, I wrote a poem from the point of view of a Billionaire. It was in response to a friend of mine who said "Oh, were there any poems against 'The Man'" when I told him I went to a poetry slam. I told him that yes there were poems against The Man. He said he'd like to see a poem from the point of view of The Man. I thought that was a great idea. So I wrote the Billionaire poem.

Watch it here.

However, give recent economic events, I thought it would be good to write a poem from The Man's now damaged empire. So here it is.


Millionaire Poem

You are caught in the crossfire of ones an zeros that cover this world in a green grid of financial lasers. Binary talk between bank accounts and wealth without measure…..

Oh, I can’t. I can’t. I am the latest millionaire. I used to be a billionaire. Do you know how common I am? I wasn’t lucky enough to get a government bailout. I have almost nothing left. I had to sell two of my houses! Three of my offshore accounts are empty! I wouldn’t have my servants wipe my ASS with my stocks.

See? (wipes tear) I’m liquidating!

To come here, I had to fly first class! On an airplane with common businessmen. I prayed no one recognized me. I didn’t know what to do. The steward attendant lady person merely laughed at me when I asked to have the plane go faster. It was the worst four hours of my life. I had to shower for hours in my only remaining Manhattan penthouse. The economy was something I used to rule. I had a tiger by the tail. I still have assets totaling millions but I can’t sell them.

My net worth dipped below a billion dollars last week.

I’m one of you. There is no god. Now I’ll drink coffee from common street vendors and have my food prepared in….in….restaurants!

Help a fellow out who has also been hit by hard times. Do you need a financial analyst? Enron won’t return my calls. I know the score. You’re not a billionaire, you’re little people. I get it. Please. Can you spare a few million?

I’ll have my people call your person.

skonen_blades: (slam)
Hey there everyone!

So I won the Nerd Poetry Slam last night here in Vancouver. Second place last year and first place this year. I was honestly shocked. My first poem went almost a full minute over time so I got through to the second round by the skin of my teeth. I went last in the second round which is a cherry spot but the other poets did such amazing work that I knew I had no hope after my first round blunder. But as they kept reading out the placements and the names at the end, I was floored to get first.

It was an amazing night of poetry and Robbie Q Telfer, our feature poet, nearly tore my head off with his awesomeness. He did a piece about comedians that got me right in the soul in way that hasn't happened for a while. God love Robbie Q.

Barbara Adler did a fantastic job of hosting. Angus did a great piece about Green Lanterns, Jill and Mythical Man brought actual instruments up (a euphonium and a ukulele) and did their zombie love piece. Adrienne came correct and blew my doors off again and this is only the second time I've seen her on a Van Slam stage. I hope there's more of that. RC did a wonderful piece that started off "Fuck you, Nerd" and turned into a scathing burn of the current elitism in nerdiness. There was much more nerd awesomeness. A great competition.

Read my nerd poems after the cut if you're interested.


Thanks to all who made it out. NERDS RULE!

skonen_blades: (slam)
I won the poetry slam tonight!

The feature was Brian Ellis who is pretty much a poetry god. Amazing. Strange night. Tensions were high off the the top even before the slam started and then the first few poems out of the gate on the open mic were really emotional. The whole night was electric. Full moon and all, I guess. I went against that with some comedy in the first round and it turned out to be a good gamble. I was filming during the second round and my camera was being difficult and then I lost the poem I was going to read for three heart-stopping minutes so I didn't even pay attention to everyone's scores. I was shocked when I won.

So that's a pretty good night.

In a few hours, I'm off to Berkeley for the Individual World Poetry Slam as Vancouver's newly elected International Slam Master. Zaccheus Jackson will be Vancouver's warrior in the arena and the rest of the VPS team will be coming down as well to take part in the win-two bout and then volunteer.

If none of that made sense to you, that's cool. Just remember that I'm flying to Berkeley for free because of poetry. To me, that's insane. Should be a good time. Let the wild rumpus start.

skonen_blades: (slam)
So tonight I came in 3rd against The Svelte Ms. Spelt, Zacheus Jackson, Relevant, Julie Peters, Joe MacDonald, Antonette, Fernando Raguero, Steve Miller, and Johnny MacRae. Coming in third with that crew makes me feel like I just won sixty million dollars or something.

Zacheus took first, Johnny McRae took second and Julie Peters took fourth. We dropped the two lowest scoring poets after every round. So ten one-minute poems, cut two, 8 three-minute poems, cut two, intermission, 6 four-minute poems, cut two, and then four two minute poems. It was completely gladitorial. I loved it. I think it's a much better preparation for the whirlwind of the IWPS down south. The straight up culling every round was like spilling blood. It was intense.

Congratulations, Zack. Second year in a row. You're a giant.

The IWPS is in Berkeley this year and as the new slam master, I will be heading down there regardless. In an administrative and introductory position rather than an actual competitor. Representing Vancouver behind the scenes, I guess you could say, while Zack slays on stage. Should be intense. I've never been to Berkeley.

My third poem, a four-minute love poem that I tweaked a little, fucking slayed. I had the whole room right in my pocket. It's super rare when that happens and a lot of factors went into it. It was crazy intense. Apparently I made people laugh with my second poem and then made people cry with my third poem.

My fourth poem didn't exactly tank but it was given a good beating by the others.

Good times. If you're in Vancouver, I maintain that there isn't a better place for creative minds than Cafe Deux Soleils on Monday nights.

skonen_blades: (slam)
Billionaire Russel Hundreds made an appearance at the Anarchy Poetry Slam on Monday night at Cafe Deux Soleils, along with about thirty of his friends. He laid the smack down on those Commercial Drive Folk before heading back to his private jet on his private airstrip to go back to his private island.

skonen_blades: (slam)
A few weeks ago, there was a Bingo Poetry Slam which was pretty good. The team I was on won first place. It was a challenge to write something that avoided all the cliches set forth on the bingo card but I did it. I didn't get one single point deducted. It was a very fun night. This is a strange piece of poetry. Almost anti-slam poetry, really.

See what you think. It gets going around the thirty-second mark.

skonen_blades: (Default)
Boy this is nice. I was looking for some more of the Vancouver Poetry Slam and stumbled upon this woman from Chicago. Papergirl, Tennessee Mary Fons. She seems pretty cool. Stopped being a server and took the leap into writing. Hear, hear. I've listened to this about fifteen times and so far it's not getting old so I'm posting it here. Gives me little chills every time. See what you think. Delicious. I think we've all been there but maybe I'm wrong. I hope we've all been there. It's a drag but it's a shared experience that makes us into a community, I think.

skonen_blades: (slam)
That man amongst men, Warren Dean Fulton, has been taping the shows on a regular basis and getting a record of most of the poets. Check out his YouTube channel here. These are two more that he put up today. The Billionaire slam poem is from the night that I tied for 1st with the amazing Lucia Misch. Check 'em out. They're both short.

Wall Street

By the way, Commercial Drive in Vancouver is sort of the acknowledged home of the free-trade coffee drinking, dressed in hemp, let's legalize pot, lesbian, patchouli-wearing, single mom, hand-knit, human-rights protest, neighborhood. So this is a real burn against the community seeing as the Poetry Slam is held right on Commercial Drive. The name has always struck me as ironic since most of the people that I've met on the drive are one hundred per cent against the commercialization of the world yet the street is called Commerical Drive.

This next one has some nice imagery.


In the second one, Warfare, I found myself slipping into 'poet voice' and it sort of threw my delivery. Plus, I think the audience may have been waiting for more of a point. A few people came up to later and asked me if that piece was in reference to the violence in the Gaza Strip. That didn't even occur to me but upon reflection, it could be made into something topical. Anyway, it's some fun wordplay.

Let me know what you think. Talk to you later.

skonen_blades: (slam)
I forgot to mention. I tied for first place with Lucia Misch last night and we had to have a haiku death match to decide the winner. I don't remember what hers was because I was too busy shitting my brain trying to come up with something but this is what I came up with.

War is a gun big
enough to fire tiny cof-
fins made for babies

to the best of my recollection. There's video that I'm waiting for. But there you go. We now return you to your regular LJ stuff.

skonen_blades: (poetry)
I won the poetry slam tonight. I won again. Tonight. This makes two. I can't even believe it.

I slammed this piece first to great applause (phew!):

You are caught in the crossfire of the ones and zeros that cover this world in a green grid of financial lasers, binary talk between bank accounts of influence and wealth without measure.

It keeps the oil flowing, erases the ozone layer, cuts down the trees and most of all it funds the entertainment of the rapidly growing uneducated apathetic lethargic human race.

For those of you not listening to the money that falls from the sky, the coins and bills falling from the pockets and wallets of the billionaires, the gods that walk among us, the 460 men and 13 women that own the rest of us, I have this to say.
Turn your face up to the copper rain of pennies from heaven, the small change that's sprinkled from Lear jets to keep you complacent and catch those coins on your eyes for the journey.

I am one of the people that own you.

I am the latest billionaire. I am the product of thirty-six years of backstabbing, buck-passing and martini lunches. I was inside trading back before Czechoslovakia became the Czech Republic. My dividends diversify like cancer in a twelve-year-old. I have piles of blue chip stock shinier than platinum records.

Hope won’t let you travel the world and love don’t pay the payments.

North America has hit hypocritical mass. I bet almost none of you have even been to the countries that you want to save.

Wall Street is an oxymoron in case anyone paid attention. Wall. Street. It’s an architectural contradiction. Streets guide you places and walls get in the way. And it’s you that are the crash test dummies of that particular dead end.

Slaves were sold on Wall Street. That’s how it got its name. The walls were high, the slaves kept in. That’s how it got its fame.

Ain’t nothin’ free about a free market.

The term egghead comes from the Nazis who said that no matter how smart a person is, their head will still crush under a jackboot like an egg and I think they were just paraphrasing Darwin when they said that. For those of you who believe yourselves to be enlightened atheists, viva la evolution.

“Money is the root of all evil” isn’t true. What it actually says in the bible is “the LOVE of money is the root of all evil”.

Well, let me tell you, I love money.

Dollars wrap my dreams in cotton bills and Euros euthanize my guilt. My bonds don’t bind me and I am not held captive by my stocks. My common cents is precious metal, my labour is small hands in poor countries and my products are innumerable.

I want to glue typewriter keys of my initials to the heels of my shoes so that I can stamp my initials with every footstep deep into the gold bricks of the yellow road I’m following.
I think Wall Street should change its name to something more symbolic of the spirit of commerce that drives it.
I think Wall Street should change its name to Commercial Drive.

and this piece second:

The Breakup Poem

I could never live up to your expectations so I’ve decided to outlive my embarassments. I’m tied
to the post-traumatic stress, about to be burned at the stakes we were playing for. I’m no closer to
understanding the divine plan. I’m struck by deja voodoo.

They say that repetition is the secret to comedy. I hope so. I want to find this funny one day.
I spent so long trying to figure out how to act that I slipped out my own back door. I suppose
that’s why I feel I spent so much time talking out of my ass.

Hot air dances on my tongue, waiting to catch fire. I’m a Hindenberg looking for some humanity.
Trying to catch fish with an internet. If I was a campsite, I’d be two tents.

I feel like I’m forging my own signature half the time. I was in the same prison you were. That’s
why I wanted to know your cel number. I wanted to share my sentences with you. Playing spin the
bottle by myself is hard to do quietly and the suspense isn’t really the same. It’s always me and the bottle that end up kissing and both of us get so drunk we feel empty.

I wanted moth-wing dust, your eyes, my nose, and a secret. I wanted it baked at body temperature for
nine months until it rose. The only ring I wanted was the sound the phone made when you called
me for no reason.

I never went to church but when we were together, I’d say His name into your neck in a repetitive, monosyllabic litany of bliss that was the furthest thing from being taken in vain.

I must have been smothering you with kisses because after a while, you couldn’t breathe.
Every time you turned around, I ran my fingers over you like you were a tibetan prayer wheel.
And the wheels were spinning but we weren’t going anywhere. You leaned on the horn, I turned up the radio. I didn’t see the signs that sharp turns were ahead so I was left. And you were right. Looking back, there was only one way it could have stopped.

So the bed’s huge, movies and concerts are cheaper by exactly half and I’ve been thinking about getting a pet because I feel crazy when I talk to myself. I’m a strong man living through weak days walking a solitary path to a weak end. I’m only fronting because I want you back so much.

I’m lying at the bottom of a footprint made by something that’s extinct.


So YAY! The first win guaranteed me a place in the semi-finals. This win cements it. Wish me luck. Another month until finals.

skonen_blades: (slam)
Word! Tonight's "Bingo" Poetry slam hosted by Lisa Slater and Sue McIntyre was a rousing success. Bingo Cards filled with poetry slam cliches were handed to the judges and then a separate set of judges scored the poems. Demerits were handed out, one point docked per cliche, after the scores had been recorded. Only three judges gave scores so there were no top and bottom score to drop. Sounds like a recipe for chaos but it actually went wonderfully.

The pace was quick and the whole show was over by 11. Lisa and Sue dressed up as cook/server/truck stop ladies and kept the poetry flowing.

My team won. I got a 9.9, a 9.9, and a 10. I did my piece about coffee cup lids. I got no demerits. Good times.My team members Ms Spelt, Warren Dean Fulton and a slam virgin stranger named Allyn also did very well.

Good times. Second win. Right on.

Phew! Good night.

skonen_blades: (slam)
Many thanks to Warren Dean Fulton who managed to film a majority of the nerd pieces on Monday night at the Nerd Slam. He managed to get my second piece. It's a rather touching poem that compares an old love to an old video game system. People seemed to enjoy it. I hope you do too.

skonen_blades: (slam)
The man of the hour, Vitamin F himself, was present with a dictaphone and got both of my pieces on tape. I'm stoked. I hope you enjoy them. Give them a listen. The crowd was crazy. I'm happy that everything was so well received. See what you think. Click on the words.





skonen_blades: (slam)
So far, there are a few snippets available from The Nerd Poetry Slam.

Here's Sam Dulmage rocking it out.

And here's Nick Eddy

Awesome on all accounts.

skonen_blades: (slam)
I won second place at the Nerd Poetry Slam tonight. Wiggidy woot.

Erin and Nick Eddy were there, along with my mom, aunt, and two cousins. Oh yeah, and a freaking packed house.

Sam Dulmage got us all in the heart with his piece about the brain's reaction to curves and lines and how that can get mixed sometimes. Jen Brown gave us a great piece about Dungeons and Dragons that was well received.

I did my Star Trek Rap to an absolutely off-the-freakin'-hook reaction. Blew me away. I went overtime because of the cheering.

But OMG, the guy who was supposed to be filming the show only did it sporadically and he was so into what I was doing that he completely forgot to turn the camera on. High praise but SHEEEEYIT. My mom tried to record me with her camera but she just got it and she's not too technically minded. She double-tapped the record button accidentally and didn't realize it, meaning that she got maybe a half-second of footage. And of course, in my mad dash to the stage, I had my camera in my pocket.

Triple fail. Dang. Oh well.

Rowan rocked the house for the middle show, stepping in because of the sickness-related absence of the scheduled feature poet. Rowan was so nerdy I couldn't even believe it. It was sweet.

Since there were like twenty people in the first round and a lot of people went over time, they only picked a top three for the final round.

Two poetry teams and me. Mumbles and the Dust up from Maryland was one team. Spillious The Ridiculous One and Sean Magarragle were the other team. And little old me.

Mumbles and The Dust opened up the final round with a piece that was incredible and dynamic but not very nerdy. Unfortunately, I think the audience was too drunk and tired at that point to dock points from such an awesome piece merely because of the low nerdiness. They got a ten and mostly nines.

So I slammed my Dreamcast piece to much acclaim but lower scores than Mumbles and the Dust.

Sean and Spillious rounded out the last round with a piece that they had finished writing during the intermission. It was a great idea but it didn't score too high. They got third.


First prize was 50 dollars. Right on. Good for Mumbles and the Dust all the way up here from Maryland.

Third prize was two freaking awesome Frank Frazetta art books and there were two people in the third place team. One book for Sean, one book for Spillious. I grew up with those art books. They're sweet.

Second prize was a DVD of Plan 9 From Outer Space, a movie I have yet to actually sit through. So even though I got second, it feels like first.

A few people came up to me afterwards and told me I got robbed but whatever. Thanks to everyone involved and the powers that be. That was a fucking incredible evening.

skonen_blades: (hluuurg)
I take my phaser off stun and I set it to beatin’
Cause I’m a telekinetic cybernetic Wil Wheaton
A Crusher of The Borg, a Crusher of the Klingon
A Crusher of Ferengi, a Crusher of KHAAAAAAAAAAAAN

Mirror, mirror, evil me,
I’m worse than a goateed Spock’s goatee

I’m blowin’ up like a Warp Core Breach
And chillin’ with my ladies on a Risa beach

Ensigns to the left of me, Captains to the right
There’s a poetry slam in Ten Forward tonight!

(sung to the tune of twinkle, twinkle little star)

Phasers, photons, Enterprise
Five year mission through the skies
You’ll go back in time and then
Tempt the Q Continuum
Make it so, Engage and Come
I get more ass than Number One.

Give me the ladies of the Federation
From every planet and every nation
The Orion Slave Girls from Dilithium Mines
Got a BORG girlfriend, call her SIXty of Nine.
Both JadZIA and Ezri DAX, bitch
I’ll be the meat in the symbiant sandwich
Beverly Crusher and Ensign Ro
Hey there, Uhura, yeah, you know
Gimme Nurse Chapel and Janice Rand
In those original uniforms (beat) Damn
Get Counsellor Troi and Tasha Yar
Bring ‘em to my quarters for my own Pon Farr
I’ll show those babes what they’ve been missing
Tell me more of this Earth thing you call call kissing
These futuristic women love receivin’ my hails
Beside me all the other ensign competition fails
I wanna be like Spock, I wanna be like Kirk
Or anyone else who doesn’t wear a red shirt
I wanna slingshot around the sun
(throw down the gang signs)
NCC One Seven Oh One

I’m spinning the holodecks and rockin’ the mic
I’m a turbo lift transporter makin’ it right
I won every alien battle that I ever fought
And afterwards? Tea. Early Grey. Hot.
I can reroute the power through life support
Reverse the polarity and beat up Worf
I’m one half Betazoid and one half Vulcan
I have no emotions but I sense somethin’.
My rhymes are sharper that a Klingon Bat'leth
And you got nothin’ to hit me back with!
Strong as a Nausican, and quicker than Data.
I’ve got awesome holodiction I’m a total Borg hater

(sung to the tune of Fresh Prince of Bel Air)

Starfleet Academy born and raised
On the starships is where I spent most of my days
Chillin’ out waitin’ navigatin’ warp three
And looking at the viewscreen lookin’ at me
When a couple of Klingons with a ship of their own.
Started making trouble in The Neutral Zone.
I fired one little phaser Picard he got scared!
He said “Plot a course through the space-time continuum tear.”

I…told…Scotty to go to warp seven or eight and
He yelled back through the intercom that “She cannae take it.”
I raised up the shields
I put her in gear
and plotted a course for the Final Frontier.

skonen_blades: (dead)
In honour of remembrance day. Andrea Gibson is a powerful voice. There have been so many poems written about war and its effect on the soldiers, the horrors of the battlefield, and the insufferable tragedy of the pointless deaths that wars can generate. I wouldn't even be able to try my hand at it, having never experienced it. I think I'm too old now to qualify if there was a draft. I think of conscription taking away entire generations of young men and I have no idea how a nation could survive such a thing. I like this poem because it covers a lot of bases about the Iraq war in particular but also war in general.

skonen_blades: (poetry)
I won tonight. First place. I won. That's what I'm trying to say.

I'm having a little trouble getting a handle on the moment. Tonight I went to the poetry slam. I slammed a slightly abridged version of this poem first.


And I was worried going into it. I thought that it was too personal, maybe a little too abstract, maybe this, maybe that, you know the deal. But it really resonated and everyone clapped. I got some good scores and made it into the second round. Yay!

So for the second round, I slammed a slightly abridged version of this piece.


It got a good reaction but the scores were so-so. I didn't realize that the scores were cumulative and that the first round still counted.

Anyway, I won. That's what I'm trying to say. I totally won. I won. My first poetry slam first-place win.

Afterwards, I went to the Wise Hall and hung out with what I can only call poetry royalty. I caught a cab home with Shane Koyczan, just the two of us, and we talked about the state of poetry, mutual friends, and all that stuff. I dropped him off at his hotel and went home, silent and shocked.

I'm still not sure what to make of it. I honestly didn't think I was going to win. When they read the second place poet's name, I couldn't believe my ears.

So anyway, there you go. Third time slamming, second time making it to the second round, first win. It's not the cure for cancer or anything but I'm pretty stoked.

There you go. Crowing over. Back to real life. As you were. Thumbs up.



skonen_blades: (Default)

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