Play on (Omar Musa)
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We need people to talk poetry to each other. That's how we communicate our values, our hearts, the things that we've learned that make us who we are.

Marc Smith was the creator and founder of the poetry slam movement, who started an open mic night at the "Get Me High" lounge  in November 1984.

A poetry slam  is a competition at which poets read or recite original work. After the poet performs, each judge (five in standard) awards a score to that poem. Most slams enforce a time limit of three minutes, where props, costumes, and music are always forbidden.

Slam has not been without its critics; academics or poet opposite slam poetry because of its inherently competitive nature and lack of stylistic diversity.



This is a warning to everyone.

Tomorrow is not your friend. Tomorrow is a visitor whose arrival you cannot prepare for, whose moodswings you cannot anticipate. You cannot anticipate because you never know whether he arrives at your door bearing flowers or a handgun, but you know that he approaches by the hour.

This is a warning.

Never let the fire in the lamp burn low. Never stop making your music, even if the record is scratched, the needle is snapped and the mic is unplugged- play on.

Even when you stand looking out over treacherous reefs, where coral is like the blades of razors, where the sky is glimmering coal above sharks and shimmering shoals. Where you wade through tides of information (some right, some wrong, some plain insane) waves of opinion so powerful they threaten to drown you- play on.

Even when it feels as if friendship is a battleground, where the breeze is rich with ego and mistrust, where the blazing sun is blackened by a billion arrows that sing with the clarity of birds. Where we exchange pugilistic words in bourbon bars and hotted up cars, where we feel as if we are the flotsam and jetsam of marooned ideals- play on.

Even when the rejection letters stack up like a pyramid and they tell you that you have no flow and that no-one wants to hear an Aussie rapper and no radio station will play you and you scream and scream and nobody hears you- play on.

But I'm not sure why we should, when clearly the odds are stacked against us. And I know that men's hearts are pastures that bloom with darkness.

All I know is that I am lucky to be here and that some day soon this m++d of passion and lust will be ashes and dust. And they will sprinkle me back into the soil from which I sprang and I don't want my final whisper to be a lament. I want to say that I leapt from the cliffs when the moment demanded it. That I sipped from the chalice when it was handed to me. That even though the record was scratched, the needle was snapped and the mic was unplugged, I played on.

This is a warning to everyone. Tomorrow is not your friend. So never let the fire in the lamp burn low. Cause you never know when today might end.


"Carpe diem quam minimum credula postero" (Latin)

= "Seize the Day, putting as little trust as possible in the future". Horace