Friday, August 31, 2012

At least it's not Branson

I'd be a lot more enthusiastic about things if I had not sank a lot of money into the car a couple of days ago. I knew the rotors were pitted, braking was similar to bronco busting, but when there was a lot of loud metal on metal banging during acceleration I knew I'd have to give in and take the car to the shop.

So I got to sit around the house and stress, do some editing, stress some more then watch Celtic win their soccer match to get into the Champions League and stress. The call from the mechanic came in, turns out the brake pads were not clipped on right by the people who put them on after I got the car last December, and they froze up the calipers. Scorecard was new brake pads, new rotors and calipers. A sickening total.

This was Wednesday, the same night as the Writers' Block Grand Slam in which the winner would go to the Individual World Poetry Slam. Five poets, including myself, were competing.

I was determined to compete and have fun, with no other expectations. Had my poems pretty much set. A one minute and two minute poem and two three minute poems of which I had to choose one.

Drew the five slot, which meant I went last in the round. That strategy did not matter much, not with only five poets reading.

Read a new poem that I finished the night before, To My Son on his 10th Birthday. You never know what is going to happen when you debut a work, especially during a major slam. After reading it, I got to my seat and my wife was bawling. Guess I struck a nerve in a few other people too as it was the highest scoring poem in the round. This meant I was to read first in round two.

There was no time to settle down, and I had another new poem, this one called Nine Bullets at Qimchok, about the taliban atrocities in Afghanistan. Got the judges verdict, then Gina read her poem and sailed past me in the scoring.

Going into round three, the one minute round Gina was in first, I was in second, Vernell third, Alexis then Aaron.

Gina did her thing then I came up and did, well, An Obscene Phone Call from Mr. Potato Head which brought the house down. I was in the lead and Vernell needed a near perfect score to catch me. That did not happen.

So I won the slam and a trip to the IWPS finals in Fayetteville, Arkansas in October. It was a great night of poetry and all five of us were outstanding. I've accepted the trip. Never been to Arkansas, deep in the Ozarks. My room is booked, the plane reservation will be made next week. I am thrilled, but the money issue and timing was not the best.

That said, I'm looking forward to representing Writers' Block Poetry. Now I have to figure out what to read there. Tough task. I hear there are only going to be 72 poets in the competition this year, so I'm guaranteed a better finish than my 90th in Berkeley three years ago. Also, like 2009, Ethan Rivera will be representing Writing Wrongs Poetry.

Columbus is coming Fayetteville, be ready!

Oh, and next week I get The Uni!

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