Tag Archives: spoken word

the DC Youth Slam Team’s 2014 SEMI-FINALS SLAM

is on sunday, january 26th at 4pm at the smithsonian’s national portrait gallery in downtown, dc. it’s free and open to the public, so bring the whole crew to see dc’s finest young poets performing their original spoken word poetry.

semi-finals poster here

SEMI-FINALS2014PDF

the fb event is here https://www.facebook.com/events/631308690245016/

and you should be there. the dc youth slam team is absolutely amazing.

here is a video of one of the teenage poets performing at a rally on the national mall in front of the capitol. his name is Malachi and i think he is one of the poets who will be performing at the semi-finals on the 26th.

 

Electric Sunshine

Names? She goes by many
Do not try to label her
She gets out of all your boxes

Smiling at your uneasiness
Inviting you to laugh at yourself
She won’t do it alone, so you go with her
Beautiful five foot something, dark curly hair, 
She can make prison walls show their dimples

Stretching ocean waves flat across the face, a rocky shore
She’ll silence its mighty roar

With eyelids like butterfly wings
 Two flutters and tidal waves wash away nations worlds away
Her stare lowers sea levels around the earth
Boiling beaches without uttering a single word
Phony suckers evaporate in her presence, and
Sunflowers bend backwards following her as she walks by my building
Five foot something, beautiful brown hair
Daughter of hippies
Descendant of hustling immigrants
Mother of creation, she
            Paints
                A future
Outside the lines, confident strokes
She’s not worried about finding a man
As much as a reason
To keep the struggle in her back pocket
We all know what the guys are looking at
No need to spell it out on her bottom
The movement is in her genes,
Attractive activism swings from generation to generation
Marching through her blood like city streets
Up to the steps of her capital buildings
Where everyone can see
Where she gets it from,
Mother taught her how to raise children, not her own
For hours each day, she
Studies
    Herself
A flexible temple, her body
Stretches almost as much as her mind
Both needing to shake it off, sometimes
The daily grind, can be difficult
But she is coffee
Already made, organic, smooth and strong
Do not fear her stubborn stains she only spills on those who don’t know how to hold themselves

Names? She goes by many
Do not try to label her
She gets out of all your boxes

Call her sunshine, her spirit touches you through intermediaries like the moon when she’s not around,
Many have tried, but no man can walk on her
Ground-ed like a lightening rod
She is not easily shocked
    Electric sunshine butterfly woman
Sister transforms awkward to awesome when she enters the room
She turns strangers to family with her loving cocoon 

Weaving a little more of what this world needs into the corners of every social fabric
Wearing love as an old tee shirt

Worry as a prom dress
Life in a necklace
Joy in her earrings
And justice as brass knuckles
She is not an easy woman, not your girly girl
Do not try to label her
She gets out of all your boxes
Running, she
Chases dreams back to where they came from and forces them to grow up
Developing old realities from young fantasies
She stays in the darkroom
Raising children, not her own
Out of the city chemicals 
With increasing contrast
Between their present situation and their past
    Always looking better

    She, is light

All colors together, as one
Running faster than anything or anyone
Across the room
To give you a hug.
Video

new poem – The Living Truth

I read this poem at the Busboys and Poets 5th & K Wednesday night open mic hosted by my man G. Yamazawa. My friend and teacher-of-the-year Clint Smith was the featured artist that night, and none other than Danny Glover read as the spotlight feature. Yes, that’s Danny Glover in the background listening to my poem. He said he liked it. I hope you like it too. I think it still needs some edits, and I definitely need to learn how to perform it better. Let me know what you think.

Aside

braided and baked

braided and baked like challah
my identity is constantly turning and being read
like torah
different interpretations of the same living thing
and idea an artifact we can study
it is my breath on the bar’chu
calling me up to be
my tongue on tekiah waking up those who sleep
i speak
my purpose
i am
my words my deeds my dreams and my bloodline
swimming in ashkenazi rivers looking for a solid home
drowning in survivor’s guilt and
windsurfing in a poem
i am
only the food i eat literally but
there is much more inside me spiritually
i am
divided
between ancient and fresh
right and left
spirit and flesh
hashem and nefesh
between hip and hop
there is a hyphen
a chai fitting between jewish and white
between erev and night
between misappropriation and my natural right
i lay flat
putting my body on the line like my ancestors did
when it’s time to stand for justice
time to sit-in and protest for fairness
time to speak up and lay down our arms for peace
my identity guides and reminds me that
i cannot cease until all are free
for we were once slaves
now comfy and prosperous in our post-post-modern age
our obligation remains
burning like the eternal flames in our temples
but many in our diasporic tribe bring us terrible shame
it’s simple
know mercy
do justice
be not pharaoh
be not goliath
do not create ghettos
tear down walls
love your neighbors
love!
because we are a people
braided and baking together
constantly turning being read and reinterpreting ourselves
and struggling to not forget where we’re from
struggling ever so hard to tikun olam
our ability to heal the world does not come from violence
it is not born in security threat analysis or
border wall military check points
check again
check your holy books your history and your heart
check yourself
my friend my sister my brother
my identity
our identity
is deeper than skin
so check the weather you will see a change blowing in the wind
on the backs of a diverse new generation
bringing together the right and the left
the spirit and the flesh
hashem and nefesh
ancient and fresh
to build the bridges we need
to save our identity

My Angle on Pimpin’

Check out this hot new video of my poem Pimpin’ on Park Triangle’s new series The Angle.

Jonathan B. Tucker: Pimpin’ from Park Triangle Productions on Vimeo.

Aside

i know you wanna go coz all day you gotta wait gotta wait  for the train and then wait at the gate wait for the show and wait to have fun and then wait until you can go wait for … Continue reading