By Jim Schutze
By Rachel Watts
By Lauren Drewes Daniels
By Anna Merlan
By Lee Escobedo
As a freezing rain fell outside, I stood at the Soda Gallery mike about to rhyme the words "tariff" and "sheriff." There were laugh breaks and sympathetic snaps. I may not have been, as Militant X calls it, "conscious," and the only serious issues in my poem were about my seriously bad driving, but it was as close as I was willing to come to sharing my soul with people who wear berets.
The Soda Gallery slam had only three contestants, a guy named "Drama" whose verses were told from the perspective of a Southern slave, a woman reciting love poems to her girlfriend and Militant X. His first poem was the sweet one, about the sun rising on freshly fallen tears. His second one, he said, was "A love poem to America."
I poised my pen to take notes during his reading.
There are a couple of half-executed scribbles before I finally managed to get down the phrase, "America, I want to butt-fuck you with an AK-47." That was about the same time that one of the poets grabbed his school-aged daughter by the hand and led her outside to take a refreshing break in the icy rain. I was shocked. I wasn't sure if it was the content or hearing those words in a place that sells every kind of delicious soda pop one could hope to swallow. I had never felt so square, at least not until a couple of days later, when Militant X e-mailed me the words to "Booty Juice."
I feel comfortable saying only this: The title of "Booty Juice" is not a metaphor. The poem is about the consumption thereof, and it ends with the words "Bon appetit!" I never thought I would learn to appreciate sweet, innocent angst, but I have Militant X and poetry slam to thank for it. Is your soul so, like, totally dark and black like the night? Tell me all about it. So long as it's got nothing to do with juice.