Why I’m Not a Slam Poet



I am not a slam poet
because I grew up believing that poetry is about form
not content
not scars of war or who suffered more,
who can bare her soul the loudest to get the highest score.
I refuse to masquerade my pain
to wallow in my own self depreciation,
self annihilation, to sacrifice meter and diction
to rap about addiction and affliction
to a snapping crowd
who cares not about the way words sound
but the way the speaker sounds when she says the words
as if in the process of ripping out her heart
she has ripped away the words from
phonetics and semantics
poetic aesthetics replaced by cheap spoken word antics.

I am not a slam poet
because I grew up believing that beauty is about form
not content.
I refused food on plates, my limbs refused
the pressure of weight.
My muscles and sinew dissolved
in hopes that lacking love would be resolved,
my sins absolved, my problems solved.
Every lost pound was approval gained.
one morning
the sun became subverted,
the ocean drained away with my shrinking shadow,
my pulse dwindled to forty
I was sent to a place
where girls didn’t need poems to parade pain
because it showed in the hollows of their eyes
to a place where bones clattered into the cracks
of floor boards on top of buried food crumbs.
I stayed there day after day,
but my mother would not come
because she said I was vain
and she was shamed by my vanity, my insanity
and now I can only desire men who reject me
who would abandon me
in a sterile white hospital bed.

I’ve aged and changed since then 🙂
and will keep on aging and changing,
learning and turning
into a person who understands that
beauty is about content
not form.
My professors taught me that poetry
is about the blending of both, the bending and rending
of the two to create new meaning in a poem,
which is why when these old professors
give me looks in their eyes
that suggest desire not respect,
ravenousness not intelligence,
glamour not genius,
that I’m a token girl, not a token student
that they’re impressed with the elegance of my body
not my body of work
I suppress yelling
I am not a poem you can analyze,
whose stanzas you can dissect,
whose words you can caress,
a poem whose meaning is found
where aesthetics and content collide.
I am not a poem, but a person,
who won a battle with vanity
in a war to believe that beauty
is about content
not form
who wants you to focus
not on the the color of my lips
but the color of my comments
not on the weight of my body
but the weight of my words.▼

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