“Reasons to Slam”–a poem, a slam

This is one of the most important pieces of verse I’ve ever written. Like most of my spoke word pieces, “slams” as they’re sometimes called, this piece was written with one central thought in mind: “When I’m up there on the stage, what am I going to want to say to the folks listening?” This piece was written in ’05 or ’06, and I think it frames the thought and the goal better than any of the others. That you’re reading it means that these little experiments do reach an audience. I hope they do something good when they get there.

God bless all the beautiful people. I’ll talk to you tomorrow.


“Reasons to Slam”


Why do we speak in such—


Why do we speak in this—


Why do we string words together like this,

put them to rhythms, and send them on waves?


Why do we come to these stages?

Why did we come here tonight?

Why do we fill up these pages

with the thoughts and the sights from our lives?


Do we really think folks will listen?

Do we really think someone will care

to hear us speak our conditions

in hopes to better some other then’s there,

or are we just mentally fragile

and fraught with the need to feel

that we’re more than we are,

that our clumsy minds are really quite agile,

that, living in our gutters,

we can dream of the stars?




We do think folks will listen.

We do think someone will care

to hear us speak the condition

and have good effect on

some other then’s there,

but we are a bit mentally fragile and

fraught with the need to feel
that we’re more than we are,

that our clumsy minds,

with words, become agile,

and even in the gutters,

we can have some faith in

our dreams of the stars.


Because words are never just words,

when we string them together

with performance in mind;

they are music with meter and rhythm, and

they can soothe the souls of

beings of like kind.

They remove us from all that is physical

and put us in dimensions

closer to God,

the wave and the ray,

the beauteous and lyrical.

And we realize it’s really

not all that far

from lying there in our gutters

to flitting among the stars.



Oh, why?



Why do we speak in these—


Why do we stand and—


words we’ve committed to memory

from the all of forever life?

Do we really think

we’ve found some answer?

Do we really think

we have a clue?

Do we really think

words can salve the wounds

of a heart

and let some healing get through?

Do we think the beating will—


that beating with which life

can punish us all,

that the mind will find peace and

the soul will find rest,

just because we turned words into song?





Because the soul is born in rhythm and light,

wave and ray,

free from the confines of physical bounds,

we can release ourselves on the musical sounds.

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