Poetry Slamming in Ottawa

A couple weeks ago I took part in a poetry slam at Capital Slam here in Canada’s capital …Ottawa! It was my second time performing at this slam or any slam in general for that matter. I saw some familiar faces and I knew the heat some of the performers were going to bring.  For those of you who don’t know much about poetry slams, or have associated  poetry events to those in films such as 22 Jump Street. A poetry slam is essentially a competition where poets get on a stage and perform their poems that are then judged. At Capital Slam there is a 3 minute time limit for poems, poems are judged by randomly selected members of the audience on a scale of 1-10 and there are 2 rounds. You can write about anything and perform however you like. I’ve been to quite a few poetry slams mostly in Toronto and I’m usually blown away by the talent and content of the poems. I would say the best poetry slam I’ve been to was for Unity Charity in Toronto a few years back. I was astonished by the age of most contestants, the delivery and style of poems , lyricism and ultimately the impact they had on me. For the longest time I’ve wanted to perform in competitions and even though I never did I thank Unity Charity for giving me a start in spoken word and  for exposing me to the culture and letting me get of taste of the community  I one day hope to be a part of. The poetry scene in Toronto is really bumping and since I’ve come to Ottawa, I’ve hoped to get connected with the poetry scene here. Unfortunately I haven’t gotten around to it and haven’t had much luck. Personally, from what I’ve seen there isn’t as large of a platform for this art form here… yet. I know there are events that take place around the city, I may be mistaken but it’s hard to find accurate information and details online regarding these events. I will continue to look around and update. If anyone out there knows of any poetry slams going on in the greater Ottawa area feel free to give me a shout!

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Shepherdless

Now this is a generation that was meant to be heard

But it’s like shepherds trade their sticks for whips to beat youth with tongue lashes

We’re a blind herd trying to be led safely to our caskets

Our dreams weigh clouds down to earth

They burst and fill the sky with bright lights of visions just like fireworks

A colourful release of breath to give life to a once dead generation

Choked up in need of the Heimlich

Blown into the winds of desperation

Colours of the aurora borealis setting fire to idle minds

Their fingertips feel alive like an 87 year old woman cured from arthritis

Your bones feel ignited

Ambition is resuscitated

No chance of a reoccurring indictment

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Prodigy

I wasn’t born a prodigy, gifted or advanced for my level

Neither was I born with any delay

That they could say hindered my progress or ability to convey simple concepts understood by other kids my age

The challenge is seeing students be extraordinary and complimented on their brilliance and seeing kids doing poorly and neglected for their blatant disregard for the system set in place that only regards his marks and can’t put a name to his face

My apologies to the “they” in whom I should find fear in but

I cannot commit to the conformity

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It’s not your poems holding you back.

I think everyone comes to a point where they start to fall into the clichés. We all think we’re above them, that they’ll never affect us and that we don’t need anybody or any help. ( the “I can do bad all by myself” attitude). That’s a pretty unauthentic way to live but, there isn’t anybody that can stop you from feeling or thinking that way but you. You may have the high whiny nagging voice in your head saying I don’t have a talent, nobody will like me, I have no purpose, somebody out there is better than me at doing yada yada. But sure, why not think all of those things. Especially if you haven’t tried and especially because we have 9 lives to live and we have all the time in the world to wallow in our self-pity.  Wrong “ain’t nobody got time for that”. I’m just tired of us individuals thinking we’re all original strugglers, like nobody before us was ever confused about life, or wondered of their purpose and talents, who failed, who cut themselves off from the world, became “cold-hearted”, who weren’t considered normal, who coloured outside of the box, who were ostracized, who were broke and tired. None one of those things matter in terms of you reaching success unless you make them matter. You can stay sad and broke all you like but until you find out that the real riches on this earth cannot be accessed through your bank account, you’re going to have a rough time finding the gold in your dirt.

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