Jazz Poetry Night – 2013

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001Jazz Poetry Night (JPN) is a night of celebrating student poetry with music. This evening concert featured students, individual and group, reading their own Spoken Word poems. They were supported by three special guests. First Luke Smiraldo, spoken word poet and Poet Laureate for Tacoma, emceed the event. Luke’s Spoken Word performances are dynamic and socially conscious. He worked with the students before JPN in a workshop setting on spoken word poetry and performance. [See poem below “If I Am Everyone” which Luke wrote with input from every attending student.] We were so fortunate to have Luke join us. Contact Luke Smiraldo at www.vanillasoul.net

Next up was Andrew Larsen, blues pianist I spoke about in my Blues Poems posting. Andrew reprised his role as performer of the Blues poems that the students wrote.

We were also fortunate to have Brent Irwin, a talented music teacher at our school. Brent has a local jazz band called the Jazz Misfits who performed a couple standards and backed up some of the student performers.

If I Am Everyone

Dedicated to the students of Woodmont K-8

 

What if I told you I was everywhere?

And what if I told you I was everyone?

What if I told you I was infinite me multiplying at

the sound of decibel squared, cracking air

like caps under heels and you could hear loud love

the smell of mothers, and the sound of Spanish singers?

what if my family was somehow different but we did not have

a single new feeling?

What if we all came from the same ancestors?

My future is rich like a line of islands

erupting in faith, determined to finish,

we fall like lava, the liquid hearts of the Filipino nation

our struggle hardens to form steps

to climb hills again. These fragile land masses receive our tear drops in

breeze and ocean where “ha” and “ha” together just might make our day.

What if I laid a table for you in Mexico?

yes, I am from Mexico,

with my family food, tacos

from the hands of my mom and dad

and our table was surrounded by cement buildings

like mis abuelas,,

like Kenyan Shoshos and whukas

chattering protective prayers in many tongues?

and what if I invited the Scots, arriving to the name of

Black Knights, swords at their kilts, weapons that once cut enemies

like butter, but now are at rest with the dinnerware?

We all live through the same days of love, laughter and family

of hot and cold and sunny and the rain of hail and thunder

as flash floods of knowledge plunge past us carrying the thoughts

of elder generations.

And my history tumbles past like rapids

Am I from New York, dad half native and taste for fried chicken?

Or true Mexican, fun to be with, over a plate of quesadillas?

Can you call me Guatemalan,

Whipping up rice and beans and tortillas?

Yet I claim Queen Elizabeth as my ancestor.

Or am I Filipino, food is my culture

Perhaps we only speak Spanish and our food is pupusa…

Just know that I am unique, beautiful, different, fun and quiet, passionate,

sparks like apple seeds spreading orchards as I go.

Just know I speak from the diverging roots

in many tongues

and know that you will sometimes hear curse words in my house

as the Wizard of Oz floats from the television

competing with righteous church music streaming through the halls

and I am German with strong rules that make me who I am.

I am from Kenyan, Mexican, Scottish, English,

Filipino, Guatemalan, Native Indigenous,

check my bloodline, my future is rich, erupting in faith

everywhere and everyone

the smell of a mother’s love

the sound of Spanish singers

my parents came from poverty

but my life is full of love and laughter

inside jokes and our food is like our culture,

so sit at the table and smell the dishes

see the abuelas

surrounding each of us

and everyone

they are everywhere

I am everyone

I am here.

Luke Smiraldo

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