Tuesday night I cozied up to the tiny stage at The Bowery Poetry Club, drink in hand and beret perfectly tilted atop my thin pale head, warming up my snapping fingers. But why? Why after seven years in New York did I wait until this week to step into this landmark? Well, because I'm not really a poetry guy. But I am a nerd guy. And Tuesday night, as I had discovered that very day, was going to be a "Nerd Slam," where geekanerds would gather and drop linguistic bombs about their obsessions with Star Wars and comic books and action figures and Buffy and ATOGS (all that other good stuff--I just made it up). Or at least that's what I was expecting--uncomfortably confessional or fanficcy pop culture poems read by nervous, under-prepared genuine geekanerds. Unfortunately, what I got were legitimate poets reciting pieces that for the most part had almost nothing "nerd" about them other than themes of social alienation or a single throwaway Star Wars reference. Not to say that these performances weren't good, because many of them were great. It just didn't scratch that geekanerd itch I had going.
The two grand exceptions to my nerd disappointment were the host, Shappy, and the winner of the slam, Geoff Trenchard. That's Shappy in the video above, spitting "I Am That Nerd." The video is not from Tuesday night, and if you can imagine, he did it even better than that for us. As soon as he started rolling this out I knew I hadn't made a mistake by walking into that club. "I'm the motherfucker what gave Darth Vader asthma" has cracked me up in all six of the recordings I've watched. Check out Shappy's webpage for more poetry about Centipede and Pac-Man and ATOGS. There's also a video of him doing "I Am That Nerd" on HBO's Def Poetry Jam in '03, which is pretty damn sweet.
Hit the jump for winner Geoff Trenchard's persona poem in the voice of everyone's favorite blue mutant (hint: not Beast or Archangel or Mystique... though you're getting closer!)
I hated my mother for leaving me
on the door of the monastery
as if I was waste so hazardous
you have to take it some place
specially equipped to dispose of it.
It wasn't till the Brothers
read me the story of Moses
that I began to understand.
Some of gods plans are so precise
they need an instrument that looks
like nothing anyone has ever seen.
While I am a Christian first
it took me seeing Errol Flynn play Robin Hood
to love in Jesus.
If you fly threw the air with the greatest of ease
you can't expect the audience on the ground
to understand your point of view.
For a time I thought that the
only way to keep the hordes of lynch mobs at bay
was to let them call you freak
but only after they've paid the price of admission.
Now I know better.
Now I know why I am here.
There are those that think themselves so blasphemously powerful
they can see all of gods image in their own face
and will who burn any that don't resemble it.
So I am here to fight
not for the humanity I see before me
but for the humanity I could.
Now THAT'S what I wanted out of a Nerd Slam! Check out more of Geoff's projects at Suicide Kings, or just e-mail him to tell him how much you loved his poem. And next year, I want to see more of you true geekanerds step up and show these poets what "Nerd" really means!