By Kat Murchison

I wrote a poem today.
And crumbled it up because I couldn’t look lies in the face.
Or printed on paper, or written with lead,
Or, in the face.
You see, the problem with writing a slam poem,
is that the task requires the writer to possess the ability to look into themselves
and spit out whatever they come across.
I don’t have two brown eyes scoping out the inside of my heart.
And I don’t have the time to spend countless hours in introspection, discovering the world around me, following the woo way.
I have Bronk.

I have been asked to “consider” intertwining intricate and inaccurate ingenuities into my poem.
For example, alliteration.
And humor.
But what if my ability to personify the unknown has gone on vacation?
What if all the similes my brain could possibly conjure up, became extinct like the dinosaurs.
And I know the presence of dinosaurs on planet earth isn’t a prevalent and certainly not current event
But it will have to do.

I envy those who know who they are.
Who allow their bubbling emotions to play in the sandbox of a cerebellum playground.
But I don’t get angry when my antebellum background hits my mixed matched family in the face.
I’d like to ask everyone around me, where are you getting this sentiment from?
What outside force is helping you tell this tale?
But it’s more than just telling it, it’s feeling it, it’s living it, it’s breathing.
I could tell a story, but that doesn’t mean that if you cut me with a question I would bleed the truth.

Maybe it’s an inside force. Maybe that’s my problem.
But it’s not my fault that I can’t rip my hand out,
Shove it through my chest and use my heart as a sock puppet.
Because recently, I’ve become painfully aware of this internal cave,
This internal cave where my emotions camp out whenever they’re afraid of facing my mind.
They don’t go there intentionally, I don’t think.
They just, go…

Maybe true sadness got caught on the line,
When my best friend told me her mother was diagnosed with cancer,
Again.
Maybe heartache clung to my throat when I saw my breathing uncle lying on a casket with wheels.
Maybe compassion fell from my lips when my little sister told me about her elementary crush.
Maybe that’s the reason I can’t tell him how I feel, because I’m terrified I won’t mean it.

I hate having to paint borrowed passion on my words because I don’t know where to find my own.
And I hate being able to say what’s on my mind, but having no idea where these words are coming from. And I hate being afraid to write what comes to my mind because
I’m not sure if my mind is already internally programmed to mess with what I actually want to say.

And I’m worried because if I’m no longer effected by my own life,
There’s no reason for anyone else to be.


Kat Murchison performed this Slam Poem live at WordFest 2011.

The Problem with Writing a Slam Poem
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