Poetry Slam

Oprettet: 01.08.2002 - 11:53

Digterportræt: Poetry slam - en video

Staceyann Chin en poetry slammer.
Instruktion:Ulrik Wivel. 28 min. Det danske Filminstitut, 2001.

Den nu historiske Manhattan-profil vises i filmens indledende scener, vi er i New York, hvor Chin nu er bosat. Filmen viser optagelser fra en poetry cafe, hvor digterne vises i aktion. "Slammerne" skal i løbet af få minutter fange publikums opmærksomhed, og under højlydt jubel gives karakter efter en skala 1-10. Gennem runderne minimeres antallet af digtere, sådan at man til sidst kårer de endelige vindere i forskellige kategorier. Som hovedpersonen siger: "Poetry slam er en tilskuersport"..."Folk kommer for at blive underholdt og se digterblodet flyde"..."Det er lyrikkens atletik".
Her er underholdning med mening og hjerteblod for alle pengene.

Filmen veksler mellem disse optagelser og interviews med Staceyann Chin - og det er er barsk livshistorie, som her fortælles:

Født på Jamaica, hvor moderen kom fra underklassen. Faderen kinesisk forretningsmand, og ifølge moderen er Staceyann undfanget ved hans voldtægt af hende. Moderen rejser hurtigt efter fødslen til Canada og efterlader datteren og hendes bror hos en grandtante og hos faderen. I begyndelsen kommer der breve og små gaver, siden intet.

Da Staceyann er ca. 9 år kommer moderen tilbage, alt synes godt - "Mom is here". Moderens formål er imidlertid ikke at genoptage forbindelsen med børnene, men derimod at gifte sig, sådan at hun kan få opholdstilladelse i Canada. Siden har hun aldrig hørt fra sin mor.

Chin, der er lesbisk, fortæller i interviewet, at hun i starten da hun kom til New York, havde nok at gøre med blot at overleve. Via en veninde kom hun i kontakt med poetry slam-miljøet, og her fik hun en platform, hvor hendes vrede kunne skriges ud i provokerende slam-digte: "Jeg vil være det dårlige eksempel jeres forældre bruger".
Digtene bruges i høj grad i en politisk sammenhæng f. eks. kampen mod racisme. Hun funderer over om hun nogensinde vil komme sig helt over sine livserfaringer, men slutter med at sige:"Jeg prøver at lære at tilgive min mor, at hun rejste og aldrig kom tilbage" og midlet er digte "der er så ærlige at de slammer!"
En stærk oplevelse på video.

MARCUS, MARLEY, MORRISON & ME

Bob Marley playing the blues
and I am thinking of this woman
Amadu dancing with the dead
and her hips are writhing in my bed

I am tempted to reject her
limbs - supple and springing
from the same soil that salted
the first seeds of this exiled revolution
Jamaica is in her roots
Brooklyn tangled in the knots of her hair
I am tempted to seek residence there

This woman with the caravan of colors
is blue-black bruises soothed and mellowed
into the yellow under my skin
orange cotton headwraps and red silk slippers
she is fire in this belly of mine
tensing in proud resolutions around
these round dips that swell in times of plenty
these curved points that flatten under want

I have never been sturdy in the hips
only breast tips sweetened with brown molasses
never black enough until I came to America
never dark enough to call myself artist
I am learning how to find myself now
in the high cheekbones reflected from my mothers smile
in the black faces I dream on death row
in the made-up faces of battered-lesbians on the A-train at night
I am frightened for the faces that look back at me
eyes shifting and wide
tinged with the red of the blood
we must lose before this war is over

Garvey and Marley only lit the fire
Morrison and we steady pushing wood
the growing flame forcing us to acknowledge
this generation’s strange need for water
our need to cry
for this world gone completely global
and the powers that have always been
are only just warming to the idea of change
still no change coming through the old steel doors
of the Red Hook housing projects
only men in dark blue suits shouting
- spread your n*gger-legs boy
we just want to see what you have on you

Multi-racist trigger fingers
get real comfortable when they know
- even a black jury will acquit
there’s really nothing to it
kill a woman after you have sex with her
and it becomes domestic violence
nothing to do with the authorities
their business is wallets
and candy bars
and bullets
...and the bullets
the bullet- proof scenarios remain uncountable
and still nobody held accountable
for these dry spells and this unending floods of colored blood
wetting the chalk-lines drawn around dark bodies to keep them caged
in this free society of Friday night liberals
I cannot tell you how it hurts to be black and woman
tied to this yoke of all men are equal
when they are white and heterosexual

I am rambling along an ivy branch of exclusive leagues –
country clubs
where men decide if I am allowed
to eject something foreign from my own womb
-be it rape or error
it has always been my right
always been my body to do with as I choose
so let me lay it down for this wretched cause
let me lay it down next to this woman I have wanted all my life
let me reach beyond the barrel of the dark rage
to find the cool rush of a reggae breeze

in this tiny moment of indecision

Let me balance the sharp click of teeth
with the soft underground of a woman’s tongue
let me lick the sweet of a little brown sugar
to camouflage this taste of blood
we all have all learned to swallow
with this raw revolution food

Fra Staceyann Chins website: Poems in Progress

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