Spoken Word 101

Welcome students, today’s class is Spoken Word 101.

This is my least favourite part of the class, where I need to pull a definition of my ass,
And definitions vary depending on who you ask,
Cause some say that “Spoken Word” is words that are spoken
But really that doesn’t help us much.
So I think that instead of giving a definition,
I’ll give you my best rendition, but I give no guarantees
If you don’t like what you see you’re not getting back your tuition fees,
But more importantly you’re not getting back your time.
Cause every moment counts,
And in a poetry slam the time is ticking away.
You’re on a clock; you can’t just stop whenever
You only have three minutes and ten seconds to change someone’s life forever
Heck, Madonna had four minutes to save the world.

So some poets pack a powerful punch by bunching up words,
Speaking so quick that it’s almost absurd,
Your mind constantly blown by what you’ve just heard.
Killing two birds with twenty-six stones.

And other poets only use one stone to take down Goliath,
Cause quantity has nothing on quality,
And sometimes that one perfect line is worth slowing down for.

And some poets rage at the horrors that don’t make the front page
Battling our ignorance, speaking truth like a sage
And I salute you warrior poet
Cause we’re in a war, and I’m glad you know it.
Speak up for those who have been silenced
Speak up for the victims of senseless violence
Speak up, speak the truth so loud that this deaf generation will finally hear it.

And some poets summon enough courage to share their stories,
Telling tales of tortured times, turning emotion straight into rhyme,
Sharing a painful past of heartbreak, hurt or heroin
And I salute you, both hero and heroine
Cause you teach me to learn from the arrow in your heart.
Speak up for those who are struck by the same struggle
Speak up for those who would otherwise hit the same pot holes

And some poets see it as their duty to reveal hidden beauty,
Inspiring wonder, inspiring laughter like thunder.
Rather than mourning what’s wrong you celebrate what’s right.
I salute you poetic dreamer,
Continue your biological warfare cause smiles are contagious
Speak up for those who have been trapped by the snare of despair
Speak up for those who have forgotten that this world is beautiful

I could go on about the different types of poetry,
I just told you about three,
Possibilities approach infinity.

Cause Spoken Word has no formulas; you need to formulate your style,
And your style is YOUR style.
Don’t style your stuff after me, cause I’m just one facet of this thing called poetry
And imitation is not the sincerest form of flattery,
It has to be your soul that’s the battery.
Your soul has to be the driving force,
Don’t force your words into my style,
Cause though it may work for a while,
You need to find your own voice.
And once you find your voice you need to speak up, speak out
Let your heart leak out onto the page.
Then feel your heart beat when you step on the stage,
Beating so hard it might break your rib cage.

But then at least your heart will be trapped by one less prison.
Cause ribs aren’t the only cages around our hearts.
We keep them more private than our private parts,
We need to start breaking free from this penitentiary
This solitary confinement that prevents any unity, preventing community

There is a danger in putting your soul on paper,
And it’s tough sharing those words with a stranger,
And yet…it’s a beautiful thing.
And I’d like to say I have an eye for beauty,
And between you and me, poetry is gorgeous.

Class Dismissed!