I did not expect the energy level of poetry to be so high on day two of Rust Belt. A lot of hot and tired poets dug deep and did some impressive work during round two yesterday. The Collective was a bit sick, a bit tired and slightly hungover but we delivered. Same as Friday I could not be more impressed by my team of hastily gathered poets. Paula started us off and fought off a migraine. Ellie brought the room to her attention. Atticus showed some amazing energy and delivered a flawless soliloquy from Luigi, the Mario Brother.
By the time the fourth round came, I was hot, sweaty, and still a bit worn from the night before. But dammit, these poets had energy, even the ones that were not overly shouting were bringing it. If they can have all this electricity, I'd better get my act together. I looked over what I was going to do, After Birth, added one small line for a bit of punch and hit the mike.
Even though I really can't see very far in my reading glasses I could tell I had the audience's attention. I heard the reaction to my lines and went with it. When I was done I was spent, in a bit of a daze as I saw more than a few people get to their feet to applaud.
I always write down my scores after, shook as I wrote them. 9.4, 9.8, 9.9, 10, 10.
Shit, that's a 29.7.
People and poets came to me, thanking me, shaking my shaking hand, giving me hugs, I was dazed and went outside for cooler air.
It was the highest score in the round, possibly the bout and one of the higher scores all weekend. That was something.
Still not sure of the final results, team or individual, but I know our team did well and individually we held our heads high among some of the best poets out there. I can't thank Atticus, Ellie and Paula enough, we did great.
Had to head home and miss the second bout, I was burnt out and in need of another shower before the finals.
Thank God for Nestor Hall being air conditioned. G. Gnarls Barkley was there! Really enjoyed the individual finals, which was won by a very good poet out Minneapolis named Mary Taibs. We stayed for some of the team finals, we were wiped. Later we found that Team Turgid, consisting of Jamal Vs. May, J.W. Basillo, Tom Budday and my favorite poet of the weekend, Roger Bonair-Agard, were crowned 2011 Rustbelt Slam Team Champions! From what I understand it was a very close finish.
It was a great weekend of poetry, you can't control the weather, which made Travonna a bit stifling. Overall though, fantastic job by the people at Travonna who were so welcoming to a herd of poets who took over their coffee shop for a weekend.
Finally, I really want to thank Will Evans and his team for making this event happen in Columbus. A great way to showcase our city as one that loves poetry.