The news broke like your spirit – slow, in the dark, in whispers, and then on broadcast television.
I heard it 3 beers deep at a birthday party and thought it more fitting, more your style, to laugh now and cry alone at home.
Like you, I wouldn’t let them watch the pain. If they’re clever, they’ll decode it someday, reading subtext like fading Morse code, staccato between breathless giggles.
The laughs broke like your career – alien, magical, unexpected, and then unstoppable – until you finally figured out was how to make it stop. Make the denial stop the cackles stop the demons stop. Please, please make the happiness stop.
And just a short night later, you were no longer addicted to attention, cocaine, and laughter.
The comedy broke your soul, and then bandaged it only enough to keep you from ripping yourself apart – for a while.
But you could never let the hurt heal enough to scar over. You’d always wanted to give them your blood just to keep them joyful.
And as they wire one last smile onto your face, we’ll keep laughing at the memories you made for us with the destruction of yourself.
I’ve got some good news to share with you all. As of June 1st, I’ve begun taking over the role of Board Chair for Atlanta Word Works, a youth-focused poetry and spoken word organization. The group is very welcoming, and they’re a great and talented group of youngins with a lot of poetic promise.
And since it’s a young, arts-education organization, my first honor as its new leader is to humbly beg you for money! (Classy, right?)
Here’s what’s up. Every year, Atlanta sends a team of 6 youth poets to represent the city in the Brave New Voices International Youth Poetry Slam Festival, which can best be likened to the youth poetry Olympics, and remains the largest ongoing spoken word event in the world. HBO even made an entire series in 2010 about the participating teams preparing for and competing in the festival – a platform for over 1,000 youth poets from all across the world to perform on an international stage and partake in fellowship with one another.
This is where you come in. We have already selected a strong team of youth poets, and have experienced coaches and mentors training and preparing them for the competition, but now we need the backing of our community to get them to Philly this summer for the competition.
I’m managing an IndieGoGo crowdfunding campaign to defray those costs.
Check it out via the link below. (Watch the video to hear me say smart things, scroll down to see a fancy headshot and bio of me as well.)
If you read/watch the IndieGoGo page and are still not moved to give away a chunk of your hard-earned cash, I understand. But, then please do me a big favor and donate at least $1 to the campaign. It helps the campaign gain exposure and makes it more likely to be featured on the IndieGoGo website for more folks to see. (And you get a swanky digital badge in exchange!)
And remember, sharing is caring! So please send to any and all whom may be interested in seeing the young succeed (and tag me or Atlanta Word Works too).
- Post the link to our campaign on Facebook for all your digital friends to see.
- Tweet about us to your thousands of adoring Twitter followers.
- Share the link with your friends, teachers, and fellow writers in whichever way you prefer. (Email is nice, but we’re not too picky.)
With your help, we’ll have the chance to put our southern city on the literary map and our team of poets upon the finals stage.
For those of you who may not yet know, New Pages is a great source and resource for writing news, information, and guides to independent bookstores, independent publishers, literary magazines, alternative periodicals, independent record labels, alternative newsweeklies. and more. (Essentially, go there and learn things.)
Today, I found out from one of the editors that my poetry website/blog has been listed up there as well, right alongside other prominent writers (such as Seth Abramson) and aspiring poets!
It may be but a small step, but it’s definitely a step in the right direction.
[Below is a poem I’ve puzzle-pieced together using my single best line/stanza from each and every one of my 30/30 poems composed this year. I like to think of it as a combination of two, popular poetic forms – the found poem and the exquisite corpse – and I always find it fascinating to see how these lines and words can be re-purposed to create entirely new meaning with minimal alterations. If you feel moved by a line or are curious how it fits in the original poem, then simply click on it! Each one links back to the initial post.]
I like lists, and thus, I have decided to number out my top 6 most popular poems that now exist as a result of this year’s 30/30 Poetry Challenge. If you have a different favorite, feel that WordPress’ numbers are just off, or think another poem should’ve gotten more exposure, then please say so in the comments section below and let everyone know why.
Enjoy, share, say things, and thanks again for your support!
One of the greatest professors that Vanderbilt University’s Peabody College has ever known, Alene Harris, is now beginning her life of retirement. This is a humble poem in honor of her awe-inspiring career.