Wednesday, October 29, 2008

The Spoken Word Revolution Redux edited by Mark Eleveld

The Spoken Word Revolution Redux edited by Mark Eleveld is a follow-up to a spoken word anthology that perhaps is the best representation of the best of spoken word I’ve ever found. Naturally, I was so excited to see a return visit to brilliance. I waited to read it until I felt uninspired, knowing the content would breathe into me until my word filled self exploded on the page. I touched the spine excited to know that when I felt empty I could come to this collection and be refueled. And yet when the day finally came I read with frustration the carelessness of typos. Why, when spoken word has to be defended against the arrogance of academia saying this is a disgrace to poetry, would anyone be so careless as to not correct lightning and so many others that I stopped numbering the mistakes? Dammit! And yet listening to the cd I am reminded of all that is best about spoken word and this fusion of poetry, art, performance. The street arrogance that gives finger flip what academics have to say. The fusion of laureate and hip hop is a mind-fuck of brilliance. Damn damn damn. And yet the content of the book is good, if you can overlook having to read some of the line more than once to finally say, “Oh. That’s a typo. Not poetic license.” No. This is not as good as the first. It’s good. Better than some. Disappointing only by comparison. If you haven’t read either, start here, then move onto the other. If you’ve read the other, don’t hold your breath in hopes this will live up to the former. Just let it be what it is, flawed and an argument for why spoken word is accused of being careless and unworthy of being called art. A shame, really, because there’s so much art inside in spite of the carelessness. *sigh* Here is a sestina by Lucy Anderton. Brilliant. Both in the book and on the cd. Damn! Eve's Sestina for Adam I wanted the blood from the lip you'd bite open for me. I wanted the soft back of your knee that glowed like an otter's eye, the flag of hair you'd throw out through the wild sky, singing praises to Him through the air. Clearly put, I was not born to be one more pretty poppy in that garden. One more handful of fruit just for you to bite, a patch of dirt where you could plant your heirs. I was a song you had to put your back into. The first born fairy. Artless, wild and bare. And I wanted more than my eye saw, more than the final glance of your eyes after you pinned me. No - I wanted one of your ribs. So I took it. Felt my wild heart crack with arias as my nails bit into your side, sliding my fingers back out, waving that slim wet bone through the air— spinning myself in sass and yards of air kisses - turning my nose and loud ass eyes up to Him. And yes His fire split my back as if He'd snatched from its cloudy bed one virgin lightening bolt and threaded its bite through my bold spine — as if I wasn't wild enough. As if loving me was too wild, too blasphemous an idea to air in Eden. Who was I to need a bit of love from the gold apple of His eye. Adam, you helpless egg. I slipped you one kiss and bled for us, but you were all back and shoulders to me. Offering your tears back to that giant nipple. Crying of wild blood on your thighs. He only could hear one side. So when that apple dropped through the air I took it deep in my mouth and then I saw that the bliss of absolution bites straight through the heart of any one error. So, yes, I backslapped Eden with my bloody wild, But then—who gave you the Universe to bite?

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