POETIC JUSTICE IX: PRIDE
By Tony E. Boyd
As I sat in Club Lush watching people slowly amble in for the poetry slam, I am struck with a sense of melancholy. Poetic Justice is an important for being a creative outlet for angst, anxiety, depression, expression, joy, beauty, and so much more. I am a little disappointed at the meager attendance numbers. I know you are out there, creatives. I know there are feelings in your heart dying to be expressed. Well, at least in my opinion.
The night starts off with our fearless leader, Leora Jackson, doing the open. She then switches to her F.L. Jones persona to deliver a reading of Langston Hughes’ “I Too Am America” followed by another of his other famous works “Mother To Son”. Next up, Leora introduces the host, Lady Jazmynne. She is a local singer, performer, poetess, and activist. You can learn more about her at www.ladyjazmynne.com. Lady Jazmynne got things started by discussing the meaning of Umoja. (If you don’t know, now would be a good time to look it up. It will stick with you better than if I just tell you.) Afterwards, she performed an original work about current events including the devastating massacre that occurred in an Orlando nightclub and the scourge of racism.
The meat of the show begins. Coming to the stage are brave souls willing to grace the stage and share their souls with us. First up is Jared Carter with an original piece, untitled as usual (I think it’s a style decision maybe?). He weaves a tale of the ills of police brutality, profiling and racism. He is followed to the stage by a new to me poetess going by the stage name of “Ms. Yolanda”. She weaved a poignant story of infidelity and its downfall. It also serves as a lesson to current and would-be “side chicks”.
Next up, we were graced by a musician/singer who shared with us two original songs. The first was a little ditty called “Sinners” about a woman, a wife arrest for not paying child support even though she was too sick to work. It was a passionate rendition, a bit angry if you asked me. You could tell it was a very personal piece to him. The second song, “Never Found: Lisa’s Song” was a sad ode to a young lady who was lost and never found. As a parting shot, he put in a plug for his own upcoming open mic night.
Leora “F.L. Jones” Jackson returns to the stage to regale us with an original piece entitled “The Blacks Will Rise”. With this piece, she expressed her sadness in the travails of Black people and pointed out the things that need to change. Not being done yet, she pulled “Why Can’t We Say Her Name” out of her bag of tricks. She engaged the audience, imploring them to say their names. Whose names you ask? She was talking about Black women who were murdered unnecessarily by police. She wanted to bring their plight to light. To drive the point home even further, she read aloud the lyrics to Michael Jackson’s “They Don’t Care About Us”. The title itself pretty much says it all.
More musical entertainment came up next as Lady Jazmynne sang an original song written by her husband called “Coping With Life”. We all are trying to cope with something, mental, physical or emotional. She was followed onstage by Stacey “L.I.F.E.” Harper. She performed her original piece called “God Put A Rainbow In The Clouds” which was filled with life advice. Stacey works as a life coach and can be reached through her website, www.speakinglife.info.
Washaka Matthews, Lady Jazmynne’s husband, stepped up next to deliver his own original piece entitled “Awaken Within”. It was a very ethereal piece that spoke of the absurdity of life, of holding on too tight to conventions, separations and inane rules that we abide by that hinder our happiness. His point, to me, was that life is too short to let those things keep you from your happiness.
Things tooled along. Jared Carter read us another of his “Untitleds” about life’s trial and tribulations. Lady Jazmynne sang a tribute to Michael Jackson. We had a newcomer going by the name of Sweet McCoy who read a couple of original pieces. The first piece she read was called “Jesus Wept”. The second was called “Relationships” about ones that go bad. Ms. Yolanda returned to the stage to read her “When I Was Five, Was I Alive”. It was a tragic , heart rending poem about child molestation. F.L. Jones returned with her original work “Oh Valentine” about one woman’s abuse, driven to murder, falling into depression and madness. Jared shared another “Untitled” about the misunderstood. Bringing up the rear, Clay Cole returned to the stage to sing “Out of Hand”, an original song about being miserable and in denial about your life.
The night actually turned out more lively than it began. Ask anybody who performed, I believe they will tell you it was a positive experience, therapeutic even. Poetic Justice Open Mic has a theme for performers to draw from but open expression is the name of the game. If you have something to share that does not fit the theme, it’s not a deal breaker. Poetic Justice IX was a continuation of all the others, a safe haven for open expression and acceptance.