Last night, about an hour after I'd been on stage as Lou Ice, my grandmother passed away. (It was expected, she'd been in and out of hospital forever.) She often said how she couldn't understand how I had the courage to perform poetry or do talks in front of a big crowd. She always pointed out how shy I was when I was little. As if she couldn't understand how I'd changed. I'm still shy, but that shyness exists off stage, not on stage. I'm more nervous after a gig then before - because that's when the judgment starts.
I don't know why I do it. I'm not talking about performing poetry or being on stage in general. I'm talking about poetry slams like yesterday's Hammer & Tongue at Komedia. Every time I do it I tell myself "never again." It's such a pathetic thing, a bit like Eurovision Song Contest where the participants get judged. But when it comes to slams it's not the love lyrics that win - you have to be political to touch the heart of the judges ...
Yesterday I did an old poem called Grace - about a midwife predicting a harsh future for a baby. One team of judges only gave me 4,9 while another gave me 7,9. It's not very often that I get high scores, but the other poets always have good things to say about me. Like I reminded someone of Patti Smith! That's a compliment and a half. So maybe that's why I keep coming back. It's not the points, it's the poetry and the poets.
And the winner? Yes, he (Elan) deserved it, doing a poem about the fashion business, mentioning child labour and all that. I also enjoyed the guest poets Ross Sutherland and Byron Vincent. The hosts Mike Parker and Rosy Carrick were charming as usual!
And here's a candle burning for my grandma.