Another of my early connections to poetry was reading, listening, and watching Saul Williams. He was another new kind of poetry to me – he was spoken word. My creative writing teacher shared his work, encouraged us to see him in the movie Slam (she couldn’t show it because it was public high school), and highly encouraged us to perform ourselves, our words. Reading poetry and thinking about it is great. But there is so much power in saying things aloud. All of a sudden the rhythm you gave your words sweeps others into your story. Words aloud show emotion, connect crowds, and offer pause.
I’ve always disliked performing, although ironically, I’ve had very public-engaging jobs speaking directly to people, which I love. I definitely credit my teacher and inspiring poets like Saul Williams who pushed us to stand up, speak up, to craft our voices.
I cannot speak to all of Saul’s work, as I’ve fallen behind of reading and listening to all of it. But all that I’ve seen, heard, and heard in my head (the beauty of listening to poets is being able to read the poem aloud in your head – in their voice), it’s a beautiful blur of complicated clashes of life. It’s so fast – yet you hear everything. His work is smart, rhythmic, direct and beyond what you thought. I used to drive around with his CDs in my car for inspiration to write (academic) papers. I used to practice his poems to embrace confidence before I spoke my own.
I will never write like Saul Williams, but his style has encouraged me in its own way. Artists like him are even more inspiring when they give back – and I know that he has. Back in high school, I actually saw him read and speak (not the performances you see currently) twice at small colleges. I remember listening to him speak – he was standing just a few people in front of me on a stage where kids could literally reach out and grab his shoe. He encouraged everyone to keep writing – we were young, inspired, awe-struck that someone so talented took the time to show up, perform, and be real with answering questions about the life of a poet. So by all means, please check out this talented artist in his many forms.
As promised, my weekly poem:
“my day off”
today, my day was consumed by food.
peanuts pulsed into butter
almonds soaked into milk
chia seeds left to expand
strawberries were thawed
coconut flakes tossed everywhere
beans were warmed
cheese was reintroduced
arugula whined and was added in
zucchini voraciously spiralized itself
carrots grated and tucked themselves into muffin mixture
zucchini got jealous and grated more of itself, too
stuffing itself into salmon, dessert, and tomorrow’s salad
after all this, an instagram collage was posted
perfecting the image of clean eating into four beautifully designed images
each meal intricate plus a smoothie
to soothe me – three sinks worth of dishes plus the load I just turned on
a collection of tupperware to store, hunting lids like matching socks after laundry
–three always escape their half
a sticky note writes itself reminding me what to eat for the week
in case i forget my plan and order pizza instead.