Slam Poetry

By Rachel Barnard

Slam Poetry by Rachel Barnard


Slam poetry. Slam something durable and weighty in your face. Dunk a topic effortlessly while sweating. To mask the true grind you put the words through, speak them fast as a constant string. DNA is as long and complex as these sentences, start and end in something substantial, familiar. The middle tails. Abrupt an easy interpretation. Lingering, lost and found only when claps die down, leaving you standing there alone, amidst a crowd of harvested listeners.​​ 

Slam loudly in your face, awkward rehashing of voices from the past. Awkward makes you feel at the light touch that borders on a sensitive, private part of life. Nigger. Delivered from the mouth of talent, education, vehementation spits, bogging down the volume of words. This is not stuttering Arlo Guthrie and it is not staccato rap or spoken song. Conversational at times but mostly accusatory. Angry whining. I see these same performers out in an alley, speaking through entangled bodies.​​ 

Lips closed, for once, just listen to the sound of intelligence being sewn up. The stitches are uninteresting but the cloth is ironed afterwards. I find myself listening not to each sentence or word but to the sounds of change. The back-forth motion of periods belies the outer conflict that is circumscribed. Slam up exclamations, exit stage serene and proud. No more microphones backstage, there is no backstage, no door marked with stars and a title. There is just a poet exiting out a side door, unrecognized. Slams shut the door behind.



About The Author

Rachel Barnard’s greatest accomplishments have been eating an entire half gallon of ice cream in one sitting, winning a boot toss, and writing a novel about herself. Rachel Barnard wishes she were taller, that chocolate had no calories, and that books could be eaten after they were read. Rachel Barnard resides in the Pacific Northwest and loves to dress up, talk about writing and books, and dance. Rachel Barnard primarily writes young adult books, including Ataxia and the Ravine of Lost Dreams, At One’s Beast, and Donuts in an Empty Field (For the Love of Donuts Book 1).