Def Poetry

I love def poetry and I’m so excited to hear it and learn about it in class. I watched the videos that Dr. Scanlon posted on the blog and my favorite was the one by Gina Loring, Somewhere There is a Poem. It is so cool how she intertwined history and touched on major historic events and people and it all flowed so well when she said it. I’m always amazed by how def poets speak their poems so well and so fluidly. My favorite part, well I have two. The first was when she sang the beginning of Amazing Grace-incorporating different spoken art styles into the reading is one of my favorite things and it really added to the poem, it gave it even more of a musical flare. I also loved how she used repetition to transition from one subject to the next and how it made her sound as if she was rapping. The poem flowed so so well and I loved her voice as she recited, the intonation and changing speed with which she spoke was beautiful. I found the written poem online and pasted the lyrics here because I loved them so much 🙂  This was so great!

Somewhere there is a poem
And I want to write this poem
I want to speak this poem
I want to feel this poem
I want to experience this poem
Cradle it in my arms
Feed it a good meal
And send it on its merry way

I want to sing this poem
“Amazing grace, how sweet the sound”
Somewhere there is a poem screaming
Get up, stand up
Stand up for your rights
Human beings, human beings
Beings being so
Caught up in the tangible material surface
Or that they never actually feel
Their touch is liquid and grazes right through
But misses the core
This poem whispers to me
And rocks me to sleep
And tells me stories of indigenous people
Diseased and tricked and slaughtered
And made to be extinct
But this ain’t no pterodactyl
Or tyrannosaurus rex blood flowing through my veins

I am a Creek American Indian
I exist
I am an African
I am an old Jewish woman muttering prayers in Yiddish
As my name is replaced with a number on my arm
I am a little Japanese girl
Staring in horror
As my village is bombed and burnt to the ground
I was born in India, but not to the right caste
So regardless of what I accomplish
I will always be a peasant
I died in Mexico three feet from the border
Gunned down by evil troops
Who shoot for a living
Who sacrifice their souls for
The man-made boundaries of these Americas
Somewhere, there is a poem somewhere
Dozing in subway stations
And flying high on a 405
And taking the L to Brooklyn
The 15 to Vegas
And the Marter through Atlanta
And cruising down a dark street in Oakland is a poem

This poem comes from somewhere deep
Somewhere where the angels sleep
Where pixies dance and mermaids weep
Where hymns are hummed
So God will keep us all in mind on Judgment Day
This poem warns, but does not sway
For what you do is up to you
Where you go and who you know
If you close up, or if you grow

Somewhere there is a poem about the insanity
Of war, Hiroshima, Hiroshima
Hero, hero, war hero
Hero-, hero-, heroin is
Crack cocaine is
The systematic genocide of my people
Brown skin behind bars
Locked up behind bars
Trapped behind bars
And slaves behind bars
Kept in lines behind bars
Counted behind bars
Bars, there are more bars
Selling alcohol on a single reservation in Oklahoma
Than in all of Ventura county, county
Counting me in ‘cause I’m down for the revolution
Which may not be televised
And may not get radio play
But it will be told through poetry
‘Cause somewhere there is a poem

This poem speaks to me and draws me in
Like an amusement park to a kid
I want to freak this poem and dream this poem
And share it with y’all
Hold up, shhhhh
I just did

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2 Responses to “Def Poetry”

  1. Arrrbuckles says:

    I loved this one (although I felt it was a bit bottom-heavy)! Thanks for printing the words, too. 🙂
    Does anyone have an issue with her taking on the identity of “oppressed” or “minority”-status people earlier on in the poem– does anyone think this takes away from the INTEGRITY of the piece? I personally do not think it does, but I struggled a little when she “cast” herself as “an old Jewish woman muttering prayers in Yiddish”…
    …reminded me of “Hour of the Furnaces,” a poet giving life to a story that is not necessarily hers to resuscitate.

  2. TSElliott says:

    This is really beautiful! Thanks for the written version as well, I feel it translates well on page compared to performance…although I do miss the sound of her singing 😉