The art of spoken word

I’m a huge fan of Poetry and more specifically Spoken Word.  You see, I have a thing for words, honest words which have the ability to move me in a way that nothing and no one has ever been able to. That being said, I’ve got a little confession to make, I’ve got a crush. You know the kind where your heart starts racing, you get all hot and flustered under the collar and feel as if you’re doing a million somersaults per second in mid-air.

Who’s the crush you ask? Well, her name is Sarah Kay and she’s a New York born poet. Okay, so my crush is not so much on Sarah herself, but more on the magnificent utterings that she inspires me with. This woman’s poetry is the stuff that dreams are made of and have brought me to tears on more than one occasion. I’ve been a loyal follower for about 3years now and every time I hear a new piece of hers it feels like a breath of fresh air.

It’d be hard to single out my favourite poem of hers, since I practically adore nearly every one of them. So instead, I’ll share a few of them in due course, but here’s one of my favourites at the moment, it’s called Long Distance Love. My favourite excerpt from the poem is:

‘You can only fit so many words in a postcard. Only so many in a phone call. Only so many into space, before you forget that words are sometimes used for things other than filling emptiness. It is hard to build a body out of words. I have tried. We have both tried. ‘

You can watch the full video here.

Long Distance Love by Sarah Kay

I had already fallen in love with too many postage stamps, when you appeared on my doorstep wearing nothing but a post stamp promise.

No, appeared is the wrong word. Is there a word for sucker punching someone in the heart? Is there a word for when you’re sitting at the bottom of the roller coaster and you realise the climb is coming, that you know what the climb means, that you can already feel the flip in your stomach from the fall, before you’ve even moved? Is there a word for that?

There should be. You can only fit so many words in a postcard. Only so many in a phone call. Only so many into space, before you forget that words are sometimes used for things other than filling emptiness. It is hard to build a body out of words. I have tried. We have both tried.

Instead of holding your head to my chest, I tell you about the boy who lives downstairs from me, who stays up all night long practising his drum set. The neighbours have complained, they have busy days tomorrow, but he keeps on thumping through the night. Convinced, I think, that practice makes perfect.

Instead of holding my hand, you tell me about the sandwich you ate for lunch today. How the pickles fit so perfectly with the lettuce. Practice does not make perfect, practice makes permanent. Repeat the same mistakes over and over and you don’t get any closer to Carnegie Hall, even I know that. Repeat the same mistakes over and over and you don’t get any closer. You, never get any closer.

Is there a word for the moment you win tug of war, when the weight gives and all that extra rope comes hurdling toward you. How even though you’ve won, you still wind up with muddy knees and burns on your hands, is there a word for that? I wish there was. I would’ve said it when we were finally together on your couch, neither one of us with anything left to say.

Still now, I send letters into space, hoping that some mail man somewhere will track you down and recognise you from the description in my poems. That he will place the stack of them in your hands and tell you, ‘there’s a girl who still writes you, she doesn’t know how not to.’

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Now put your hands up in the air and wave ’em round like you just don’t care

How hard is it to follow instructions? Apparently not very hard for the 3000+ participants who partook in The MP3 Experiment in New York. Participants were all instructed to download the same MP3 file, which contained an original mix of music and voice instructions. Then they all had to show up at different (pre-allocated) stores in New York’s Times Square and at precisely 18h00 they were all instructed to press play.

This is what happened: The MP3 Experiment Seven

My point? Well aside from the obvious fact that’s it’s just pretty darn freakin’ cool, it also happens to prove that people are able to follow instructions at random and this is not necessarily determined by who the instructor is, as in the case of this experiment. Dude! It’s just cool, coz I said so 😉

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15 minutes of fame

Andy Warhol said, “In the future everybody will be world famous for fifteen minutes.” I’d hope that my 15 minutes would count for something other than a cheap thrill, something that actually matters. If I were world famous for 15minutes, I hope it would be because I did something really meaningful to help mankind, something heroic.

I’ve never wanted to be famous, but if I was granted my few minutes in the spotlight, I’d want it to be memorable. I’m not sure what that would look like, but I’m pretty sure that it wouldn’t be anything along the lines of a ‘leaked sex tape’ or a reality t.v. show; because at the end of the day it’s not the 15minutes that count, it’s what you do thereafter. It’s how you live your life and what you do with that fame long after the lights have dimmed and the camera is no longer rolling.

One of my favourite rappers, Nas has this song called One Mic which I think says it best: ‘…all I need is one mic, one beat, one stage…All I need is one life, one try, one breath, I’m one man, what I stand for speaks for itself…’

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Plan B

I’ve often wondered why so many women are so helpless and lost when their relationships end. It’s as if they can’t seem to get to grips with what has happened and their entire world comes to a standstill. If you had asked my 5 years ago, I’d have probably said: ‘serves her right for not having a backup plan.’ After all, who goes into a relationship with their eyes open and doesn’t plan for ‘what if’? What if this doesn’t work out? What if he cheats on me? What if I fall pregnant? What if I got a transfer?

I’ve always had a backup, an alternative, a just in case things don’t work out plan. Something to make me feel a little more at ease, just knowing in the back of my mind that if things didn’t work out, there’d be another way. But I think I finally get it. With love, there is no Plan B. It’s a bit like bungee jumping, you jump into it with all your heart and you just have to trust that the rope is strong enough to hold you.

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With great power comes great responsibility

a.k.a A skill set called leadership

I believe it was Voltaire who first said that and I’ve gotta give the guy credit for his wisdom, but then Spider-Man came along and said it too. I believe that one of the greatest roles in life is that of a leader. It requires a certain set of skills, a certain amount of knowledge and a huge amount of humility. Most of these skills can be learnt through a text book or by observation or even through experience, but the crux of a leader is his humility, something which no academic course, church leader or book can teach a human being.

I think that everyone one of us on this earth has a responsibility, not only to ourselves, but also to the universe, to learn as much as we can; achieve as much as we can and stretch ourselves as much as possible for however long we are put on this earth for. For some of us, this may mean assuming leadership positions, while for others this may require positions of service. Having been in many leadership positions in the past and present, I can honestly say that I am still learning many things and can only hope that the responsibility which is placed in my hands will always overshadow the power.

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Sister, sister

Most people who know me would know that I come from a rather big family. Being five kids and all it’s always difficult for people to keep track of who’s married to whom and which kids belong to which parents and who the actual brother and sister are and who the in-laws are. All in all it’s a bit of a nightmare trying to put the whole picture together, which is why I normally don’t bother trying to explain in the first place.

But, that being said, to me it’s pretty straight forward. We may all be grown up now and have kids and families, but my brothers and sister are still the people I grew up with. My sibling have tortured me, supported me, endured me, nagged me and helped me back up on my feet more times than I could dare to count. There’s quite an age gap between my three brothers and I, but my sister and I being the last two kids to arrive on the scene, have always had a certain bond.
I remember growing up, I simply worshipped my sister. She was older and cooler and had so many friends in the neighbourhood and although I knew I couldn’t be one of her friends (because I was her baby sister and obviously wasn’t cool enough), just being near her made me feel special. Growing up we had our usual teenage battles. At first we’d shared a room, which had proven to be a nightmare. You see my sister lived in organised chaos and I detested it. We’d fight all the time about ‘who stole my earrings’ and ‘who shrunk my sweater in the wash’ and ‘who’s turn it was to feed the dogs’.
But we’d also talk till all hours of the morning about our celebrity and real life crushes, about fights with friends and how our parents were just so old school. We’d lay in bed for hours chatting away, ignoring my mum’s hushed tone telling us to go to sleep. Other times we’d sit in the bathroom chatting away as we went about our business and other times I’d leave the room while chatting to her on the phone so we could chat about all the things we really wanted to say to each other, but couldn’t in front of everyone else.

As we grew older our conversations began to change as we shared life issues, love, disappointments, heart aches, achievements, future plans and fears. We’re all grown up now and though our lives have moved in different directions and one of us is always jetting off in one direction or another, there’s one thing that has remained constant, our bond. 
I can’t imagine a life without a sister like mine, because no one would ever understand me the way she does, no one would ever love me the way she does and no one knows how to bring me back down to reality better than she does. She’s the wisest person I know, as solid as a rock and she holds all my secrets wrapped up in her heart.

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“Rock journalism is people who can’t write interviewing people who can’t talk for people who can’t read”

That’s what Frank Zappa, legendary American muso and advocate for freedom of speech; self-education and the abolition of censorship; amongst other things; said. Now I wouldn’t claim to know anything about rock or journalism for that matter, but I can grasp the sentiment.

I’ve always believed that you cannot form an opinion about anything until you’ve actually experienced it or lived through it, with the exception of a few instances of course, such as suicide or death by lethal injection. However, even after you’ve experienced it, the way you interpret it is entirely up to the individual and so regardless of what you say or do or how (in this instance) you write, people in turn will form their own opinions about your interpretation of your experience.

In short you’re damned if you do and damned if you don’t. I say, just put it out there in any form or way that you choose. Whether you have an opinion about abortion, religion or in this case rock, it’s your voice, so use it.

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The package

It arrived on his doorstep wrapped up in shiny red paper with a big silver bow on top.
Not too heavy and not too big, just the right size and very attractive looking too.
In a rush of excitement he signed on the dotted line and rushed inside with his package.
Tearing off the shiny red paper as he went along and sending scraps of red flying everywhere.
Inside he found a box, neatly tied with string and quickly found a scissors to cut away the knot.

Curiously he opened up the box, filled with anticipation and eager to see what it held.
He peeped inside to find nothing, nothing but empty air and a note which read:

I arrived on your doorstep on a sunny day, wrapped up real nice, all shiny and new.
Your eyes lit up when you saw me standing there holding my heart out to you.
I was so happy when you asked and I said I do.
I really loved you and I thought you loved me too.
So we walked down the isle and made precious vows.
We made so many promises and look where we are now.
The wrapping is gone now and all that’s left is just us two.
I’ve no gifts left to give and  it’s too late for sorries that are too long overdue.

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