The STEAM Engine


So ladies and gentlemen. It is now time for
us to start the main event. I know I’m ready. So let me show give a quick
shout out to Alyssa. She’s up in the booth. Give her a wave on the live screen. Also Noah. Noah is working with us on the live screen team. taking us all across the planet and
all over the inter-webs. Thank you. Alright, without any further adieu, I would like to welcome our
first poet to the stage. Ladies and
gentlemen give a warm welcome to Inez. [Applause] Einstein, I wonder if you knew the myth
of Daedalus in nineteen thirty nine when you wrote to the president of
the United States urging him to begin development of the atomic bomb see in
Greek mythology the inventor Daedalus and Icarus were imprisoned in
a labyrinth guarded by a minotaur daedalus fashioned wings to fly
above the walls and escape. He warned Icarus not to fly too high
the unheeding he flew higher and higher until the wings burned up in
the sun and he fell from the sky. Einstein, you you Dedalus,
genius Jewish scientists trapped in the labyrinth of Nazi Germany stocked
by a minotaur constantly looking over your shoulder around corners for
swastikas you made it out because your formula the famous E=MC squared was
proof the bomb could be made hope and security began to fade Einstein
a vowed pacifist Nazis would make the bomb first and then the president
began research which he did. The USA rose higher and higher but the inquiry USA didn’t just fall
it bought the sky down with it. Hiroshima Nagasaki two hundred
thousand people killed generations of devastation you never intended
this neither did Daedalus. This is not a litany this is a warning
even a genius can confuse a bomb for an olive branch. What does it mean to do the right
thing with your back up against this wall as we now all have our backs
up against this wall threatening to be built between the US and
Mexico between us and each other and the bomb still falling on Syria and
the threats of nuclear warfare and our brothers and sisters being shot down
in streets in Vegas in church by gangs, by cops, by people who look like us. What does it mean to do the right
thing when I know that no rights, no freedom has ever been given. It has been demanded,
fought for and taken. We are small finite beings. Peeking around corners in
the labyrinth looking for a way out, a way home or at least to avoid
being devoured by the minotaur. I have been told that you can find your
way out of any maze eventually by reaching out a hand to feel the wall and following
every turn that touch point takes you. Let’s let love be that touch point. Love Let’s let love be that touch
point Love isn’t rocket science but it’s not just for hippies activists or
your mama either. STEM students, may our inventions
be weapons of mass Construction. As we balance precarious on the fulcrum of
the present day let us leverage the weight of our knowledge to move ourselves beyond
the corner we’ve been backed into by fear. Einstein was not the bomb but
Einstein was not just the bomb either. Love is Einstein’s regret and
the second letter he sent saying only radical abolition of war and
the danger of war can help. Towards this goal one should strive in fact no one should be forced into actions contrary to this goal; love, is the way out of the labyrinth. [APPLAUSE] Alright, ladies and gentlemen, you have exactly one minute to put
in your scores for Inez Garzaniti. If you feel like it was the worst
poem you ever heard in your life and you want to get that 3:10 seconds
of your life back give it a 1. If you feel like it was the best poem and
it changed your life and you want to convert to the religion that
is Inez Garzaniti’s poetry give it a 10, [APPLAUSE] but
that is entirely up to you, wise judges. [MUSIC] When the music stops the time stops. If you’re in the back. Way, way in the back of this room. And you think you’d be interested
in gliding your way up to the stage to sit in these
luxurious seats that we so eloquently prepared for
you this evening Please feel free to show us some love; it’s kind of
lonely up here on this stage. Anytime. [MUSIC] [INAUDIBLE] Alright, ladies and
gentlemen let’s keep rocking and rolling. Show your love as Kahn Davison
makes his way to the stage. [APPLAUSE] My grandfather never spoke one note out of tune against my father. During his last seventy-nine years, I watched cancer rob my
grandfather’s southern soul like acid being poured on the moon. Unfolding his almost eighty
years of hard fought manhood, as father time had given up on him. And you know what? It was more beautiful than it was sad, because what was sad was the way my own
father fingered the trigger of sawed-off shotgun like it was Mary Magdalene’s
clitoris laid in that dark, erotic blackness of the barrel seduced him
into thinking that death was his utopia. My father had his issues and I’d be
lying if I told you I thought more about growing old, then making love
raw to one of hell’s angels. So while some say that suicide was selfish and
self serving. I reminded them never to
judge a man’s nightmares and demons until you tasted that the blood and
saliva on his shield and sword, sweated his battles and choked on his dirt. My grandfather never spoke one note
out of tune against my father, cause see he knew that all men
were composed a little differently cause some men fight and some men try
to hold on and some men just sink. They get tired like pine trees,
with roots too tired to dig any deeper. He said, “Kahn…it’s easy. The problem is that most men live life
like their favorite song sung badly. They memorize the good parts and
they sing out loud the chorus, but the real message and meaning to the words
to the song they lip sync poorly. They run through too fast,
they don’t listen and maybe my father,
maybe he just lived for the hooks and the breakdowns without never
listening to the words. So my grandfather hummed Mahalia Jackson
slow on his way to home to church. Listened to a little Bobby Blue Bland
on his way to work, and cried Sam Cooke silently when he found my mother’s skin
bed under my father’s finger nails. And that point he didn’t care
about my father’s nightmares and demons, that he took his own life,
he took away Daddy’s little girl. Now what would you do? My grandfather never spoke one note
out of tune against my father. So as my grandfather’s bones brittled and
his hands that could once fix anything became rotting stems too feeble to feed
himself I pushed back my tears and I sung. And when I look in the mirror every
morning and see my father’s obituary and my grandfather’s,
I’m reminded of who I am and how there will always be reasons to
quit but even more reasons to sing. And my nine year old daughter
Nylah was two years old and heard her sing the words to Barney for
the very, very, very first time I
looked up at the sky and clinched the clouds with my fist and
yelled to God, “How beautiful life can be when
you’re listening.” [APPLAUSE]. One minute you know the drill. As you are considering your scores, don’t
forget this is a science-themed poetry slam, so if you feel you are able to
achieve new scientific heights after listening to Kahn’s amazing poem,
give it a 10. If you feel like you want to go into
art instead of science after that poem, give it a 1. It’s up to you judges. [MUSIC] [INAUDIBLE]
Thank judges. It looks like you are all
off to a good start so far. Let’s keep the energy high as
welcome Deonte to the stage. Love is free. Love is free. The question I always get asked
when travelling out of town, “Is Detroit coming back?” and
I ask, “What planet are y’all from?” Detroit is coming
back for white supremacist, like the rest of the state,
like the rest of the country. See y’all invited yourself to the cookout,
when you don’t know anybody there. Downtown Detroit is so white washed
you can taste the bleach in the air. See our skin absorbs the same thing
as plants, but y’all it burns. So again I ask, what planet are you from? Cause this whole solar system been ours. There’s a huge hurricane on Jupiter,
but have you ever heard of Irma, Sandy, Katrina? It rains diamonds on Neptune, but have you ever heard of black people
being from where there aren’t diamonds? See we both formed from the pressure. Couldn’t fill people in Flint
full of lead fast enough so you just put it in the water. Michigan is a real funny
way to spell Mississippi. See, you didn’t know racist were up North because
you haven’t been listening. Our Governor got an artificial spine he needs to replace himself,
but black don’t crack we’re basically immortal.
The only thing that kills us…is you. So again I ask, “What planet are you
from?” Kwame got 30 years, but the last time I checked
he didn’t poison nobody. Let y’all tell it that’s justice. It’s no wonder y’all being plagued. No wonder y’all call it germinating, but even the Germans don’t
support Nazis like y’all do. So you ask again, “Is Detroit coming back? Yeah…for white supremacist. Who are probably from …shit I
don’t know…Pluto or something. You know,
always small, overcompensating for something. Always trying to be far
away from something that shines like the sun, like …us. [APPLAUSE] [MUSIC] Don’t forget to show
the science some love. Don’t forget. Remember we have interplanetary themes,
biological themes, mathematical themes,
nuclear themes [INAUDIBLE] so make sure you show love for
the poem with the most scientific content. [MUSIC] Alright, score are in let’s
keep rockin and rolling. Ladies and
Gentlemen put your hands together, give a warm round of applause, keep the energy high,
for my man Mic Phelps. [APPLAUSE} Me and Melina,
the only black students in a class of twenty-eight kids,
we had chemistry together. Second hour, last table, first time
seeing there was a science to this all. Like how the Pastor told us on
Sunday that Eve came from Adam and the next day in school our teacher
told us that Eve cam from an atom. Thus leaving us to ask the question of how
we got here …having chemistry together? At the last table as if we were not
a part of the collective whole. Like we were protons bound to collide and
end up in cells some day. Like we were bronze and
gold against silver and copper. Clearly out of our element still
everyday we had chemistry with white lab coats covering our black matter. Hypothesis does black matter? Conclusion after a decade
of research it doesn’t. It only matters in hashtags and only in
your own element, never in a science lab lasts table, first to be asked,
How does coming from the hood effect you?” Last to be asked, ” How can you affect
your hood?” Expected to do nothing. Lay dormant, like a volcano expected to
erupt as if we are not filled with fire. Ms. Crawley never looked
at us different though. Shit, she never looked at us at all. As students built solar system replicas,
we were somewhere in our own black space, planting flags on a moon that never
wanted us there to begin with. We had chemistry together. We rode twenty miles to school in car
pools for a better education together. We got called niggas for
the first time in our lives together. We were screamed at for
being too loud, silenced for not speaking up, congratulated for
B’s, questioned for As and predestined for D’s,
but we still had…you know? One day, Ms Crawley stopped me and
the Melina on the way out. You know, you and Melina never talk. Do you feel like outsiders? Melina just said,”No.” Me? I said, “Yeah, I was called nigga by a
confederate flag forming twelfth grader. I tried out for the baseball team and was told that I don’t have the attitude for baseball by a coach that
never seen me before. None of these science books can tell
me why my history books doesn’t say anything about
the Tuskegee experiment. Justifying turning black bodies
in the science projects. So yes, I do feel like a fuckin outsider,
but..I didn’t say any of that. I was just a kid who wanted to hurry
to gym class to work on my attitude for baseball tryouts next year. So I said, “No.” And she just let us leave. And we didn’t speak to
each other about it. We just parted ways and
walked off like it never happened. Even though, we knew it did. We could just feel it,
because we had chemistry together. Second hour, last table, first time realizing; there was a science to this all. [APPLAUSE] Tell me that brother
didn’t study the periodic tables and the elements. Remember, the extra love is for the scientific themes [MUSIC]
Take your time, take your time, but not too much time. There’s about 35 seconds left folks. [MUSIC] Give it up for Dj Stacey J ladies and gentlemen, mixing and mingling. Alright, ladies and gentlemen let’s keep the energy high as we bring Siaara Freeman to the stage. Seven old science facts proved
wrong by evidence of hood. One, lightning never strikes
the same place twice. Well tell that to my heart, tell that to the ash that
sizzles my chest every funeral. Tell that to the hollowed ground
between my ribs and God bowed down to the scorched earth and listen to how
many times she screams bloody murder. Already heard my father, Jessica Coleman,
Tamir Rice and Kareem Davis. This afternoon alone. Two- There is no dark side to the moon, but I don’t understand for
3 years I danced naked, nutmeg blurred in
a kaleidoscope of brown women. Are we not the moon? Are we not dark? Do we not get a side? Three – Spontaneous generation. They sayin it don’t exist now. That niggas can do it. They sayin the experiment was tampered with.That bacteria had to be exposed to the air. That growth could not have come from nothing, so how do they explain
the projects, the hood, the literal growth that comes from nothing.
How could they call that crime, that death, that misery,
pain without fame, that music,
that joy that laughter is a miracle. Four- Gravity. What goes up must come down but
I’m still waiting for my father to fall out of the sky. Five- As of 2016, a hundred and eighteen elements in the periodic table have been confirmed,
however some are not listed. For instance, what do you call the liquid
on the walls of a house party or the gas from the trap house emit
like a warning or an invitation. You can’t tell me the phrase do or
die is not a solid. Six- Aliens do not exist. So then who are all these
mysterious white people moving on to my fuckin block opening over
priced [APPLAUSE] tea shops. How come they keep saying shit, like they have
never seen anything like me or my people. Why do they call this a whole new world? I’m guessing invasion is just
the scientific term for gentrification. Seven- The glaciers will all melt and form bodies of water. But that’s not true y’all, I’m still here. Everybody I loved now
dead frozen inside of me. There will be no oceans,
no sea, after my belt. I am a project chick. I will only leave theories and
bones y’all. I like science. Really I do, but I’m scared that
science won’t like me back you know. Like maybe, I’m too much of a hood rat
not put in a cage and guess on. Like maybe,
I’ve been under a microscope for too long to not know
when I’m being watched. Like, Dear Science my grandmother told me
about the Tuskegee experiments when I was six and
I have been having nightmare ever since. Like, Dear Science I know you think the hood
might be a whole nother planet, but I promise there are all
forms of life… here. [APPLAUSE] [Music] There’s a whole lot of 10’s. That’s a lot of love. Put your hands together one more time for Siaara Freeman for leaving it all on the stage. [Music] That was some scientific music. I see you. I see you Dj. Go ahead show some love DJ. Go ahead show some love for Dj Stacey J, with the scientific themes Alright ladies and gentlemen, show your love for this young brother Yakuza Moon [Applause] “Animals who have made our slaves, we
do not like to consider our equals” – Charles Darwin There was a white hunter on the freeway with the bumper sticker that showed a
cartoon pickaninny couched in a bush with a stick in his hand his eyes bigger
than his head. It said, “Don’t shoot till you see the whites of their eyes.” His
pickup pirouetted from Alabama red clay to Detroit blood stained concrete
as he merged onto the Safari that was a standstill traffic he saw something
blacker than death on the trail. Beat his chest at me and made monkey noises a
group of monkeys is called a barrell and at that moment I wanted to slip on a
banana clip and peel him past the flesh show him how well I have dominion over my kingdom turn vine swing to vice grip. Let him know
this jungle bunny is jagged when I walk I dragged these knuckles raw my back
silver from all this magic was so bigoted to a beast a group of gorillas
is called a band and at that moment I wanted to drum up a simian symphony into
his skull nuce him with a prehensile tail or maybe the cross around his neck I am
the Fuhrer of this food chain. The word primate means first in rank and when an ape beats his chest it’s a sign of humility respect and at that moment he
was Charles Darwin claiming I trickled from him making me less than man a group
of apes is called the shrewdness and as he drove away his heart still black as
this fur I can’t evolve off me black as this fur I can’t evolve off me I will
never be king of no jungle but still I swing low as a forest floor flicking off
these fries thank you [Music]
[Applause] Alright, you can do better than that. Put your hands together for Yakuza taking us all the way back to prehistorics times with that poem. [Music] Alright, get my cardio in. Okay.
Ladies and gentlemen, put your hands together for this fan-tabulous poet ladies and gentlemen
welcome Fable to the stage. [Applause] god bless america the only country in the world that takes
a mere 5% of the world’s population meanwhile takes in 50% of the world’s
pharmaceuticals and 80% of the world’s prescription narcotics yeah over the
course of history who tried to coin the phrase we have turned the corner in the
fight on drugs How cuz we policed urban areas until
the prison turned in this street while subliminally blinding ourselves from the
fact that the real drugs aren’t being peddled from dark-skinned or long rap
sheets but from white coats with script books reading strip slipped into drug reps
repping drugs nor does it seem the many strains police have never seen yet, don’t
you dare get caught with some bud bro. A quarter of some green dank, purp, loud, stank work depending on the non-criminalized city you reside in you might find your ass in jail huh it’s kind of funny how a substance
legal in many years the world is a crime in the land of the free when an adderall
can get prescribed to a nine-year-old who cries so oh yeah well you better
sit still because their parents measure their patience by the milligram and
that’s a-okay unless you don’t have a script then it’s a felony? Please. What
script do you really need the one written or the one typed every one of
might sound and read like an actual script like do you have restless leg
syndrome you might if you’re suffering from boredom,
sore muscles, tired feet, breathing oxygen not wanting to breathe oxygen wanting to go
on walks but not having the energy to go on the walk you so badly crave and could
actually go if you would just get your ass up and go do you have bipolar
disorder you may if you want to smile more you catch yourself frowning. Sometimes you’re happy and others sad if you breathe oxygen, if you are human, if
you are human you know the power of the dollar and green can make even HIV
vanish like Magic. Johnson’s hard on men glued to commercials perfected by
marketing geniuses. Making you more stiffer longer, harder lives if you even have to
pose any kinds of side effects that we would never face and not sucked in by
commercial it made it so much easier to relate to that they look so happy now if
you made two billion dollars a year you’d be able to employ the best in the
business pulling eyes ears and dollars out of wallets even faster Uncle Sam
because yes what they own him too. Side effects you might suffer from bloody
stools, cancer, the Hives, lymphoma, cold sores, From her not from the person you
felt you needed to make your life harder for. We’re so busy tearing apart our
well old machines for after market upgrades that were forgetting about the
damage that we’re doing to ourselves taking alzheimer’s medications with
side effects of memory loss and antidepressants that just might spark
suicidal intentions the outcome the leading causes of death United States
one heart disease, two cancer, three strokes and for the adverse effects of
medications. We become complacent having a mindset while I can pay it it fix
what’s wrong with me so besides the fact you know what’s
wrong rather than that take the time to better yourself in any other way, I
would like to ask what is wrong with you? If the answer is you don’t know you just
want to see them as perfect as the people in the ads you look up to you
well maybe the thing you should be adding up is facts it should have never
gotten this how did we get like this but where
else can you get rich off minds and emotions all held up on that crunch of
convenience only here, so God Bless America, but someone please help us we’re sick [Applause] Music Show your love, put your scores for Fable the Poet. [Music] Giving pros about the pharmaceutical industry. Keeping in mind with our science theme. Make sure you keep that in
mind, this is a science themed poetry slam. so you if learned something from the poem if your depth of knowledge about science is a little bit deeper. If you are intrigued by the scientific elements of this poem. Please show your love with your score. [Music] Alright, ladies and gentlemen are you ready for our first last chance poet to take the stage? Nah, y’all not ready. She done fought her way into the slam are you ready for the first last chance poet to take the stage? Ladies and Gentlemen, Mia Monet [Applause] The scientific method is a body of
techniques for investigating phenomenon the disappearance of black and brown
people from their neighborhoods and the reappearance of them in jail cells seems
valid enough phenomenon for us to investigate let’s start with theory. If placed in the right environment with the right societal conditioning and
given the choice between life or death men can be driven to do desperate
things to survive. Background in my neighborhood these same men appear
something like folklore something that may have existed but are no more they
become distant memory that we still have the scent of beneath our noses and for
those who are fortunate enough to return home they come to us as fiction
characters I mean we’ve heard their stories see their faces and pictures but
cannot recall the laughter and their bellies the Thunder and their footsteps
I remember my mother’s talking about a war once. I didn’t know what we were
fighting or who was on the other side all I could recall was the number of
family members that began to disappear I figured the war got them. Was determined
to turn them into soldiers their method called the war the war on drugs felt
more like a war on us we black boys and black girls left wandering and we will
see our families again. That’s until they gave us a direct pipeline to get
to them. I guess it was a metaphor for the apple not falling far from the tree
you see these barriers of brokenness and abandonment are ones my community is
all to familiar with. Cause we mourn deaths in courtrooms and celebrate homecomings
when they come home if they come home so I guess by now they thought it would
break this kill us but for hundreds of years we’ve been dying but
coming back to life. Our DNA is persistent but even still when war
breaks out us too.Black boys and black girls become POWs left to rake up the
damage clean up the carnage they never measured the human costs of mass
incarceration never considered the ones that leaves behind you know the ones
that puts in the right environment with the right societal conditioning and
then told to survive conclusion yes they thought we become desperate but we still
standing tall free unapologetically ourselves determined to break the cycle,
determine to be proof that change can happen in us yes we are our
mothers and fathers children but we are not their choices we are not just
statistics we are not your experiments we are simply evidence that survival
doesn’t have to always be desperate. [Applause] [Music] which display engaged in scientific themes [Music] thank you thank you ladies ladies and
gentlemen all right are you ready for your second last chance poet. Yeah they say they ready. Ladies and gentlemen put your hands together for Ephraim. The science of lying as told through the boy who cried wolf. The boy who cried wolf is a fable about a boy who repeatedly tricks
his village into trying to save him from a vicious wolf. When a wolf actually does appear, boy cries out the villagers think it’s another trick
and no one comes to the rescue the story is meant to discourage lying an
educational experiment suggests that reading the boy who cried wolf actually
increases the likelihood of lying in children so fast forward to the future
boy grows up now man cries wolf cries criminal, cry they always get away,
man knows that the American village has been lied to so much they can’t tell the
difference between trick or truth man gets off at turn given to trigger-happy inferno learned at a young age how easy it is to convince
people who the Beast and who the heroes are no one asked to hear wolf’s side of
the story and I am the wolf. I know there is no village for these cries so I tread
lightly tuck in my dangerous show-off not least threatening smile and hope no
malicious mouth say these teeth are fangs. No one questioned the
testimony of boy to say wolf hunted, wolf persecuted, we’ve played dead. No one asked us what happened they asked why we fit ourselves so well into our abusers hands
and expect not to become a funeral and I’m wonder, who do I ask for help when
the rescue thinks I am the one who needs saving from. When all my words sound like
a shovel digging myself deeper in the dirt even my innocent smell guilty it
smell like blood lust and wicked, smell like an ex who I know will say anything to
convince the courts that I’m incapable father I guess that’s how I am a wolf
the first version of this poem does not include my story, good poems will do that. Ask you the craft a fable that be all metaphor, all flowers, and no tombstone.
Because I’m still afraid to talk about my relationship afraid to talk about the
night that she attacked me and I tried to save my son and they arrested me for
domestic violence afraid to tell the peers around me that I know abuse too Because I think they’ll see me beast, before they see me victim but I
remember the first time I seen someone break their own fear. I thought I was given
the permission I needed to exist loudly so I’ll exist in my truth tell it
to the mountains till God strike down a non-believer despite the ears that
prefer my mouth muted and I know I know they say to Wolves. If men lie enough
about you no one will believe you even when they’re telling the truth
we must tell it anyway write our own story so these Liars don’t get the last
word and when you hear my howl and you think it hunger, or recognize a cry
for help. I will make sure you still hear me. [Applause] [Music] We got one more poet in the first
round ladies and gentlemen is about to go down put your hands together for our
last chance poet ladies and gentlemen Damien [Applause] So in our house was asked my mother and
my older brother and me for as long as I can remember my family has been a
healing wound seems like we do everything in our power to shot and closed the void
created when a crack crystallized into a rock and was thrown at our Glass House
I’ve still got suitcases locked away with my memories of hi my name is
so-and-so and I’m an addict all the times I got high off the three or
sterlington Walmart and given to myself the poor kid with the afro the
complexion of a dirty penny in the dirty pennyy loafers who always makes the honor roll so on test day all the kids come to me like, “Psst, what’s the answer to
number three and four and five” like can I just do my test. They didn’t know I was
the son of a scientist see my mother was a chemist in the eighties when Julian was
born he was so light they thought he was an angel trying to get back into heaven
hydro Greek means water cephalus means head hydrocephalus
meaning his brain is a planet under water but still he was still awake my
mother wasn’t ready to carry so she carried a happiness around and test
tunes with the handheld Bunsen burner always in the pocket used chemistry to
cope with her the depression. Turned her body into a laboratory, turned her brain
into a science experiment she was testing a hypothesis. Seeing that if she
was correct. If she heated the substance to a certain degrees of Fahrenheit this
would become a heroine she would rise up from the ashes in the portray like a
Firebird and she would be able to save her own life in science chemistry is a study
of things that matter and how they change like a five-year-old miracle who
needs his mother like finding love in the cold sweat of a rehab institution
but marrying the father of your second child and feeling that you got it right
this time but change is the only constant in all the science and my father
he changed from a man to NA for non-applicable
and which I write on the application and attempt to fill the space where father
goes. NA for narcotics anonymous that raised me better than he ever could
empty hallways have hugged me longer than his arms and somehow you still got
a hold on me I feel except his friend requests on facebook and though my
mother is still healing from the wound he turned her into she thinks I should send him the message I would say the do you know how hard she fell for you almost as
hard as he fell that night after you left that night she slipped on the rug
at the top of the two steps by side door that night she was holding on to
that part of boiling grease like it was her marriage that night she told those
doctors no morphine because she knows the side effects of superpowers well
enough to know she does not need heroine to become more Wonder Woman than Superman but
to me she was morel like Storm the way she changed the weather of her life from winter to warm winds I was surprised how big of a difference just two degrees made
graduate subtracted this self hate from her life and ends up hallelujah that is holy
our blood is built in our bones so even when the strongest parts of us fractured
into a broken family we can still come together like a healing wound. [Applause] [Music] Alright ladies and gentlemen, let’s get scores in. Just so you know, you are about to see the same poets in reverse order. as we finish and second and final round of this poetry slam so first up on stage. You still got time, but you’re going to see Damien one more time. Show some love for Damien. One more time we’re going to see him again. Alright, we have about a minute in a half. Let’s get those scores in [Music] So picture me in fourth grade sitting in class my face is full of questions and
hope and here my hands are folding almost as tightly as my beliefs my first
stands tall like I could have something to prove to the sky my hair has always
been the loudest thing about me as always resisting every attempt to tell
me even in my body was obedient in the school at least this into uniform
because we all look the same to them anyway my whole we have merged onto
myself from another era every strand holding up a fist my feet held down by
two rows of Penny get me off the moon I was a very mean name Walker wanted to be
Michael Jackson so bad thought maybe I could ask him for my father’s address
you know since he was the King of Pop thought maybe if I learned how to pop
rock I could break into my father’s chest, find a dance floor everything his heart
my brain always full of these thoughts too big for my mouth made me a good
student always ready to leave the class and to amendment of silence teach little
black girls and Billie’s to behave well enough and they’re back teachers can
almost pretend that they’re not even there that they are already ghost our
voices shrink almost as fast as our ambitions. Shh! Until the quiet dorky kid in the class with the afro stands up during the test. Spin, kicks that motherfucking desk,
looks the middle-aged man in the face and yells, “all I want to say is that
you don’t really care about us” [Applause] my body my body becomes a thousand open
mouths screaming an amount now with a body of its own stands up and walks to
the center of the world and the rest of the class raising their seats
slowly the Milly Rock all at once in all three history books drop in the shells
and burst into tears and not rewrite them with my feet every page every page
a picture of us posing in hieroglyphic house-party stance. And it is historic,
how this much black joy can only be a tale not tall enough to break through
the ceiling of reality but no I don’t need to break through the roof because
we will set that bitch on fire. [Applause] [Music] Don’t worry that you see the
scores ladies and gentlemen. As you know we want to keep you in a little bit of suspense. So the scores are being log you just won’t see them here. Not quite yet. You can’t vote? Just once second, let me check. [Music] [Music] We had a slight technical delay. Thank you ladies and gentlemen for bearing with us the scores are in Ladies and gentlemen, it’s that time again. Let’s welcome to the stage Ephraim Put your hands together, put your hands together. All the way in the back. Let’s keep it moving. Love is free. [Applause] so I’ve been having this dream then the
near-future black folk go and decide to leave this planet and we’re going to
take all of our things with us including our music in the world will be smaller
than Armageddon white musicians will have no more soul to appropriate in the
mediocrity bloggers will have no more think pieces to write disrespecting the
deity otherwise known as Beyonce the ozone layer will burst open looking for
its lost musicians tectonic plates begin to shake hoping the cream bass so loud
it would attract black fell back the remaining people on earth they will
try their hardest to remember their favorite songs they’ll press their hands together with off he claps as blasphemous prayers but
nothing will work on the new planet we will start all over again in the first
words will echo in the beginning was the funk and the funk was with God in the
funk was God in our creation story God is the first musician play the song
so bad it gave birth to a universe that’s why we only sing them with all
prayers that’s why I’m not being able to catch the beat – sacrilege and the
national anthem has been replaced. Every event will now start with the ultimate
gesture of black unity we will sing the negro spiritual swag surfing because we’ve been telling stories the survival how else you think we make the struggle
looks so good black music is black magic black music is a resurrection. We don’t have funerals, we have home goings. Can’t send loved ones back without a ritual of music. I’ve seen a mother sing a hymn that captured grief and celebration in the
same note and I knew it was the blackest song maybe alchemy our sorrow into
something beautiful to carry us through the harshest times we will become the
activists and the revolution the reunion and the rebellion become the hip-hop hallelujah beat-boxing or breakthrough beautiful. We will channel the spirit of the Holy Ghost and to an overheated southern Church use the voices to power us through the day doing a one-person shower so concert because the
voice , the voice was the first instrument so every time we sing it is god speech the body with the second so even when the speakers blow we still making a little music clap to prove it don’t never end. So come on
everybody in the place to be we gonna celebrate black music with the lowest
beat all you got to do is say the same time as me and come on hit that black music clap with me say black music [clap] [clap][clap][clap][clap][clap]black music [clap][clap][clap][clap][clap][clap]black music[clap][clap][clap][clap][clap]black music[clap][clap][clap][clap][clap] [Applause] [Music] all right ladies and gentlemen are you ready for the next poet to take the stage all right ladies and gentlemen, show your love one more time for Mia Monet [Applause] we meet in these spaces on a weekly
basis as a congregation we pour libations past the Hat is our way of
participation poets resemble deities so we give them praises I guess you can
call poetry that new religion see these faces are sacred because here we get to
be us we free we black we’re not apologizing you will say our names while
we are still standing and we will continue to stand because they are on
the hunt for black and brown bodies torches in hand and ready to deliver us
our death sentences as if we’re already used to dying the being reborn like we ain’t got revival in our DNA you see these spaces are our sanctuary where we
sometimes stand in circles cipher in sentences curating culture like, “Don’t
be nice” “remember why you wrote it” “go in poet” and see you think these are just
phrases that we pass to the poet on the stage for encouragement little do you
realize we speaking in tongues let me decipher it for you like when we say
don’t be nice don’t be nice because they never been nice to us they want poetry
to be pretty and soft and sweet but I write about my experiences and some of
them have been ugly and grimy and too rough around the edges to ever be soft
fuck being sweet I must prefer to be bitter because that taste is more
familiar on my taste buds when we say remember why you wrote it remember when you didn’t have anything else but poetry. Remember the ink circles from your tears that still stain the pages. Remember
when your pencil couldn’t write fast enough for your thoughts. Remember when you penned your first poem or performed your first piece remember that even though
there’s a thousand other poets out there you still felt your voice necessary in
this moment see these spaces are an even exchange amongst creatives with souls
left on mics see us slam poets typically get three minutes to leave our souls on
the mic hoping that you see the world the way we see and I know there’s
supposed to be a slam but how dare you judge our worship like
you ain’t hold prophecy projected from these mics like your ears have not been
baptized and made new like our notebooks don’t resemble something like Scripture
or these stages and something like Holy Land you can’t tell me that prophet and
poet don’t sound like synonyms so when you walk into our temple recognize the
divinity that surrounds you appreciate the fact that every time we step to this
mic you are witnessing living breathing miracles. Let the church say Amen [Applause] [Music] You are doing an amazing job judges. You got about 45 seconds to those scores in Remember you might have to press that edit button in order for it to work properly Also, do not forget we are looking for science themed content Consider that as you give your scores. Does it relate to a scientific theme? Does it expand your knowledge? Does it intrigue you? [Music] Alright, alright, alright, let’s keep rockin
and rollin ladies and gentlemen one more time gracing the stage put those hands
together for what he’s got on the page FABLE Once it hatches a caterpillar first
starts to feed on the egg in which it was born then the leaves around it in 12
to 24 hours it will shed its skin it will repeat the cycle multiple times so
it can grow once big enough hormones will dictate that it stops eating before
it makes this final transformation and they choose a spot under-covered
location and build a chrysalis this stage is called pupa they break
themselves into nothing then it devours itself after 15 days a butterfly emerges
the series of changes in a butterfly’s lifespan is called metamorphosis
now I’m sitting there watching this Animal Planet show about butterflies
because who can stay upset when looking at butterflies right yeah there I am a
snot tear extravaganza ugly face a cherry on top
sprinkle that prettiest dying lion seal noise people make when their really upset like UUGH! crying my eyes out I can laugh about it
now because I learned about the cycle it starts with feeding destroying and
engulfing the very things that give it life the same way I did my mother the
same way I proceeded to with lovers friends my art scene my environment and
people to unknowingly become new leaves for me to turn over when I crave
destruction not yet willing to take it out on myself though I always do. Somehow they are always kind enough to take me back
every time I metabolize them and shed dead layers of myself though I don’t
deserve it they often follow that you should be so proud of how much you’ve
grown but I never am they don’t know that each time my hunger evolves
alongside me it becomes larger I strive to take up more space no matter how
minute I feel every time I feel even close to big enough I stop eating
fill myself on excuses I forgot today I was too busy and worst of all I don’t
deserve it until I pick a spot under a covered location the documentary called
this the pupa stage is my couch not a chrysalis or cocoon the bathroom floor
the bed in the guest room away from the woman I love is the place that locked
myself away for days to nurture are they not that protective layer the place I
wrap myself in to feel whole before breaking it into nothing so if you’re
safe enough to finally spend my wings again when you’re laying there
motionless this is when your mind this nature’s magic body trying to evolve
still metabolizing itself after days I emerge that vibrate flowing being that
so many see when battling issues with your mental health constantly thinking
that you are ugly asked yourself isn’t it strange how a caterpillars
transformation into a butterfly can look so much like me [Applause] [Music] Scores, scores. Let’s get them in. About 55 seconds left. Show your love and appreciation for Fable. Show it with your scores. [Music] Alright, folks we want to take a quick second to show some love for a lot of people who are in the audience. First off
ladies and gentlemen for everyone. Put your hands together for coming out tonight and showing love to all of these amazing poets. We got folks who traveled from Cleveland Where are we coming from? Cleveland? Anywhere else? Anywhere else? At a distance? the West side of Detroit, the East side of Detroit, Philly? We got Philadelphia in the house. Alright, ladies and gentlemen let’s keep rocking and rolling with this awesome poetry show.
having a good time You having a good time? Show that love and energy for Yakuza as he make his way to the stage. Put your hand together. [Applause] Disclaimer: I am NOT cool black kid of
suburban diversity folklore I be full-fledged fiction complete with
character development best friend love interest and no typecasting see I
finessed my contract this way I don’t die in the first season, or scene, or panel or mission no I am cyborg Susie Carmichael, Piccolo. Yes, I said Piccolo. That nigga doo-rag is to tight to be anything other than other. I am a peanut
butter Poindexter dark chocolate dweeb you know who. Nigga in the back of the
class with too much suspender to sag. Cool kids always pull his card not
knowing my deck is limited edition platinum hologram version while my
dragon got to be white with blue eyes I mean all my niggas is superheros and yet
I keep reading these stories that are not mine because it’s not about color of
skin but content of the characters so why can’t you look like me and save the
day I guess the Sun has my skin too many times to get the girl that all
jealous of my Jed-I am a lone glimmer in a sea of sidekicks cruising down the
street at my n64 emulator this is not a cosplay and I am not really
bulletproof but subculture be my escape from open season I am an oddity this is
what happens when you play without a memory card. I’m more Gameboy than gun
blast more Pokemon than penitentiary cause you can never put a nigga like Luke in a
cage my aura is so Aurora Monroe you won’t usually find adventure in a black eulogy this is why we need comic books for us
common crooks we’re talking about Just us League of America the Nap-tastic Noir
Guardians of the Ebony maybe you’ve heard of us we’re the ones that turn
Washington into Wakanda for two consecutive terms we do resurrections
and rebirths out from the ashes let that rise a black villain creature of
nights with no Street lights this way he is always home maybe his head is a hood
he has no hands to put up maybe he can be violet like violence or magenta as a
magneto master my magnetism and sup the slugs from my homies’s and stomachs
because you know we the new mutants what if my fantasies kept it real this
is only the proverbial part of my origin story I could get my powers any day
now in a dark alley or in between a police officers forearms or an operating
table in the ground I wonder what will trigger my trigger I’m trying to blast back with shadow clones and side beams give a nigga infinite invincibility
stars I pull up with the Elder Wand and light your block up. What’s the code for God mode is it select select start busting at niggas too white to me black and too
black to me white dominoes and dice is this city liberty or vice? Either
way I came out the womb with five stars. Thank you. [Applause] [Music] Alright, ladies and gentlemen one more time. Put those hands together as we welcome Siaara Freeman to the stage. Put your hands together. Love is free. Love is free. I see you in the back. Remember put those hands together. We see you too. There is a science to being a bitter
ex-girlfriend or hexes for my exes so ex-lover I heard you think I don’t still wish you shit, but that’s not true. I wish you plenty of shit for instance I wish you really, really, really fantastic marijuana and then I wish you a marijuana tolerance so high that a session with Snoop Dog, Cheech and Chong, Wiz Khalifa, Rihanna, Scooby and Shaggy plus me will not work. I wish you… I wish you trips. I do. I wish your mama stay tripping, your new boo stay trippin, yo job stay tripping. I wish
every day of your life was a fucking trip with really great weed that will not
get you high. I wish. I wish you into bars that serve everything except what you
want. I wish my heart to be the only thing on tap. I wish you. I wish you
ring worms in your vagina. Yeah, I wish you strap-ons that won’t stay strapped-on, I wish you… I wish you scuff shoes, after buying them
for the first time every time. I wish you more girls. I do. I wish you girls who claim
they are nerds but don’t know the difference between Marvel and DC
characters I wish you I wish you girls who claim they can’t cook and they can
cook they just don’t want to cook for your punk-ass I wish you I wish you
girls who tell you they can squirt but it’s really not squirt. I wish you… (do the science for that) I wish you end pieces of bread. I wish you nothing but end pieces of bread. I wish entire loaves of end pieces of bread. I wish you into a world where Beyonce doesn’t exist. I wish you into a world where chocolate does not exist. I wish you into a world where blood thirsty ostriches roam the free land searching for your blood. A world where
George Bush is our vice president. I wish you I wish you into a world where
there’s no music except drake mixtapes which really ain’t
that bad until it’s all you got and then it’s that fucking bad I wish you
I wish you into a world where your tongue taste everything except me as overcooked
okra a world where my wishes want so much like you go great inside my mouth meaningless the moment you left [Applause] [Music] Can you say four more poets? Right on, right on. Let’s get those scores in. About 51, 50, 49 seconds left. Mic Phelps you on deck [Music] Alright, ladies and gentlemen, boys and extremely beautiful little 3yr girl I see you out there. Are you ready for some more poems? I said are you ready for some poems? I think there are ready for some more poems. Alright ladies and gentlemen one more time. Show your love for Mic Phelps For those of us who talk too often baby
you talk too much you got more words of you than a
900-page essay and to be perfectly honest with you the sound of your voice
brings my eardrums to tears now imagine dealing with that flight ten years see
sometimes talking I see your lips moving but the sound is drowned out a long time
ago so that’s not where you ask me questions like so maybe what you think
about that. My reply be typical of a guy like hell naw. That’s crazy yeah could
you repeat that last part again and it’s not because I couldn’t hear you is cuz I
wasn’t listening and you want to know why? It’s cuz you talk too much. Last Sunday we was in church and the pastor told us to turn to the person next to us and said um I
love you and you turned to me with that biggest smile the back of pain on his
most beautiful angel and said baby I love you and I thought that would be it, but
your ass don’t quit. You kept going on about how you love me but you hate when I leave the toilet seat up, or I always turn the heat up and I just want to give my seat to somebody who cares about what you was talking about you wanna know
came over to the sofa nobody wanna know why? It’s cuz you talk too much. I mean it’s
raining outside, cuz your ass done talked up a storm you’re probably talk during a moment of silence you can’t be quiet if they’re to shut up pill, you we wouldn’t try it can’t
listen to music cuz you talk to the song every time to leave a voicemail, 40 minutes long. You even talk when you drive. I’m so glad you change the phone service, cause the phone bill was sky high and you want to know why? It’s cuz you talk too much I mean at
night when I come home to give me some peace I can’t. You snore you talk in your sleep. You talk in the day. You talking tonight You was talking today you be talking
tonight. You always wanna talk about it. Or talk to me or Talk through it or have a talk or
real talk, Girl Talk, Talk shit, or dirty talk, talk behind somebody’s back or
Can we talk? Can we go and have a private talk or talk it over, or talk about it, or talk I need to talk it over, or talk for dinner, you talk over coffee I bet when you was little your favorite toy was a walkie-talkie [Applause] you know I think that is cuz you talk
too much I mean the proof is in the pudding you
watch talk shows. You listen to talk radio and at the dinner table we’ve got a conversation
piece. Your favorite song is Can we talk? by Tevin Campbell. Come and talk to me by
Jodeci. Your favorite movie is Look who’s talking? Look who’s talking too? Chris Tucker in Money Talks, Don Cheadle in Talk to me, you always want to talk to me some you can have someone to talk to, you just want to talk, talk, talk, talk, talk and talk… Shit! However, whenever I feel like I
can’t take it anymore its those pep talks you give me that bring me back to reality. Its you talking to your friends your family about me telling them how much you love me. It’s you talkin to talkin and backing it up with your sexy ass walk and I know that you
may talk from the end to the start but every time I’m talkin is coming from your
heart. So no I don’t want to hear about what happen at the salon and no I don’t
care about how Lisa broke up with John but I do know at the sound of your voice
banging against my eardrums makes the the perfect beat that keeps me loving you
and it’s that sweet tone behind that sweet voice that keeps me from walking out and baby that right there is exactly what I’m talking about [Applause] [Music] A few more seconds, get those last minute scores in Sixty seconds each round, you get sixty seconds each round to get those last minute scores in to put in your scores Kahn you are on deck. Alright, making his second appearance on the stage tonight. At this precise moment he is
getting mic’ed. Ladies and gentlemen, put your hands together for Deonte [Applause] watch your calories! As of today November 11th 2017, there was only one country who is refusing to sign the Paris Accords to save our lives
from global warming. President Pumpkin Patch kills me with his policies old blonde
dead pigeon on his head looking ass says he can tell me the truth about my health
care me wild my life a war-torn nation suicidal thoughts whirling dervish and
my mind on the night I was conned out of my engagement ring to my ex-fiance my
favorite rock star gave his life to the same beast chasing me rich and famous
depression doesn’t care causes us all to bust into supernovas of sadness and I would have followed suit if it wasn’t for President Orange Crush. If it wasn’t for
President cantaloupe cradelling the country crushing our hopes and dreams I
wouldn’t had enough’ fight left in me no not while this demon destroys democracy
it isn’t that what the depression is anyway evil spirits lingering in our minds
touting the terrible times while forgetting the good graces we’ve been
granted only dead things don’t evolve, change, and grow in my life is in a
terrible state of flux but as it should be in this to torrential thunderstorm I keep
finding ways of sunlight found a new lover who accepts my flaws in all pillow
talks about resisting President Citrus but even if i hadn’t I would still have so
much to live for so bring it on President Basketball with your tiny
for your tinier thoughts with your safety vest of lies and deceit I’m going to
keep on resisting you until you’re no longer in a position of power no longer
able to hold office which is to say… You and depression are going to need so much more than that [Applause] [Music] Alright, it’s time to find out what the
penultimate poet has pinned. Ladies and gentlemen put your hands together for Kahn. My nine year old daughter Nylah as beautiful as her great-grandmother’s perennials
is running off the 3:00 p.m. sunflower colored school bus with the smiles
brightest halogen bulbs I’m used to this her urgency the points in the every
detail of her day the way she recreates the energy of what her teacher says of
what her friends say it’s as if she wants me to go through third grade with
her and we have time for me to ask that proverbial the kind of homework do you
have question she grins the way kids are supposed to grin because homework is
the sworn global enemy of third graders everywhere but she says daddy we
had to pick science projects today and immediately her tongue starts to wrestle
with the word and it just won’t come out so she pulls out her school folder the
one decorated with pictures of flower princesses and she points to word title
photosynthesis we immediately get to work a trifold bulletin board that was
supposed to be for her tree house mom’s nearly bought potted spinach and potted
oregano markers light bulbs a ruler, and water she picks up the spinach
traces her finger around the wavy edges squeezes slightly looks at me and says
it looks as bad as it tastes daddy. The spinach is set in isolation under a glow of
one single incadecent halogen bulb she turns her attention to the oregano
takes the heavy whipping she’s a chef laughs as we take the time out to talk about mom’s spaghetti pasta salad and how we haven’t eaten dinner yet the oregano finds the
hard on a window ledge next to a few under ripe tomatoes that also
need that the energy some God’s light we add water measure the height of each the
roundness take photos paste them to the board and write down the measurements
all were missing is white lab coats and ecology degrees for the next 14 days
this becomes our ritual animal runs off the bus we water we measured we
photograph we write and eventually we eat dinner by the 14th day the results
are clear and our time playing the role of dr. blight has ended the spinach is
crying for help the oregano is begging for larger play pen to grow in, Nylah yells out, “Yea!” for sunshine and oregano and, “Boo!” for spinach and light bulbs the
results go on a trifold board, the board goes to the science fair the
spinach goes in the trash there’s a recipe for the oregano, Nylah gets an A. I get a kiss and we all eat dinner [Applause] Don’t forget to consider the scientific content of this poem as you provide your score. Shout out to our live stream team. Bringing us all across the world presumably. Ladies and gentlemen, can you say one more poet? Can you say one more poet? Alright, alright, alright.It’s just about that time. Last few second to get those scores in for Kahn Davison. Ladies and gentlemen it is my pleasure to
welcome to you gracing the stage for the second time this evening. Inez. This poem is dedicated to the
individuals that donated their bodies to the anatomy lab at my medical school
Abso Darien for dissection. August brought you to us
August brought us to your steel altar brimming with humanism and anxious
curiosity the bright white plastic sheet draped over each body that veil between
everything and the nothingness of death felt flimsy we peeled it back
day by day gross anatomy terms hustled quick what’s hubris to think we know
something because it can be named I search for a way to justify this
intrusion knowledge of you beyond the bones who lays their fingers between
yours did your mother rock you to sleep in her
arms at night and is that what it feels like to die? Operators actions and insertions seem to
pale in comparison to these intangible questions I searched for a way to answer
to reconcile the distance between abstract scientific formulas
auscultation sites theoretical knowledge of the body and understanding of the
person perhaps this is the vital role of the physician this tightrope walk
balanced arms outstretched between X rays of broken wrists and breaking bad
news your hands taught me to hold all of this Oracle to zygomatic process and
all of the gray matter between. [Applause] Let’s get those score in for Inez Garzaniti. We’re going to spin a few records for a few minutes while we tabulate the scores Remember, consider the scientific content of that poem we just heard. [Music] Alright, ladies and gentlemen that special time in the evening has arrived it is now time to crown the winner of the first Steam Engine Poetry Slam. Alright, ladies and gentlemen let me repeat that one more time, cause its that special time in the evening and I don’t think folks realize the impact of this let’s take a second. It is now time to announce the winner of the Steam Engine Poetry Slam you ready? Okay, okay, right on! but before we do that I want to invite all of the featured artists on to the stage if you come up and join us all our featured artists? Can we show ’em some love for the amazing show that they put on for us tonight? For the blood they spilled on this stage? For the blood the spilled on the page? Come on up, come on up. Keep it going audience. Let’s show them a lot of love. [Applause] Alright and without further adieu. I am proud to announce the winner of the first Science
Gallery presents The Steam Engine Poetry Slam ladies and gentlemen I present to
you Siaara Freeman [Applause] [Music] Give it up for all of the poets that you see tonight. Give it up for the amazing DJ Give it up for yourselves and none of this, none of this, this would not be possible without MSU. Give it up for MSU. Give it up for Science Gallery and give it up for the Artist Village. Alright, so keep up with the Science Gallery lab to find out what’s happening through the seasons we have one more word from Siaara this
has been a long journey for all the poets if you want to make sure that
anything she has to say is being heard. So give it up for your champ Siaara Freeman. [Applause] Umm, if y’all could clap for every poet that got on the stage with me tonight. [Applause] I too came down from Cleveland but Detroit has been a second home for me
since I’ve been like 19 years old and the audience is beautiful and the people
I get to work with they’re beautiful two of my best friends and the whole wide
world Natasha and Britney Rogers live here and it’s just like I’m so grateful
this is a place that inspires art and growth and learning and don’t you ever
change Detroit. I love you. [Music]

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