I recently learned that the concept of Slam Poetry was born about 8 blocks from my house. The Green Mill is a famous old club here in Chicago and it's perhaps best known as an old haunt of Al Capone. If, however, you're not into gangsters and you don't have anything to do on a Sunday night, then you'll find a remarkable subculture of poets gathering to read, to laugh and generally harass each other.
I'd been wanting to go for a while now, and last night I was finally able to get my rear end over there. A few thoughts:
1. If variety is the spice of life then the Open Mike Hour was the West Indies. Some were poignant, some were cliched, some were just bad. A few were remarkable. One was great.
2. First time readers at The Green Mill are virgins. First time readers anywhere are "virgin virgins."
3. Following the Open Mike there were 2 featured Poets (groups of poets as it were). The 2nd group was almost more sketch comedy than poetry, but one particular sketch about Segways was pee your pants funny.
4. My little itch to read, which used to itch like a little mosquito bite, is now a full blown case of poison oak.
5. I will become a better poet by going to these things on a regular basis. I'm learning the importance of hearing what I write, and not just looking at it on the page.
6. With every effort to bury any arrogance in place, I can tell you that I could hang.
With that said, I feel like I'm changing seasons.
Cryptic is fine and has its place, but so does openness. I've been hiding.