Congratulations to us! (The poets who did NOT place.)
I chose the red pill. At the end of this blog post, I hope you do to.
I don’t know what the night before Poetry Slam is like for you, but for me, it feels like the hours before a hurricane. You know how everything is still and quiet and there’s nothing to do but wait?
I am a modern-day Noah, tucked away in the ark of myself, waiting for the flood to come.
It’s a fist fight between dread and excitement. It’s the day before a big exam in a subject you love. It’s the Marvel fan waiting for Infinity War but also wishing it wouldn’t come out, ever.
The waiting is the longest part because when it finally comes you’re suddenly backstage, then on stage, then off stage, then heading home and then it’s the morning after.
Now this is the crucial moment. If you were not among the top three, then when you woke up and checked your wallet, at first glance it did not look any fuller than before. If you entered the slam thinking only of the monetary prize and title, then you will not take a second glance.
Open your wallet and look again. Because when you do, you’ll see that:
Performing is not just about the change you make but the change you make.
Your wallet is full of the faces of all the people whose perspectives you challenged; the people you made laugh or cry or say amen. Just because you didn’t make a profit doesn’t mean you didn’t make a prophet (someone who can see a better future because of you).
A pocket full of loose change does not mean you lost. It simply means that what you gained doesn’t have a dollar sign in front of it. Whether you placed or not, you ought to be congratulated.
Being a finalist in the First Citizens National Poetry Slam (FCNPS) is a massive opportunity to share your message in a sold out NAPA auditorium. Hundreds of eyes, ears and hearts are focused on you for three whole minutes.
The FCNPS is a watering can, sun and good soil which means it is difficult not to grow when you stand on its stage.
While it is a magnificent showcase of local talent, it is not the be all and end all of Spoken Word Poetry in Trinidad and Tobago. Do not lose heart. In the next 365 days how will use your gift?
When it comes to the results, some people will be dissatisfied. After all, there can only be one champion and every poet goes in hoping to cop the title. So what do you do when it’s not you? Technically, the possibilities are endless, but it all comes down to a red and blue pill (both hard to swallow).
We’re in the Matrix: you are Neo and I’m Morpheus so I say,
“You take the blue pill and use your energy to be bitter. Or, you take the red pill and use your energy to be better.”
Which will you choose?
Performance Photo by Marlon James
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