‘Bring us your worst . . . ’

The ‘Anti-Slam’ poets wax erotic
By JACQUELINE HOUTON  |  August 22, 2007
BAD POETRY: And bawdy poets.

Early arrivals for Truth Serum Productions’ “Anti-Slam: Bad Poetry Slam” on August 12 filtered into the Milky Way Lounge just as stragglers from the JP hot spot’s prior event — a wedding — were exiting. Smiling guests in semi-formal wear carted away bridal spoils in beribboned boxes, making way for a crew of “slammers from the music, arts, and drag scenes,” as well as open-mic volunteers who’d been invited to bring “your worst poems . . . your most embarrassing childhood diary entries, your most annoying spoken-word pieces.” Event organizer Aliza Shapiro broke the ice with some bawdy lines from James Joyce, and then Johnny Blazes, promising that “not a seat in this house will be dry” after her act, recited a burlesque ballad while feigning fits of forgetfulness. Using her physique as a crib sheet, she removed elbow-length gloves and a taffeta gown to reveal strategically placed words at key moments of her poem, losing a pastie in the process — it was a very humid evening. Poetaster Mike also employed a prop, lugging a typewriter on stage to put the finishing touches on his epic pastoral about an enchanted wood. Interweaving words like “bountiful” and “effulgent” with Tourette’s-inspired obscenities, he proclaimed, “The forest is making me hard!” His cute furry fauna proved too much for him, and Mike brought his creation to a climax with high-pitched keening — part orgasm, part death knell — before swooning onto the stage.

Trucking in from Austin were the Cumbaya Slam Team — a trio who finished dead last at the Slam Nationals last year. While her compatriots provided interpretive dance accompaniment, one member offered an ode to “my vagina, my friend,” which, she claimed, remains “wise as Buddha” even after being “invaded by dirty anaconda cocks.”

Perhaps the most transfixing train wreck was the first movement of Chris Braiotta’s four-part opus “German director Werner Herzog Is a Birthing Coach.” In a deadpan impersonation of the auteur, Braiotta (an occasional Phoenix contributor) offered his client encouragement while musing on “the tiny, writhing ham” about to burst from her loins, “wrinkled and deformed like a corrupted melon.” As Braiotta’s booming baritone claimed dibs on the afterbirth, I couldn’t help thinking of the newlyweds who’d shared this spot hours before.

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