Poetry In Session Presents

I try to perform or read my work in front of an audience as often as I can, both for the practice and because its good to share this work after I have written it. Here is a piece titled “Kampala” that I did at Poetry in Session in October, 2014.

 

“Kampala”

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Freestyling: As performed at Kwivuga Finale/Poetry-in-Session

When video killed the radio star

Hip hop took to setting the bar

Pole vaulting it, raising it, resetting it

Rock must be regretting it

Now every genre is on it

If you can’t beat it, get with it

If it’s winning, let it

Rhyme on the radio

Rhyme on the video

Didn’t care which, so long as there was audio

I would always be in the audience

Kweli, Mos Def, common sense

It’s been the same since

Rhyme hooked me in every sense

 

We belonged together like the pips

and Gladys

at nightclubs like hands on hips

like dip and chips

like slaves and whips

oh I’m sorry, i got carried away

but I say what I mean to say, mayer, John

the  mic is always on

I want to rock it all day

no matter what I say

I thought that love was here to stay

So, I let my words go like the runs

Rhyme always had a thing for puns

And verbal foreplay

We started with wordplay, then

Rhyme said sonnet me

I didn’t know what that meant

But when Rhyme said a

Naturally I said b

Rhyme said a

I said b

Cdcd, efef

Both of us gg-ing, couplet

As we were o-ing,

To a standing

ovation, we did it

 

Rhyme was always scheming

To get me in bed

It finally happened

Rhyme was in my head

But also on my bed, spread

While I was journaling, purging

It was clear I was a verse virgin

So rhyme popped my cherry

Then asked if I liked it… very

but it went sour like limes

and too much tequila, no salt

we were on the fault, line

I was out of time

And rhyme was out of me

Prematurely.

Rhyme went commercial, on every station.

In every bedroom of every nation

I walked out, saying rhyme you sold out

I was captain Ahab, rhyme was moby dick

And rhyme if you can hear it

I’m sorry I acted like such a moby prick

But I was feeling sick

You were no longer ill

You started living by the bill

Dying by it

That’s why rappers kill

And die, guess it was all a lie.

 

Then, I met free verse and true to its name,

It set me free

Verse was so cool, so beatnik with a beret to match

I was both frightened and excited, full of questions, like

How will they know you’re a poem if you don’t rhyme?

Do I have to play bongo drums to all my poems?

Will the audience only snap

Because its uncool to clap

I’m sorry I didn’t mean it

I’ve been with rhyme so long, it’s a habit

See what I mean

I swear I’m gonna get clean

Weaned, off time

On beat but off rhyme.

 

Free verse took my hand,

Pulled me close and kissed

My latte lips in a dark café

To the sound of catcalls

as we listened to Jill Scott

It was hot; they could hear us through the walls

 

I spent a long night with free verse

Preparing for a poetry slam

Verse said the slam was preparing for me

That word play was ecstasy

But it was intercepted by the other team

Even the seams of my bed separated

Rent apart by the accusing schemes of rhyme

So this is who you left me for?

A beat up, beatnik, free verse-whore?

To rhyme I said

Baby you’re still a part of me

Damn right! rhyme replied

I gave you a hickey you’ll never hide

 

What are you worth? Asked verse in self defense

Nursery rhymes? You couldn’t battle mother goose

You’re like verbal diarrhea

words on the run, they must be footloose

See I can do what you do, but I put it to better use

There’s nothing in a rhyme

You’re worth a dozen for every dime

And I ain’t got a bill below a Benjamin, but

I’m generous so let’s reach a settlement

I may have sunk to your level of scheming

But I’m called free for a reason

Sky is the limit,

I’m still above your dreaming

 

Verse and rhyme were fighting

Dropping flow, hitting so low, below the belt, biting

Alternating, I couldn’t decide who I was dating

They would have both been ten if I was rating.

 

It started on the page or maybe in my head

But it ended in the bed, a hot pot of freestyle

Lets all take a turn and stir it up

Do it simply because we’re able

It was a threesome, so awesome

they even spanked me with the ladle

also awesome and then some.

I’ll admit it if you ask me

I was promiscuous with poetry

But look, we had a baby poem

and we named it after me

And P.S, I hate to have to hide

But don’t tell poetry I’m seeing prose on the side