From the moment I woke it was all wrong, like someone had put my brain in backwards. I was tense, frenetic, nervous, anxious, peeved, miffed, muddled, and, in so many words, wild.
Later, of course, I looked up into the sky and saw the moon: full and bright and glowing like a saucer of insanity.
It’s not so much the moon’s ‘fault’, but I can’t help offload some of the blame to La Luna. After all, if she didn’t tug and pull at the ocean, maybe she wouldn’t tug and pull at my neurons – but then, yes, a world without waves would be rather dull…
It was Aristotle and Pliny the Elder who first subsumed the moon into human ailments. They argued the brightness induced epilepsy and bipolarity, and while I have no experience with epilepsy I can certainly attest to feeling unlike myself when the moon is most full.
So last night we had SLAMZAS. And it was fun, maybe not as full as the moon, but it happened, it went ahead, we had competitors, an audience, judges, a musician, a venue: all the ingredients for a good night.
We just needed an MC…
Technically, of course, I was the MC. Except you wouldn’t have known I’ve been speaking in front of crowds for years by the look of me. I stuttered, stumbled, misplaced whole sentences and withered on the vine. A part of me, the part still me, was shouting at the back of the upsidedown backtofront brain saying SPEAK! SPEAK DAMN YOU! but the part of me, the moon part, was doing the speaking, and it was moon-talk, not human talk.
The Greeks knew a thing or two about the moon, and ok it doesn’t have anything to do with epilepsy, but it does affect us. Maybe not all of us, just some, and maybe only some of us some of the time: but it does affect us.
The Greeks also knew a thing or two about poetry. Ever hear of a certain nobody called Homer? No, not that one… Homer was the kind of guy who’d get up to do a poem and still be speaking two books later. The way the Greeks saw it, poetry was meant to be spoken – no paper, certainly no phones, just pure wordage and a captive audience.
It was primitive and tribal and beautiful enough to still be influencing Millenians three millennia later.
Someone asked me last night why it had to be a competition, why can’t we just share the words? And that’s valid. But we already have a place to do that, it’s called Stanzas. Stanzas is a safe cushion of warmth and love and openness where anyone can join in without fear of repercussion or oppression or hate or even embarrassment.
SLAMZAS on the other hand, that’s where we pull the rug out, take away the safety net and make you work for the words. Stanzas is the kind of place those who listened to Homer would have gone. SLAMZAS…. I’d like to think that’s somewhere Homer himself would have enjoyed.
Not every moon is equal, not every poem a slam. We have to listen more. Listen to our bodies when they say Not Today… listen to our words when they want to be whispered… listen to each other, even when we say things we don’t want to hear.
Maybe that’s what Lunatics are: the ones who hear; the ones who talk to the moon.
This blog post was written by Shane ‘What’s My Name?’ Vaughan. If you have something to say and nowhere to say it, why not drop us a line at firstname.lastname@example.org