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Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Queen Godis, Balls and the Top Secret Headquarters

My finger was throbbing by the time I got to the Blue Room. The last time I chased the Poet Laureate of Lobster Land across the secret bridge (it hangs below, I believe I-670's flyover across the Kansas River), I hit a pothole I hadn't seen and thought that was why my broken and pinned bird-finger felt like a special effect from an 80s horror movie.

This time, I trained the super powerful headlight effectively and managed to avoid the worst knocks. And my finger felt just as awful, I had to un-splint and unwrap it in the club to let it twitch and throb freely.

I knew Corinna was competing in the poetry slam, and I knew her idol, Queen Godis, was performing, but I assumed this meant competition followed by headlining act.

Turns out, after only two 'sacrificial poets,' Queen Godis took the stage and proceeded to give a clinic in charisma. She brings the whole package, rhythm, melody, wit, charm, insight and surprising turns of phrase.

After the whole room was eating out of her hand for somewhere around an hour (I think), then the open mic began, with the Queen sitting in the audience, her CDs for sale on the table.

I knew Corinna was doing a new piece, knew it was one she was still polishing her delivery on. I also knew she has lots of poems she's had down for awhile, and I wondered if she'd step up to the mic and play it safe.

The overall quality of the artists on hand was high enough to be intimidating; just putting your name on that list and not making up an excuse to leave before you get called to the stage takes nerve. And as she got up to the mic and announced the title, the title of the new poem, I noticed how Queen Godis was maybe fifteen feet from her and, along with a Blue Room fuller than I've seen it outside of shows like Pat Martino, was watching and listening intently.

And I thought, Wow, that's ballsy.

I've had my own artistic aspirations, jazz guitar for example, and if, say, Steve Cardenas or Neal Alger had just gotten through dazzling a room full mostly of aspiring jazz guitarists, on my best day I don't want to get up on that stage, especially not if competition is declared or implied in the event.

She did great, had the one glitch, but handled the glitch with humor and poise. And I could see in the faces of the other poets listening that they chuckled with her because they've been there, too. Will be again, no doubt. I also realized that while the open mic might have been a 'contest' they were rooting for her to make the save, which of course she did.

On the way home she showed me something that had been in one of the poems on her CD, something I'd wondered about at the time. The Tactical Design Research Bureau of the Worldwide Ultraglobal International Top Secret Superheadquarters. I don't make this shit up, it's as real as that bridge under the Interstate flyover where I saw a train shooting off to my right and the fog settling on the river to my left as we secretly rode back into KCK.


Anonymous said...

This sort of poetry competition is really cool. I went to a few when I first moved to Phoenix. I even read some old poems of mine (college era), although mine were nowhere near as theatrical as the really good poets.

I like your lady's website -- I went and visited the other day. I'll have to watch some of the video you shot.

Maybe there's a poem inside of you, Lobster?

Chixulub said...

I don't know if I have the capacity for compression it takes to do poetry. I unpack and digress ordering a pizza.