Slam poets visit and perform for students


Sam Klein/Sagmore staff

Slam poets Marlon Carey and Regie Gibson perform “Ask a Teacher,” their poem dedicated to librarian Lynne Cohen. SAM KLEIN / SAGAMORE STAFF

Sam Klein, Visuals Manager

Slam poets Regie Gibson and Marlon Carey performed during E-block on Thursday, Feb. 25 in the auditorium.

Librarian Lynne Cohen, who is retiring from the high school this week, introduced the poets, as well as the musicians accompanying them. Brian David played drums and Blake Newman played bass throughout the performance.

Gibson began with an untitled poem about finding personal identity, setting a certain tone for the rest of the performance.

Slam poet Reggie Gibson performs. SAM KLEIN / SAGAMORE STAFF

“Use the music and the poetry trapped inside you as your weapon. Do you dig? Do you dig?” Gibson asked.

Carey continued the strong, upbeat atmosphere with a poem called “Poetic Dispute,” told as a discussion between two poets at the bus stop.

The tone of the poetry became more serious when Gibson performed a poem written by a friend of his who died, called “A Testimony in Court of the First Cat We Ever Had that Blew His Cool. The First Murderer, Cain.” The poem was about the history of praising violence and holding murderers in esteem.

Carey sampled Queen’s “Bohemian Rhapsody” in his next poem, which turned into more of a rap than a poem, accompanied by both drums and bass. It was the story of a teenager killing someone and the ensuing chase, ending with a call to his mother from his car – “Mama, life had just begun, and now I’ve gone and thrown it all away.”

At multiple points throughout the poems, there were lines that seemed to allude to Cohen’s retirement. One of which appeared in Gibson’s next poem, which was about sneaking out and partying as a teenager.

“This moment will never come again,” Gibson rapped. “This moment contains a forever and forevers only come once an eternity.”

Carey’s next poem, however, was much more humorous, titled “Chocolate Nachos,” describing exactly that.

The next two poems – one by Gibson, one by both poets – contained numerous Shakespeare references and quotes.

Gibson introduced the first as “a retort to the existential question that Hamlet asked: to be or not to be?” Much of the poem was a slangy version of that speech and other Shakespeare lines. The next was two performances of Sonnet 18 – a fairly accurate one by Gibson and a modernized version by Carey.

Slam poet Marlon Carey performs his sample of Queen’s “Bohemian Rhapsody,” accompanied by both drums and bass. SAM KLEIN / SAGAMORE STAFF

The final poem, which both poets shared, was written for Cohen. They introduced it by talking about Cohen’s tenure, and then shared personal stories about the importance of teachers.

A major part of the poem was the call-and-response section that involved the audience. It was a fitting finale for Cohen’s 32nd year at the high school.

The call-and-response went as follows:

“If you want to learn it/They can teach it/ All your goals/ They help you reach them/ Got a question/ There’s no secret/ Put your hands up/ Ask a teacher.”