Archive for August, 2012


What is slam poetry?

It’s extemporaneous, communicative, conversational, meaningful. It’s in style, popular, universal. It strikes to the soul, cuts to the chase, peels to the emotions.

But, like so much of the gansta rapp, they seem to have a sugar-caffeine-5hour energy addiction to anything “-ation.” I hear so many aspiring squeaking poets and pants-clutching rappers showing their bravado and mastery of a profuse English noun form, with words like speciaLIEzation, senSAYtion, communiCAYshun, and other ATIONS.

It’s ironic that when Latino immigrants come to America, they jokingly create new English words by adding ‘-ation’ to the ending. One example is when you tell them to copy something, they call it “copyation.” Or they will use a Spanish word and add the ending, such as “borradation,” meaning “an erasing.” “Mr., I am doing a borradation.”

They know that “-ation” is a common ending in the English language, and so do slam poets and gansta rappers. But none of them seem to realize everyone else is using this suffix. Really, it is an cop-outation and evidence of lackation of creativation. OMGation! STOP.IT.

Am I jealous of slam poets? Only the successful ones. But I wish they would end that ending, fix that suffix, and shun the ation. Redefine slamnation poetry.

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If Not the Cross

If Jesus Christ had died by guillotine

We’d make at least one pilgrmage to France

Our paintings would have razors in the scene

and Mary, with a bucket in her hands.

If Christ had swung from gallows in the square,

then ropes of gold would hang upon our walls.

We’d contemplate his body swinging there

and sing of how he took the noose for all.

If Christ the Son had faced the firing squad,

we’d wear a patch of black upon our breast.

Each bullet would remind us all of God

and rifles would be held aloft and blessed

Had drugs been forced into Emmanuel’s veins,

a church would have a needle on its tower,

death chambers in stained-glass on window panes

and songs of the Syringe’s cleansing power.

If some electric chair had brought him death,

then books on amps and volts would line our shelves.

A thunderstorm would take away our breath

and power bills be cause to search ourselves.

If there had been no cross for Jesus Christ,

they would have killed him by a thousand ways.

But it was still a cross that saved our lives

and it will be a cross for endless days.

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There’s a tiny hidden swamp near my house

which runners ipodly miss by just a few feet,

not knowing about the egrets home base,

not seeing the dead trees standing like sentinels

I wait at night to hear the croaking

the deep gutteral sounds of lumpy-skinned grandfroggers.

This is our pad, each seems to say,

with the volume tinnitusly turned up.

Beavers, with flat-tailed nonchalance,

slap the placid murky water

and drag themselves ashore to gnaw

and think about the trees their ancestors felled

The stumps, their alma mater, like huge pencils

jammed upside down in the mud,

pointing chiseledly three feet off the ground.

Bicyclists are ituned-out

and never see, hear, or breathe in the swamp.

As unofficial guardian of this slushy real estate,

I selfishly hope they never discover it.

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Audio CD “Space & Selected Poetry” by JLamarHowell

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