At the 2017 July monthly Enough Said Poetry Slam in Wollongong, I finally and triumphantly ticked something off my hypothetical bucket list: I performed an original poem at a poetry slam!
Please excuse the exclamation mark, I’m not often one for grammatical expressions of enthusiasm. However, given the years it has taken me to finally write a poem I’m pleased with and find the inner stones to get up behind the open mic, I couldn’t be prouder of myself.
Enough Said Poetry Slam has been running for five years now, and it was on their fifth birthday event that I chose to share my poetry. I was nervous beyond belief, and although I had the poem memorised, my mind was so rattled that I knew some bits would fall out, so I wrote it down and read from the page. I stopped looking at the pages about a quarter of the way in, as I gained confidence and passion in my words.
The poem itself is vulnerable, enraged, and at times humorous, and whilst I performed it I could hear the audience clicking their fingers at the lines I was most proud of, and laughing, ‘awwing’, or murmuring approval. Just as when I read my fiction at Franks Wild Years, it was so gratifying to experience positive reactions to my writing in real time.
When the poem was done, I left the stage to thunderous applause, and I couldn’t contain my squeal of delight when the scores were announced. Ultimately, I came third (I lost points for going over the time limit, no regrets), but I was most honoured by the people who came up to me after the open mic section ended, and told me how much they loved my poem, and appreciated me sharing it with them. It was the best possible reaction I could have received to something personal that I created and shared, and the memory of that first performance will conjure a smile and a warm feeling for years to come.