I don’t pretend to know anything about poetry. I didn’t even know we were going to a poetry reading Monday night. I thought we were going to a music open mic thing.
Rob’s friend Rion had a couple of pieces he wanted to perform. He asked the MC if profanity was OK.
“I think misogyny is lame,” the MC said. I thought he said “massaging.” Why is massage lame?
“And racism’s no good either.”
Rion was cool with that, so we took our seats. The MC announced that this is a “challenging space. You might hear something you don’t like, and you might say something other people don’t like. But keep it civil. Have a dialogue.”
The first guy to read was pretty good. The following several were pretty “meh,” but I’m very supportive of burgeoning artists for putting themselves out there.
The guy before Rion takes a dramatic pause and says. “2012. FUCK. None of the above.” That was it. His poem.
Rion delivers two fast-paced, hard core pieces. They sound like a cappella rap. Listen for yourself.
I thought he was wonderful, but like I said, I don’t know anything about poetry. I guess it’s not good if you don’t read it slow.
Taking dramatic pauses for effect.
Reading from the backs of envelopes where you’ve scrawled your poems, so marvelous that they need no revision, and you can’t be bothered to copy them onto a real sheet of paper, or even …
A featured poet gets 20 minutes to read. She’s angry at the world, men and therapists in particular, and the audience laughs like she’s the best observational comedian they’ve ever heard. I’m uncomfortable. Her poetry makes me sad, and kind of offends me. I want to leave but don’t want to be rude, and finally she’s done and it’s the intermission and we get up to leave.
On our way out, past the other artists taking smoke breaks, the MC pulls Rion aside and invites him NOT to return to open mic night.
What. the. fuck.
Rion leaves, but Rob wants to know why, so we ask. The MC has gone inside, but a few few other guys tell us it’s because Poetrynight should be a “safe space.”
Wait. I thought it was supposed to be a “challenging space.” I ask, “What was threatening about it?”
“Oh, I don’t know, talking about ramming some bitch with his dick.”
I don’t recall that being a line in Rion’s poem. I say, “He was just telling a story.”
An older guy with mutton chops said, “I didn’t mind it. It was very raw.”
Bewildered, we consult the video. Two parts that possibly could have offended people were the thing about killing a bitch like OJ and the other taking out his cock to piss on his father’s corpse. omg. He said cock. And jism.
People were threatened by that? Really? Enough to banish him from an open mic night?
I don’t get it. Stupid, pretentious poets.
Unless what they were really mad about is that he went over the three minute limit.