NPS 2009 Day 4: Cody Winger-Poetry Feature

Congrats to the Salt City Slam poets! The score from last night’s bout is up and we placed 3rd. Not the best placement, but hey, it really isn’t about the score. Every team had killer poets, we could only bring our best.

Great news for the Salt City Slam team and other SC slam enthusiasts: we DID rank in the Group Finalists. When talking to the slam poets for the initial post introducing them, many of them mentioned that they were trying to get as many group pieces together as they could, and the strategy of working on group pieces seems to have worked.  The Salt Lake team impressed judges enough to rank us #2. And while this entry was supposed to just be a showcase of Cody Winger, I’m going to have to bring in one of my favorite duo pieces to celebrate our ranking on the group finalists list.

If you’ve seen Cody Winger live, you’d be able to guess that choosing just one of his poems to feature is something of an impossible task. His style, as mentioned in the initial introduction blog to the Salt City Slam poets, is intense, dark yet often hopeful. But choose I will. And just remember that this is only one piece by him. If you live around SLC and can chill with the Salt City team at Baxters or Mestizo–you should! you’re missing out if all you’re doing is reading. Slam poetry, ultimately, is meant to be performed, and SEEN by an audience. And if you don’t live here in the city, just visit Cody’s myspace and find out if his tour this fall with DeAnn will bring him to your town (dates tba). And if the schedule doesn’t include your town, you could try requesting that he visit. 🙂

And now onto the poetry:

Saturday, June 06, 2009
By Cody Winger

You said
That you loved me
With all that you understood
Of that thing in your chest you called your

You just
Couldn’t give me what I wanted

I said,
That’s fucking stupid

In my confusion
and in my sorrow
and in my anger

I curled into cannon balls
On my father’s couch
My emotions propelled me like gunpowder
Into every ghost ship
Floating in the foggy sea of my memories
And you captained each ship
I so angrily wished I could sinkCody Winger
But could merely sail through

Convulsing and writhing
To the rhythm of my crying
After a few hours
This cannon ball eroded away into sand
On the beach of my fathers couch
And restless
Finally I slept.

But my friend,
I am no longer propelled
Into depths of depression
By my emotions towards you.

My body is no longer filled
With the eroded-cannon ball
Sand of sadness

My turmoil exists now
Only on the documents in which I inscribed
The tangible language
Of my sorrow.

My friend,
I am no longer angry or sad with you.

And now
Watching beautiful ghost ships
Sail off into the sunset

I understand why you could not give me what I wanted.

Because you do not understand
The simplicity of that thing
In your chest.
Your hearts hands
Are fantastically large and outstretched
For the world
Like a smile to a suicidal
But they have not yet returned to their core.
The do not know the warmth
Of embracing your own heart
Before another’s.

My friend,
If you were to ask me
What I wanted from you
I would say
That I wanted you to know
You wake up beautiful every morning
And when you rise
You are that much
Closer to the sun.
If you would just dream to catch it
To take it
And plug it into your heart
So that your blood would beat
And cleanse
The dark parts
Of your body
Where your self hatred clings
Like a suicidal to a smile

I wanted you to know
That when you lay your head to rest
Your brittle bones
Absorb the moonlight and
That light
Is miracle grow

To the millions of yellow rose seeds
Planted deep in your marrow.

I want you to know
That the lines of my poetry
Did not die like the lines of our
Once clasped together hands.

I want you to know
That you will always be my friend

But for the next person
You open the dusty padlock
To let them glimpse at that thing
In your chest:

I want you to know its simplicity.

Word Smoke and 100 Love Letters
Performed by Cody W + DeAnn

Here I am
Bountiful Utah
Barnes and Noble.
I undoubtedly realize 2 things.

1. This sounds like the shitty beginning to a shitty stand up act and
2. Unfortunately I actually am in Barnes and Noble.

With the other contenders being
American Eagle
Electric Beach Tanning Salon
I figured
At least Barnes and Noble had some poetry.

And poetry I did find.
But when I approached the poetry section
My eyes immediately came across a book titled:

Understanding poetry
Written and edited by
Some fuckhead with a degree.*

Right next to that was a book titled

100 Ways to Write the Best Love Poems
Written and edited by
Some fuckhead with a degree
Who probably hadn’t been laid in fifty years.

Right next to both of these
To my utter joy and relief
Boldly, sat

The Outlaw Bible of American Poetry

My mind immediately jumped to David Lerner:

“The literary world SUCKS DEAD DOG DICK”

Poetry is not understood
It is not studied

It is not raised in captivity
And shipped off to hundreds of middle schools
To be dissected by a bunch of kids
Scratching at their new installation of pubic hairs.

It is not a magazine
It is not an absolution.

There is no 100 ways to write the best love poetry.

It is not some French dude
Sipping wine and spouting off poetry so romantic
Women flock to him
Like crickets playing mating songs.

Poetry is inhaled.
It is rolled up and smoked

Poetry is feeling the grass beneath your feet
It is crying from laughing so hard

Poetry is putting too much sugar in your coffee
It is not enough salt in your chowder.

Poetry is the bacbone in my breakdown
It is the fiery atmosphere for my breakthrough

Poetry is laughing at the funny noises our bodies make
When having sex
It is loitering for the sake of being kicked out

Poetry is making out for hours in the back seat of a car
It is the weird inquisitive looks you get as people walk by
It is the sad realization that apartment complex parking lots
Don’t make the best places to have back seat car sex.

It is bleeding on to paper

It is orgasms commanding pens

It is crying into the margins

It is laughing into ears

It is breathing word smoke

It is spitting metaphor fire

It is tattooing passion

It is wearing expression like a therapist business coat

It is seeking stories

It is knowing backgrounds

It is feeling feelings.

It is knowing
That the best way to write 100 love poems
Is to stare into your lovers’ eyes
Until the sun rises
And just then
The flower of their soul will bloom
And you will know
Why people use flowers
To express love

I hope
If one day my poetry finds its way
On to a Barnes and Noble shelf
The reader will know
I pried open my padlocked chest
Pulled a painting
From the war torn brick wall of my rib cage
And with a thin piece of paper and pencil
Lightly scribbled over the top of the paper
To translate that fraction of my soul into words
Before placint it back into my chest for a later time.

I want to breathe word smoke.

*italics added for emphasis and are my own doing

For more info on Cody and the Salt City Slam poets, please visit Salt City Arts. And the second poem is so much better when you see it live. So if you can: Come support your local poets.