Saturday, February 21, 2009

Poetry Slam

One thing I miss these days is being surrounded by Holden's poetry. There were always random poems and books of poems lying around, poems being memorized and practiced, read, explored, and said. I miss lots of things about having Holden around. Holden is laughter and smiles and serious thoughts and art and poetry and speaking and quiet contemplation and goodness and more laughing. I never paid that much attention to slam poetry before Holden did and it makes me happy to see our youth holding on to this art form that holds so much power.

Mockingbirds - By Rives

Mockingbirds are the MC’s of the animal kingdom–
they listen, and mimic, and remix what they like,
they rock the mic.
Outside my window every morning
I can hear them sing
the sounds of the car alarms
like they were songs of spring.
I mean: if you can talk it,
a mockingbird can squawk it.
So check it:

I’m gonna catch mockingbirds.
I’m gonna trap mockingbirds, all across the nation
and put them gently into mason jars
like mockingbird Molotov cocktails.
And as I drive through a neighborhood, say,
where people gotta lotta
I’ll take a mockingbird I caught in a neighborhood
where folks ain’t got nada
and just let it go, y’know–
Up goes the bird, out come the words:
“Juanito! Juanito! Vente a comer, mi hijo!!”

I’m gonna be the Johnny Appleseed of sounds.
Cruising random interstates and city streets,
rockin’ a drop-top Cadillac with a big back seat,
packing like thirteen brown paper Wal-Mart bags
full of loaded mockingbirds.
And I’ll get everybody.

I’ll get the nitwit on the network news, saying:
“We’ll be back in a moment with more on the crisis.”
I’ll get some asshole at a watering hole
asking what brand the ice is.
I’ll get that lady at the laundromat
who always seems to know what being nice is.

I’ll get your postman making dinner plans.
I’ll get the last time you lied.
I’ll get: “Honey, just give me the frikkin’ T.V. Guide”
I’ll get a lonely little sentence some real bad judgment in it:
“Yeah, I guess you could come inside–
but only for a minute.”

I’ll get an ESL class in Chinatown, learning:
“It’s raining, it’s pouring…”
I’ll put a mockingbird on a late-night train
just to get an old man snoring.
I’ll get your ex-lover wishing someone else good morning.

Cuz I’ll get everyone’s good mornings,
I don’t care how you make ‘em:
Aloha. Konnichiwa. Shalom. A salaam malaikum.

I’ll get uptown gurus, downtown teachers,
broke-ass artists, and dealers, and Filipino preachers.
Leaf blowers, bartenders, boob job doctors,
hooligans, garbagemen, your local Congressman
and the spotlight guys in the overhead helicopters.

Everybody gets heard, everybody gets this
one honest mockingbird
as a witness.

And I’m on this. I’m on this ’til the whole thing spreads
with chat rooms and copycats and moms, maybe,
tucking kids into bed, singing: “Hush little baby, don’t say a word–
wait for the man with the mockingbirds.”

And then come the news crews, and the man-on-the-street interviews
and the letters to the editor–everybody asking:
“Just who is responsible for this citywide,
nationwide, mockingbird cacophony?”

And somebody’s finally gonna tip the city council
of Washington D.C. off to me
and they’ll offer me a key to the city,
a gold-plated, over-sized key to the city,
and that’s all I need, cuz if I get that–I can unlock the air.

I’ll listen for what’s missing–
and I’ll put it there.


Suzanne Barker said...

I love that! Did Holden write it?

Bandanamom said...

No, he didn't but he performed it. When the Bishop mentioned Holden got 3rd in Poetry at the state tournament I don't think anybody really understood what that meant. This is the kind of thing he was doing/does.

I love it too!


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