Tag Archives: #spokenword

when myspace was the ISH

I am always very late to check into the latest technological gadgets and all the social media circles. I guess you can say I am easily intimidated with having to learn all the download, upload, add a link, rank your friends stuff. My friends would always ask me when was I going to get on and start posting stuff. In my head I was protesting! First they take away letter writing, then you don’t make phone calls you text and now you don’t text you type on the internet. (And in between all this, no one has told me what to do with all the cd’s I still have?! Now we download music?) Well, I remember when I finally decided to join Myspace and how it really helped catapult my performance poetry career.

It was right before the release of my poetry cd, “Moody”. I consulted with some friends on which sites to download photos to download for my profile (never understood that!) and how to download videos and my spoken word. I was performing feature spots heavily on the LA scene at the time and after performances I would mention my Myspace page and have friend requests from nearly everyone in the audience a few hours later. It became a link for performance opportunities in other cities and eventually other states. I’m sure this is how a lot of spoken word artists were able to arrange self supported tours and for venues to bring in talent to their perspective venues. Myspace social networking allowed me to create a following and literally have my next potential paying gig sitting in the audience. I realized the opportunities were limitless and only a keystroke away.

The successful sales of my poetry cd and my two books are largely due to the social networking I engaged with on Myspace. Expanding my audience outside of California into a tour of the midwest, south and east coast are all from networking with other artists and venue producers via Myspace. Now there is facebook, foursquare, twitter, tumblr, linkedin and so on. I have a profile on nearly all of them but find myself once again overwhelmed with all the how to gadgets. I suppose after some research on which one, or ones, can be the most supportive to the next phase of my artistic career I will focus on that site. Until I make that decision, I find the networks I am on as different ways to gather political and entertainment news as well as keep in contact with friends. Even though Myspace is pretty much now defunct and I can’t even remember my password, I remember when Myspace was the “ish” and helped me pay my bills.

a Meter for Matter

Matter Matters

….

Catch the memories like fishnet

too many to hold in my palm

and too capacious for the thesaurus description

Matter Matters

Now that I carry the tales behind my 100 year old cheekbones

and my cheap heart you repeatedly bought with

sincere laughs

yet made strong with your explosive hustle

Matter Matters

When the matter is your Dad in the wind.

For Kenny, transition 2/20/09

A Poet’s Handbook by Haki Madhubuti

nikkiholdingbookI have been asked so often various questions on how a poet is supposed to act, where they are supposed to perform, who they are supposed to support… I answer the question and conclude with, “this is my perspective.”  I try to remember my conversations and dialogue with various artists and crowds at educational institutions to be better prepared for these “life of a poet questions”. Recently as I was browsing the shelves of the poetry section of a used book store…

“Run Toward Fear: Poems and a Poet’s Handbook” by Haki Madhubuti

An elder, award winning poet, essayist, educator, founder & publisher of Third World Press and founder of the Gwendolyn Brooks Center at Chicago State.  I suppose he too became bombarded with questions from our generation on this art form now once again prominently (cause this ain’t new people!) in the forefront called poetry and wrote words of refreshing encouragement and guidance.

Pick the book up!  Writers and performers PERIOD not just poets! I have to share a few things until you get to the bookstore!

____________________________________________________

“You may not be able to earn a living exclusively as a poet or writer, but if you persist, work hard and nuture your talent; it is almost guaranteed that you will earn a life.  To choose to be a “poet” as a professional endeavor is not very high on the preferred or most lucrative career path in our nation, therefore as a poet, you must adhere to a few standard and not so standard rules.”

ONE Learn to run toward fear. Understand that-even with the emergence of performance poetry and poetry slams and the increasing number of individuals who profess to be poets–few people actually read poetry.  Understand that although smallminded individuals rule the world, it is always right to question, challenge and hold them accountable for their actions.

TWO Think about, read, and study more poetry than you write.

THREE Repeat number two.

FOUR Minimize the praise given to your poetry from parents, friends, lovers, siblings, spouses, running buddies, cheerleading squads, creditors and former lovers.

TEN Write your truth and you will seldom have writer’s block.

ELEVEN Most people think that they can write poetry. Many of them are right and need encouragement.

THIRTY-NINE Poets must be acutely aware of “fame” which is like a flame in the brain and will cut serious writing potential by 85% and turn most of the poets it consumes into game show participants and other cultural embarrassments.

In total he offers his golden wisdom in 40 rules.  I am positive this book will help any writer/poet in their endeavors.  I know I will use it as a resource for my performances/lectures!

just passin’ some water along for the ’forever thirsty’!

speak on love,

Together Again

Her conversations wrapped around hope like a Kentucky porch

dreams drenched in newly released fiction

she pinned her children’s dew to her shoulder pads to stand tall

yet

convinced her eyes to swallow intuition.

She simmered her saucy sway to disappear in his abandonment

But the thunder crashed her calm

and streaked her breath wild and array like cheap paint.

She prayed she hadn’t just birthed her seventh child for the third time

as dubious matter surrounded her conversations with God

and gasps soiled her pillows.

those trees are/ours

We have to take back the trees.

Arouse the hyenas to distract the thunder so we can scratch our backs on the blades of grass.

Rub baby powder on the chest of slumber so they can dream pure.  Denounce titles and all this other foolery you have adopted to be our family structure. 

That silence is not mine!  I am the threatening crashes of waves you belittled to sand. Because… because I believed them too.  I bought the lemonade recipes and choreographed a dance to sour times.  Framed my “S” shirt for company to count the stripes I’ve endured and marvel at brown brave.  Outside of ourselves we have once again been led to puppetry.  And I hate you too.

This is not us.  There is no book.  Only 81 of those songs are ours.  Come unprepared with bread so we can dip away the excess.  It is me.  Re-member…

Listen to him no more.  Let her voice be of distant space.  We have to take back the trees, we have to take back the trees.