with the winners going to the Nationals. I had to go. Only three dollars at the door.  After catching Youth Speaks last year, I wanted to see what this group of poets was up to.  I have been following Jamaica Osorio’s spoken word with great interest.(http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=d54xhGzwM50).  Here was a chance to see her work it.  I invited my friend Michelle, who is great company,


and rode from SF with me, while we listened to DJ Solomon’s music. Spoken Word. Slam poetry. There is something fresh and slightly jittery about the first time. With a slam, first is bound to be good because there’s a sparkle and none of the jive and expectation that comes with tried and true.

Rayna's poem

They gave us zammee.com to login for a broadcast… waiting for that to begin and it’s midnight. I may have to re-write this after I catch the download. Apologies if I don’t get the names right. There was no program with names printed so I’m guessing.

Mercy Bell began with a bitter-sweet piece about a girl and her father.  “James Hurell saves Mercy’s soul on Sunday…” and took us with her, as a good poet does. We believed her.

There were poets with love poems, heartbreak poems, but two of performers brought up the unspeakable tragedy of unnecessary death and suicide.

Simon's spoken word

The tall poet named Simon spoke out with precision and speed of suicide with reference to the railroad crossing in Palo Alto. “We sing this song for the 5 who have died…”

I finally met Jamaica!

Jamaica Osorio shared with us the awful pain of death by fire. These are tough subjects to speak about, even metaphorically. Jamaica brings dazzling light to dark places.  Both got high marks from the judges.

Bryan Yu slammed down a concert poem with panache and numerous four letter words. The crowd loved it and he would have had the highest score except that he ran over the time limit.

The poem that I yelled for the loudest was by Rayna, entitled “Questions for a Stranger.” She rocked it. Here are a few lines I caught as it unrolled:

…Who are you?

…How do you kiss?

…How many books by women have you read?

…Would you sleep with me just to forget other people?

…What’s under your pillow?

Bryan (Ryan?) and Rayna - going to the nationals!

If I were to describe the evening I’d say the archetypal theater masks of tragedy and comedy were balanced, the spoken word poetry community at Stanford – alive and very supportive of one another. There was a good turnout. The MC’s did a great job, but I only caught Stan’s name. I will definitely return to the Second Annual Stanford Poetry Slam. Yes, poets! Be waiting to see how you do in the Nationals.


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