Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Slam Poetry: New Word for Love

This video is of Ottawa slam master Rusty Priske orating his work "A New Word for Love," which is disarmingly smile-inducing. He has more powerful stuff, of a certainty, but this one has a certain thing to say about inadequacy of language and the power of aesthetics, kind of. You'll find the text after the video, but, because it's slam, reading it will not give you the power that seeing it will, even if the video is rubbish because poets can't seem to master filming things. If you like what you saw/read, he's got a few other videos up on the Youtube, including a work inspired by a Caravaggio painting that I really enjoy. His blog's at rustythepoet.wordpress.com


    A New Word for Love

Don’t you just love a good meal?
A lovely dish served with love
Like braised artichoke hearts with
Passionfruit for dessert?
Then I love going with you to a
Movie after dinner.
I loved that film we saw last
With the two lovers who showed
That love will triumph as their
Heart leapt in everlasting love
For the full two hours.
And I loved being there with you
Because I love you.
But is that the right thing to say if I can
Use the same word for you
That I used for dinner and a movie, too?
We need a new word for love.
A word that wraps around your tongue
Like a sticky-sweet, ambrosia-drenched
Full-body hug of love.
But there is that word again.
I have no shortage of love -
I love my friends
I love my neighbours
But is that really true?
How can one word also mean that OTHER
Kind of love?
The knee-quaking, earth-shaking,
Brain-liquidating kind of love.
And if I say one kind minimizes
The other, do I sound like the
Closed-minded who say that
One marriage can minimize
Even if they are both formed
Out of love?

But there is that word again.

I’m not talking about that fire, now
That turns into just one of
Those things that torch songs
And American Idol contestants
Trade for legitimacy.

No – I’m talking about that slow burn
That sinks into your soul
And brands you like a Texas
Cattle-man marking you for
The circle bar ranch -
But the circle is shaped more
Like a heart and the bar
Has the markings of cupid all over it.

It isn’t the love you can have
For a good cup of tea or a warm
Night in early June.
No, it is the kind of love that hooks
You in even when things are bad.
The kind of love that shows you
Not to be so quick to dismiss
The power of tears
As one could drown you quicker than
The deepest ocean.
The kind of love that can magnify the pain
That she feels so that you would
Trade anything to feel the pain yourself
Rather than see it in her.

That kind of love sounds
Pretty awful, actually.
But it isn’t.
Forget the love of a great new poem or song
Because this other kind of love
Makes the good feel better too.
It is the sunset kind of love
The spring flowers kind of love
The essence of two month old kittens
Brewed into a potion of pure joy
Kind of love.

But it is more than that, too.

It is the ‘I have trouble sleeping
When you aren’t here’ kind of love.
The ‘you are never far even when
We aren’t near’ kind of love.
It’s the ‘rolling over and seeing you
Sleeping there for nearly 20 years’
Kind of love and
‘Thinking that we are just getting
Started’ kind of love.

That’s a lot for one word to handle
But maybe that’s okay since it is a
‘Words unspoken’ kind of love
And sometimes a word is not enough
Even when that word is…

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