This morning, I finished a new spoken word piece called Turning 40. Spoken word is the performance art of poetry, so it translates better in person verses on the page, but here it is anyway :)
Also, it’s worth mentioning that in my spoken word repertoire, this piece is by far the shortest. But sometimes, short and sweet and to the point just makes good sense.
I’m not interested in towing the heavy, lead-laden line given to me by those who’ve come before. The one that says I shouldn’t be on good terms with aging – ya know, the one that says I should pretend to be some other age than I actually am and would do well to color up over all this grey hair coming in.
The one that says I should learn creative ways to outstretch my neck or gain an affinity for scarves to cover up the fact that I have folds and that I lose my sexual allure the further I drift from the shores of 18.
You’re welcome to keep towing that line but I’m not interested. I am setting it down, in favor of something…more.
I wanna tow the line that says aging is part of life and not separate; I wanna end the drama filled strife by pursuing a life based on responses and not reactions; I wanna water the seeds of mad love for the whole of things and not split it up into fractions; and I wanna swim naked in the waters of whatever age I’m kicking in and embrace my body, the whole damn thing.
cuz there ain’t no shame in not being a size 2, there’s shame in playing the beauty-looks-like-this game that no one wins. I’m fixin’ to tow a different line, saddle up if you’re in cuz I’m not sweatin’ turning 40, I’ve been enjoying the ride since 1979 and I love this mixed-bag world – and for what it’s worth, I’m interested in towing the line of being more than a pretty girl.
Words of encouragement to myself during my recent poetry slam (with one of my cats Goncobe in the background who served as a great audience while I was rehearsing before the show)
Some of you out there in the blogosphere might remember that this time last fall I posted about entering my first poetry slam. Well, it’s an annual slam that happens here in Missoula as part of Festival of the Book (now called the Montana Book Festival) and I decided to sign up again. It was this past Friday night.
I ventured into writing spoken word pieces about 3 years ago. Not being overly familiar with poetry slams I didn’t realize, until a friend mentioned it to me, that what I was writing would fit right in with a slam platform. So I managed up enough huts-pah (aka courage) to sign up for my first slam last fall. I was the most nervous I ever remember being. But I did it!
For those of you who may not be familiar with how slams work they’re competition based and involve folks performing their own poetry that can run the gamut from simple stylistic poetry to verse to having a rap/hip hop flavor. There are judges and scoring involved for each piece a poet performs. A set amount of poets start off in round 1 and then that number gets halved, based on their scores, for round 2 and so on until 2 poets are left to duke it out for first place. In the annual one here that takes place as part of the Book Festival there are 4 rounds. Last fall I didn’t make it past round 2. I was in a slam, that had only 1 round, this past spring and took 3rd place. And in this most recent slam I took 2nd place.
But it wasn’t about winning, and still isn’t, for me. I do it because I enjoy the art of writing and spoken word and because it’s a good practice in sharing what I love to do. And it is a practice – which means it takes work, effort, and diligence. The more I practice the more I keep practicing, the more skill I develop, and the easier it gets. I revert back to this simple equation often. Practice = more practice = more skill = easier.