Patrick Rosal is the devil! but that's another story...
We got to Albuquerque for the National Poetry Slam on Tuesday. Hotel Blue is a small motelish like joint (complete with outdoor balcony/hallways) with a very decent pool. The poets pretty much filled it up which is a good thing. If you're hotel management you don't really want to have to worry about the sensibility of other guests when you have poets in your hotel.
The opening reception at the Hispanic Cultural Center featured free tequila, beer, and a DJ spinning old R&B and late 80s early 90s hip-hop. In other words, it was off the hook. It promised good things for the coming tournament and immediately got rid of the memory of last year's debacle of a nationals in St. Louis, a debacle of a city. Once we got back to the hotel, i proceeded to break my first hotel rule. The pool area was officially closed at 10:30pm, but i thought that midnight was as good a time as ever for a swim - so what if i'm wearing cargo shorts. the security guard was non-plussed.
On wednesday, we had our first bout. We came up against Milwaukee, France, host city Albuquerque and Oneonta. Rachel McKibbens and I opened up with a duet version of my poem "the future of America in the belly of the beast - the millenium edition". We scored a 27.3 and held a lead of .1 over Oneonta and .3 over Albuquerque going into the 2nd round. In our second round, Jive Poetic scored a 27.2 which was trumped by albuquerque's 28.2. Oneonta fell off the pace. In the third round, we sent up Tai Freedom Ford. She got a time penalty... still managed a 28.4, which was the high score of the night, and we won the bout by 2 points as albuquerque couldn't follow it.
Moment of the evening: Karen Finneyfrock and i are sitting together in the park acorss the street at midnight and the automatis sprinklers come on and drench us.
On Thursday, we came up against NYC - Urbana, Washington-DC, Oklahoma and Central Jersey; the bout everybody wanted to see, the bout of death. We lead off with Carlos Andres Gomez, who scores a 29.7. We take a lead of 1.3 over our closest competitor (i think urbana or DC) into the second round where Jive Poetic and I did our duet. We scored 29.6 and therefore survived both Urbana's and DC's guns that they tried to take us down with. We went into the third round with a 1.2 point lead whereupon Rachel scored a perfect 30 and it was al over. In the end the bout of death was a cakewalk, and we hadn't yet had to stray from Rachel's pre tournament strategy. We were going into the semis with all the poems we wanted to have in our pockets to use.
Moment of the evening: Naked foot race in the street in front the hotel; from up the block into the hotel lobby - no, i was not involved.
On Friday, we find ourselves in the semi-finals up against host city, Albuquerque (again), Hawaii, DelRay Beach and Oakland. Before the bout there is already controversy as the bout is moved from the 1000 seat theater in which it was already scheduled to a 300 seat theater in the Hispanic Cultural Center. No-one else's supporters can get into the theater but Albuquerque's. There are literally 12 people in the audience who were not there to root for Albu. In the first round i score 29 and Albu scores a 29.6. The other teams don't really hold the pace and in the second and third rounds Albuquerque and us flip-flop scores of 29.8 and 29.6, so the first round margin holds up and we lose. Albuquerque goes to the finals and wins the whole tournament. There is a little bit of a bitter taste in our mouths that we get rid of quickly with whisky and vodka and the like and because we're really really really pleased with our performances. We end the tournament ranked fifth of the 75 teams and take home our annual un-official title of best poetry in the tournament.
Moment of the evening: Eventually i proclaim emperorship over the pool with a lamp shade on my head this way... "Listen up!! You are my minions!! I am hereby emperor of this pool!! You must now bow down to meeeeee!!!..." Everyone seemed to think it was really funny. I was just stating fact as far as i was concerned.
Tomorrow, i head for Chicago. A bunch of high school friends are getting together for Chicago carnival and an exhibition soccer game. This will be my first competitive match in about 6 years. Pray for me.