Went to Open Mic Poetry on Monday with a couple friends. I signed up fully anticipating to giggle like the little jackass I am at others' too-public-to-be-real and saccharine emotions. What ended up happening was way cooler (and more deserving of my $3). My mind was blown by a 32 year-old, single dad covered in tattoos and an obese woman with pigtails that I believed to be homeless and insane until she opened her mouth. There was a surprising number of people willing to get up and recite original works, and nothing was awful. One guy did wax on about "horniness" for a good three minutes, but the whole audience was laughing out loud, and even he was grinning at his own stupidity. However, the two poets mentioned above were amazing.
The guy was the MC of the event (Derrick Weston Brown), and his opening poem wiped the Arlington wise ass smile off my face. He recited from memory and his imagery was both beautiful and simple. He spoke slowly, so we'd understand, but with his eyes closed. It was the most honest I think someone can be expected to be under such circumstances. He wasn't doing it for show, he was just a poet. It was so cool to watch an artist like that work. This guy has an MFA in Creative Writing.
The woman was even better. Her name is It's Real Light and she sings her poetry. She grabbed my heart and hung onto it after singing the first couple of lines and then realizing the key she picked was too high. Rather than get flustered, she stopped, grinned, and said, "Man, I gotta pick a lower key! I'm startin' over!!!" and promptly did just that. Her presence was wonderful, she didn't use the mic and bounded cheerfully into the audience to sing for specific people. Generally that shit is scary as hell, but she wasn't aggressive and pulled it off so gracefully. She's such a joyful performer, and her subject matter was life, but infused with the humor, sadness, and joy that life really is. Plus her voice was badass without being trained and prim. And she looks like a nut job. Seriously insane- tiny brightly colored t-shirt with tiny jeans, braids pulled into giant pigtails over her ears. And she made me tear up!
I love what you can experience if you let people surprise you!! I'm starting to believe that not having expectations and letting life happen to you is the most fun and most rewarding thing you can do for yourself.
Tonight I waited on a couple of dudes who essentially irritated me the whole night. I wasn't making great money, it was rainy, I had gotten lost in the suburbs earlier, and they made strange requests and spoke with a drawl (when will I learn not to judge that...seriously....). At one point they grabbed me and asked me what I would do if someone just handed me $3 million with no strings attached. I was about to say something sassy and walk away, but then I actually considered the question. Free money is a pretty fun game for someone who has precious little. One guy was eager for me not to "do something boring with it" and the other was pushing for me to do just the opposite. I thought for about 4 seconds and told them I'd pack a suitcase with clothes I love to wear and then go to the airport and buy the first ticket to a place I'd like to check out. Once I had had my fill of that place, I'd go to the airport and continue with that game until I ran out of money. I didn't mention that I would buy my parents something extravagant, and definitely just dive right into that dress I've been eyeing at Anthropologie. They both laughed and while the first guy agreed and was delighted I would be so foolish with free money, the other guy was appalled and tried to sway me into saving it. No way, dude. They ended up tipping me almost 50%.