I walked into my first open mic three years ago. I was late so the mc brought me a chair. I had no idea that this little coffee shop would become my home for the next three years. That on the stage, my broken would look a lot like magic. That my words, would mean something to someone. You have no idea what you are writing, it just comes. And then you stand on a stage for three minutes and bleed. It’s the slowest three minute drowning you’ll ever feel. There is no formula. You die on paper and resurrect on a microphone. It’s all instinctual. And every poet knows what it feels like to hear something so insanely good that it feels like a bullet through glass.
There is a connection in the spoken word community that I have never felt in any other place. Probably the closest to Woodstock that I’ll ever get. If only I would have known this in high school. All of that rage went to waste. I could have bought sanctuary with my allowance and diary. I never knew anything about open mics but I knew what authenticity looked like. And these were the most real people that I had ever met. I’m not a person who feels at home easily but I was embraced. I felt safe being vulnerable. I don’t think those 20 people knew how much they meant to me. They made me feel seamless. Poetry is much more than words arranged, it’s about showing your humaness and knowing it will be recognized. Because really, we are all the same in different ways
I think rock and roll started on an open mic. Ask Henry Rollins. Spoken word is a demolition. Sometimes you have to dynamite down to the foundation to find the good stuff. But when you do, you start building a new church.