The road to Nationals is paved with blood, sweat, tears…

…and good intentions.

So maybe the last bit is a little bit of a cliche, but it is, thus far, the truth. As a first-time national slam team member, there might have been more tears than I realized I was signing up for (no blood, yet; but I think Katrina Guarascio might have spilled a few drops when she kicked a table this one time at practice). Buckets of sweat puddle the city in all of our practice spots (it’s been a hot summer, y’all), and plenty of good intention as we #SpitFreeSpeech and #SpitTheTruth in all of the poetry we’ve written together as a team.

So far, what I’ve learned is that not only is group writing, memorizing, and reciting really hard at times, it’s equally rewarding. And aside from that, since it was a lesson I’ve mentioned multiple times before, I’ve learned that we’re not your typical slam team. Slam of Enchantment has participated in two regional competitions so far (Southwest Shootout and Denver 40oz.), and while we’ve placed in… well, neither, I’m so very proud of my team, because we’re digging undeniably deep with our poetry, taking bold steps like spitting a love poem to flooding the audience’s faces with… well, let’s just say we’ve made them more than a bit uncomfortable.

And it’s been wonderful, and tear-filled, and emotional, and difficult and still: we are almost there. Nationals used to seem like this faraway star where only the greatest of the great were permitted, but the realization that I competed, and worked on my craft, and made other efforts to not only get on a team, but also commit to it and to go to the National Poetry Slam is that much more attainable. And in about three weeks, I’ll be in Oakland with the rest of my first-time team to spread the reason we came into this community in the first place: people, not points.

As with both regional events so far, I’m looking forward to the imminent strikes of inspiration, as I look forward to every experience, every slam, every single word. If there’s nothing else to be said about rooms full of poets, we certainly hold words very dear. And maybe we bleed for them, cry for them, sweat for them… but with all of them, we welcome them in, or respond, with only the best intentions.

And that’s all I can ask for from this entire season’s experience.

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