I discovered yet another talent in my arsenal of unmarketable qualities:
I am able to read, out loud, in perfect slam intonation.
(If you don’t know what that is, it’s a style of poetry delivery that is rhythmically associated with hip-hop. It’s showcased on HBO’s Def Poetry series. Okay. Now you know. Please continue below.)
I’ve attended open mic nights, slam events and I even served as a judge for a poetry reading contest. In retrospect, I think that was a case of mistaken identity. I think they thought I was Isabel Allende. Which explains why they kept on addressing me as Ms. Allende. Yeah, it was weird.
The point is, I never participated. Ever. I never tried writing that way. And I certainly wasn’t going to read, out loud, in front of people. As a matter of fact, I have a slight stutter that becomes pronounced the more nervous I get. It’s what killed my dream to be a radio host. It’s what killed my dream to be a weather girl.
(Not really. What killed my weather girl dream was my rather large bottom. At a screen test, I discovered that my ass completely covers the Florida Keys, always making it cloudy there. Okay. Now you know. Continue reading.)
So, the other day, I was reading through some blogs and articles and I came across something that needed a little help. Not that what I do is art by any means. I write by blog on my phone for Pete’s sake. But this was, well, bad.
It wasn’t even about grammar or spelling — God knows, I have no idea how to operate that machinery. It wasn’t about the facts or fiction or style or language. It was just complete nonsense. It was a bunch of random words put together in no particular order and masked as some deep artistic reflection.
For a moment, I thought it was that I just didn’t understand it. Like the time I attempted to read Ezra Pound’s Cantos.
So, I decided to read it again, out loud. As if hearing it with my outside voice would help decipher the meaning, plot, main idea, and/or purpose of the story.
I took a quick breath and through my exhale began reading. Only, instead of a monotone whisper, a weird rhythmic beat just flowed out of my mouth. It sounded like this:
“Do-you-knowwww—-that-the-painofthecow-and-the-horssssse—–are the measure of-the-cy-cle in the washhhh.”
That was weird.
I continued, “Youuuu—You-are-more—de-ee-li-ciousss–thanaglass-of-mar–bles-in-a-desert—–storm.”
I couldn’t believe it. I actually made it sound great. Like the words had meaning and depth and emotion behind them. And I thought, I can add this to my resumé. I can market this talent to companies as part of my skill set. I can hold a press conference and read from my prepared statement in this style.
Reporters will weep.
And then America, collectively, would say, “Oh, I get it now, I can get full coverage, regardless of my pre-existing conditions. You know, when President Obama said it, I really couldn’t understand him. But now, now that you’ve used a musical variation in your tone and spaced out words and emphasized consonants, now I totally get it.”
And once again, reporters will weep.