Last Thursday I took part in a Stomp Poetry event…what? You don’t know what stomp poetry is?
A stomp poem is a poem read aloud…rather, acted more than said, under three minutes long. In stomp contests, the judges score you in a range between 1.0 and 10.0, generally five points granted for reading, the minimum. If your poem goes over three minutes, 0.5 points are cut per ten seconds.
Now, this particular poetry contest granted prizes. The prizes were iTunes cards: $50 for first place, $25 for second, and $15 for third. This was one of the things that made me interested in the contest more than I was. I already was intrigued because I liked stomp poetry and thought it would be fun to give it a try, the event was free to enter, and I kind of wanted an iTunes card. I selected my poem, typed it up, edited, and left to the location of the event.
I was really nervous. “What if they don’t find it good?” I wondered, “I’d really like to get a good score…not to win, but to prove to myself that I did good.” When all the entrants arrived and volunteer-judges were chosen, the event began. The host read the rules of the contest and gave the name of the first poet: me.
Now, I had read some poems aloud to friends in workshops, but never done stomp poetry for more than my family. My poem was about two minutes long, and the acoustics in the small room increased the sound of the applause. The judges gave their scores, and I waited tensely through the next poem until the host announced, “The last poet scored a 27.3.”
For the next hour, I held the flowers my friend had given me and listened to the poetry of the other contestants. Each and every poem was fun and interesting, although I couldn’t hear all of some. The hour seemed to be shorter than it was, and soon the host said, “Now, just let me count up the scores.” My heart was racing as I thought repeatedly, “I want to prove to myself. I want to prove to myself.” Third place was announced, a young woman who had read a poem about feminism. This struck off some probability and also raised the stakes. Now, even though one chance was down, I could get 25 or 50… I remind you that I repeatedly reminded myself that this was just for fun. The prizes were, as the host said, to make the stomp a little more fun.
A few seconds later, I won second place. First place was announced, a young man who totally earned his place with his poem about falling “in friendship” rather than “in love”, very amusing. Before I left, I had people coming up to me to congratulate me, and I congratulated them.
My poem? Oh, it’s two pages long and way, way too long to post right here. I might not post it and simply wait for a chance to send it for publication, but it’s called “Waves to Dissolve Me”, about walking into the ocean and having a huge wave crash over you. It was one of the bursts of inspiration that inject me sometimes, as if I stuck one finger into an electrical socket and felt the entire effect. I do have a few other such poems that are briefly inspired, but I don’t like them nearly as much as I do this one. Here’s a brief verse from the poem:
Waves to Dissolve Me
The water pressed against my face,
squeezing itself through my eyes and into my being,
so cool and warm like the touch of a bat-ray’s flesh
which is like melt water-soaked Olay soap
but with that underlying scent that only your third eye can detect
which identifies a living being.
It lifted my two feet far above the sand and
knocked me about in a flurry of oxygenated water and chaos.
In case you’re wondering about the purpose of this post, it’s to share my amazing success. Besides, it’s thanks to you for giving me support for my poems so I could feel like I could enter the stomp. Thank you!