Team Denver

Sweatshop By Jose Guerro and Eli Lynch

I remember waking up and her already being gone
She would catch the ruta before the sun and arrive home after dawn
Being awake that early in Juarez can be dangerous for a woman
She always lied and said she was a fashion designer but in reality she spent long hours Sewing holes in designer jeans that her children would never wear
The Maquiladora swallowed her and she just became part of the machine

Slavery is the epitome of capitalism
A system built on inequality
For some to taste this kind of excess
Others have to live in poverty
So this is not some unfortunate side effect of a society built in the image of a pyramid it is the purpose

Every step you take was made comfortable at someone else’s expense
It’s easy to point your fingers at CEO’s and foreman
But the shirt on your back puts a weight on your shoulders

How did we allow the earth to become so lopsided?
The world’s axis is tilting but we are standing still

The key to our obedience is a thirst for possessions
Cause they’ve got us so conditioned that we purchase our oppression
Now we’ve all switched to high definition deception

If the purpose of Democracy is to ensure equality
but money equals power then there is no room for poverty

And capitalists thrive on separate classes so they’re opposed to this
So it’s impossible for Capitalism and Democracy to coexist
Socialists and independent journalists have noticed this
But the t.v. won’t tell you that, cause the real enemy owns that shit

So they control the information, economic weaponry
So we fight among ourselves and never ask “who’s the enemy?”

90 percent of the wealth is owned by less than 10 percent of the populous
It would seem then that the answer to this question would be obvious
The problem is the also own the media on top of this
And News Corp is consumed by two thirds of the world’s audience
And they literally went to court to defend their right to lie to the public
There’s no way to speak out, they’ll disconnect your mic if you try and discuss it
So why aren’t peoples disgusted?
The equation can’t equal getting mad if
An untainted source of information is subtracted
So the First Amendments lost if they pretend that being honest
Isn’t necessary if it starts infringing on the profits
Information’s disregarded for more profitable topics
But they own the information box so there’s no way to stop it

It’s not just the NEWS
My mind has been swooshed with images of success

From a glistening Michael Jordan dunking on giants with ease
To a series of soccer getting players crossed and statues of Cristiano Rinaldo rising
And I’ve been told these moments where brought to me by these shoes

When Nike’s are worn by legends they become symbols of national pride
Which makes me wonder, who built them?
Whose mother built them?
Who has blisters on their hands so our hero’s don’t blister on their toes
These logo’s are nothing to be proud of
Because the slaves where not freed just outsourced

A knight is nothing without a blacksmith
So why do athletes hoard the glory of glamorous commercial montages
If they where still burdened by honesty surely this sweat wouldn’t be the color of Gatorade
The stars would be to tired to run
Fingers to blistered to dunk

But if a knight is nothing without a blacksmith
Then these slaves are responsible for these victory’s too

They were never blessed with Body Armor so Nike swooshes whipped exposed backs scaring them with Addidas Stripes like Just Do It
They reached for Converse Stars but couldn’t get enough Air
Jordans laces pulled them back into slavery

They’ve sewed tongues into your shoes rendering them voiceless
Having trouble swallowing their malnutrition
Have you ever wondered whose souls you’re walking on?

They are the souls that sew your souls
The little feet that fill big shoes
The weary backs that hold the globe
The little hands that stitch the world

And they’ve been feeding us propaganda since our conception
But we paid for it
We asked them to lie to us
So when establishing your personality with logos
When wearing you poverty like a badge
Never mistake yourself for the oppressed

We are the Monsters
We are the cogs that keep the world spinning tilted
We too, have been swallowed by the machine

Avatar By Dominique Sample and Kyle Sutherland

Female: Dominique Sample
Male: Kyle Sutherland


You may not have realized it yet, but I am a woman, therefore; I am enchanting
It happened before you were born
I dance choreographed waltz with the universe.
I was very much a part of the original design.
Once I was born
I worshipped you. Called you goddess, sang praises,
you were my world.
I yielded my body as your playground.
you were so young then,
mischievously playing in my puddles.
I called them oceans.
staying safe in your jungle gyms and desert sandboxes
Until you grew older
carved vulgarities into my bones that I didn't even know you knew.
What did you become?

Father taught me that everything female is less than male, that she is a commodity,
A piece of meat, a patch of soil, I was just doing what I was taught
So i knocked out her teeth
and used them as white picket fences
I am rage, I am war

Man is to blame for the expulsion from The Garden of Eden

I am a woman defiled
shoreline mascara stencils my face ugly
I am robbed
you drill me for all that I possess
cut down my trees
and still push against the trunk of my spine

i thrust glorious,
everywhere triumphant
she cries like hysterical city laughter
I have dominion over her
Body will and testament

You don't even look at me.
Your obsessed with Industrial landscapes like my hills aren't enough.
These curves never satisfy your aesthetics

This suppression writes itself on my knuckles
her heart swings like a broken birds wing
I pay no attention to her changing body
These scars tattoo her as highways- but I refuse to walk
So I use her

She never says no {I never say no}
But I know he sees the misery written in my body
stooping beneath the weight of my machines
her dying forests are my smokers lungs

Palms bulldoze my body limp and lifeless.
i am his rode kill.
his sky smothered in smog
he binge drinks my blood
and complains when I'm pale.
You dig out my earth until I am desertified,
And empty.
You tell me I'm not the same woman you married like it's my fault

Cheating on her has always been about muffling the power of her core,
dancing hurricane warfare around fault lines
her volcano belly butterflies are about to erupt
these divorce papers are apocalyptic, I know this, but I still chase profit

If you're at all interested, I've begun to name the effects of this abuse like countries
You can catch it on the news.
Cause I am shaking...Haiti,
drowning New York in sulfur tears,
my tidal tongue swallows Tibet,
the blood around Louisiana has grown black.
This hatred you've infused scorches Zimbabwe's forests DAILY.
Go ahead, bitch, scream
lets hear you challenge the integrity of my cities with your wind
how powerful are you really?

I'm changing form, this process is unstoppable
I will smash you, end you,
If i sign these divorce papers

And I am your- destruction.
But I will rebuild.
Cause what you didn't know,
my greatest mistake,
what I forgot to tell you,
is I am the uproar of oppressed nations.
And a revolution is long overdue.
Let a man step out on his woman
and watch the earth....quake

Cassette By Libby Howard, Kyle Sutherland, Jose Guerrero, Elizabeth Cheever

Subway stations are sleeping. a young boy in shredded clothes pounds his lonely bones on buckets. His flow shakes the ground. he keeps throbbing through the night. He's not quite homeless. Just homesick with those sticks sticks those sick sticks stuck to palms. He is a beat master. play on young padawon. sssshhhhkkkk

Press your finger to the PLAY button. feel the fire under your skin. Music is magic and magic is music hear the click like a cymbal. like a mic. like a black cord snaking with ampmeters. hear a click like sssshhhhkkkk

The orchestra tunes like a rising wave, crashing over him on his conductor's platform and rushing to the audience behind him. He has always felt like the captain at the helm of a great ship with his baton in his hand, navigating Mozart's storms and Beethoven's reefs and Vivaldi's wild swells in a boat of wood and strings rowed with cello bows. sssshhhhkkkk

The woman lays still in a hospital bed. The room reeks of dried tears. Her hand feels the shadow of her baby. It's heartbeat, snug under flesh. Why couldn't she have just kept this one. The silence is making her sick to her stomach. Making music out of misery. sssshhhkkk

Hear a click like listening to the first song on the first mix cd your first crush ever gave you.
hear a rip concert ticket rip ticket rip. headphones.
snare drums.
tap shoes. like a cassette tape deck dipped in the heart-melting, gut-wrenching, head-throbbing that can only be capture through the power of sssshhhhkkkk
The flies are buzzing like trombones, blaring in the brassy heat of the orchard, the leaves smack together like cymbals, his hands stretch like a bassist's, straining for high notes, for the ripe peach flesh that hangs heavy in the branches. He is sweating piano keys; the sun is bright hot saxophone, the fruit thumps in the basket like a snare drum. sssshhhhkkkk

A girls' dusty tribal feet dance around fires asking for rain she rushes this rhythm, she is parched, the music quenches drum heart thirst, centuries of Hopi footsteps treaded on the round earth chanting chanting, chanting waiting for something momentous sssshhhhkkkk
This Arizona melody is stuck in his head, this desert melting away a cassette tape with this heat, heat, heat like hell on earth, shoes burning he beat turning walking, running running running fences flashlights fear freedom freedom fighting freedom, SOMEONE HELP. He's lost in this dessert they call hip hop trying to cross the border back to his home blues. ssssshhhkkk

Marching, stepping, shooting, looting, stomping, stomping, like robots, robots, robots. We are no longer humans but killing machines, killing beats with more passion than we killed the afghanees. I am the aftermath of war, I am a monster I'm a beast and with this shhhkkkkkk. Brought back to reality, bullets piercing flesh, phat beats. Bullet to head. base beats. sounds of death invades my head and I scream stop, drop beats not bombs. ssssshhhhkk.

Music is magic and magic is music. bass, key tone, loose it, Beethoven composed his 9th symphony deaf. Which is why its so perfect there was no insecurity in his tones, for he could not judge them. Could not hear the critics, or the crowd, or the music, he just felt it. Like thunder, like kick drum, like heartbeat. Like we sing louder, so you can hear us in the heavens we are shorelines crashing voiceless and you can never hear us crying or breaking down like machine, boom box, cd player, a tape, a track, like the gospel, like the boom like the bang bang can you hear us? Our voices break those huge walls of clouds the sun shines down like a break beat beat like robots, drop like ripe fruit, like drum thirst, like hip hop, gunshots, balloon pop,

like subways stations are sleeping.

Scores By Eli Lynch, Elizabeth Cheever, Libby Howard

My very first poetry slam I wore my hippest ripped jeans and a shaky smile too big for my scared shitless face-I was dressed to impress.

In the very last round a judge in a black hat and jeans gave me a 6.2.

I went home that night... glowing, beaming, pumping with adrenaline, knowing that I could improve, that I could grow up to be something more, something great, something powerful, that one day, if I worked really hard, I might be a poet.

I stand here now, three years and three notebooks full of sloppy metaphors later in front of five judges who would call me a poet before they've heard me speak a word.

Slam Poetry was started in the late 1990's by an entrepreneur named Russell Simmons. He was tired of going to boring poetry readings where nobody was screaming, "If I wanted monotone," he said "I would read a book." He assigned five random judges in the audience to give the poems scores on a scale from 8-10

We stand here now in front of five judges who would not have given us the courtesy of that 6.2, who would have sent us home feeling like we had no further to go, like we had accomplished all we could, like that scared shitless smile was the best we could be.

Judges, give this poem a seven.

Last summer I learned on Chicago Public Radio that this scoring system is not a coincidence of kindness but a mandate, an eight-point minimum designed to keep us safe, to keep us happy, to keep our fragile egos from shattering under the weight of honesty. How could we allow this kind of blatant exploitation?

As if we didn't all have to slam with a ten-point range to get here,

as if we are children, as if the only way to empower us is to coddle us, don't tell me I need the encouragement.

A pen doesn't make you a poet anymore than running red lights on your fixie bike makes you an anarchist. Don't boo scores higher than a 9.2-blind applause is meant for open mic night. My self worth does not depend on the scores I get.

Judges, stand up and give this poem a seven.

I am 18 years old. Of legal age to drive, to vote, to smoke my lungs black, to cradle an automatic weapon, deadly, with bullets flinging from fingers but I can't handle mediocre score in a poetry slam?

Respect should not have an age limit. We don't need this. I know that I'm not flawless, we have all written shitty poems and it's okay. Through practice comes glory.

We have given hours, given passion given our words we can handle your criticism. We've worked hard for these scores, it's okay to want to win when you've given so much. Competition and community can coexist. Not all contest is ruthless.

Since when did brave become synonymous with loud?

Judges, I dare you to give this poem a seven.

Make a difference that will outlive this bout. Three minutes and thirty seconds of sincerity, there are 500 young people in this competition. That is one thousand seven hundred and fifty minutes of poetry that you devalue in the name of sympathy. I would rather have your respect than your applause. If you weren't cheering so loud you would hear the point behind the poetry.

When we spit revolution what are we really changing?

You thought you could resist the norm with every word you wrote

You can rock the mic but it won't rock the boat.

Poetry at its best changes things-changes people, changes laws, changes minds.

Judges give this poem a seven and give these words weight. You will ensure that thousands of young people in years to come will go home...glowing, pumping, knowing that one day, if they work really, really hard,
they might become legends.

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