Magical. That was how JoAnn described the Open Mic with the Street Poets. Inspiring, is what I’ve been telling people. Poetry is not really my thing, though a wise(ish) friend of mine told me I’m too young and too early in my writing career to say things like “Non-fiction and poetry aren’t really my thing.” And he was right.
The event took place in Crown Heights in someone’s apartment which was packed with people on couches, chairs and standing, as a space in the middle of the room was cleared out as a makeshift stage and there was a little partition blocking off space by the window which functioned as the smoking area. As JoAnn said it feels like “the very essence of underground”.
My mind was blown by, poet after poet, as we sipped 'poet’s punch' which seemed to get stronger as the night went on. There was so much talent in the room that I not only questioned my worth as a writer, I questioned my dream to return to London. Being back in New York has taught me so much and is continuing to do so. I didn’t know how to read on stage, I didn’t realize there was a different between readings and storytellings and I didn’t know poetry could feel like this until I came back here. However, waiting at the bus stop with JoAnn at 4.30 in the morning, eating a falafel in the misting rain, did sort of feel Londonesque.
But as I continued my weekend I found words popping into my head at random moments, whether waking up in bed or on the bus, and I slowly began to write the first poem I’ve written in years. If that’s not magical, I don’t know what is.