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Spoken Word

I definitely feel out of place,

at this late-night poetry

slam, over 30 years older

than this crowd of teens and


who are speaking

their bitter truth:

the fracture of relation-

ships, the lines of intersection,


of racist taunts

and kicks

to the fucking head

(from the anti-queer brigade),

and it’s not that I can’t relate—

fag! tossed my way

from all the kids

now grey with age, playing

sudoku by the fire

but that’s another shoddy

poem I’ll likely write—

for within this present moment

Naomi has hit her stride,

hooking me along

with her inflection,

familiar as it is,

an echo of a hundred thousand

poets who rarely glance

upon a page,

or don a pair of glasses

sliding down

along their nose, one that’s

burrowed in a book

these flashy vogues

have yet to read,

and her eyes are seared in mine,

perhaps wondering

why I’m here,

so straight and pale a visage,

so Luddite

without a phone,

that I’ve likely never heard of

Twitch and TikTok,

knowing that I’d be lost—

especially in the latter,

where every word’s a beat,

every syllable

always locked

in recollection,

where youth and fleeting beauty


in the shadow of a bomb

that’s failed to show,

for generations,

of which poets

abandoned birds and blooms

to howl against its menace.

Andreas Gripp

July 20, 2023

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