Please excuse the massive whites of my eyes...
This is the face of a person (well, me) both surprised and delighted by the city of Providence. Tonight's surprise and delight is brought to you by the Providence Poetry Slam, and really just AS 220 in general. Yes, I finally made it out there. And though parking was a nightmare (Wendeline and I finally found a spot about a block from the venue that was just barely not in front of a fire hydrant), the evening proved to be exactly what I needed to lift my spirits after getting knocked around by the ass-backwards geography of Boston on my way home from the Cantab last night.
Though I am not the most outgoing person in the world, I felt so welcomed by the community there and had a wonderful time watching the open mic of poets and acoustic music (this was a special open mic they do every month where poets and musician must peacefully coexist, and it was so beautiful to see communities meeting and supporting each other and blah blah blah warm fuzzy things in my heart right now). Okay. I'm going to try not to write so much in parentheticals. There is just so much to say, I feel like this entry should have footnotes or something. I am bursting with joy! You are rolling your eyes at this, but I can't see you! So I will continue to burst with joy! And use exclamation points! Frequently! And often without proper cause! Because - and brace yourselves for this one, cos it's a doozy - I am now in the running for the final slot on the Providence slam team. Say WHAT?! Yes, you read correctly!
The story goes something like this: upon arriving (after the long and serious parking debacle), I went inside to sign up for the open mic. I saw Megan, who I had met on Tuesday at Ryk's open mic, and we said hello. She said that there was only one slot left on the open, but that I should slam in spite of it being my first night. I figured I had nothing to lose, so I signed up for the slam. I then went outside to smoke and felt very awkward, called Sam, he talked me down a little bit, and then it was time for festivities. The various musical acts were delightful, and the poetry was funny and of a flavor I can't attribute to any other venue. Then Aaron (who I had seen at CUPSI as a member of the Wash U team I think) and Michelle, an amazing girl from their youth slam team, did a group piece about being of mixed race that pretty much kicked my ass. Break time, and I went out to smoke, milled around still feeling slightly out of place but not caring cos I was pretty much wanting to kill myself over the fact that I had drawn a 1 for the ensuing slam. I did "Phonecall to the North End", "Open Letter to Dov Charney", and "Crystal Methadone", all of which scored really well considering we were only doing a four person slam and I drew the 1, and I ended out the night with an 81.2 cumulatively, which wasn't too shabby. It put me in third place, which was alright, because I had a really awesome time and people were coming up to me telling me how great they thought I was and I got to tell everyone else how great I thought they were and really mean it, and then...Aaron and Richard (another CUPSI 09 vet), who had taken the one and the two in the slam which meant they went on to the Grand Slam in two weeks to decide the final team member both told me they were leaving town for the summer and had to drop out. WHICH MEANS that I get to compete for that final slot.
And in that euphoria, I went outside to smoke another cigarette and ponder my existence. Which turned into me talking to Mag, another of the youth slam kids who is also wonderful. We exchanged numbers and made tentative plans to hang out soon, and once the hubbub died down, I was left sitting at a sidewalk table with Daniel, one of the musicians from the earlier open mic. I'm pretty positive we talked for two hours about all manner of things, which felt amazing, because I don't feel like I've had any kind of serious conversation (barring car rides with Kait and the occasional in depth phone conversation every few days) with anyone since moving here. We also exchanged numbers, and I gave him my chapbook. He told me he would show me the city and I could read him more poems. There was also a drunk man who we talked about Henry Rollins with as I was getting ready to go to my car. A more complete night has not been had by me in who knows how long.
Driving home, Sophia and I talked on the phone about how life-changing Song of Solomon was for us and how good this city has been to my psyche thus far. And it really has. I don't know if it would have been possible anywhere else for me to have days like today. I think I want to live here after I graduate. No, I'm almost positive. The Cantab is so close, and everything is just the right scale and Kaitlin is here and wow I love it so so so much. I feel so inarticulate. All I want to do is hold down the exclamation key forever!!!!!!!!!!! But I'll spare you all. I promise to provide news of developments in the life and times of me as it becomes available.