Combine smoke, beer and metaphor. What do you get? Or combine pragmatics and surrealism, the result? Something new perhaps, something way out of the things we expect. Say, we have poetic films being projected on the wall while clueless clubbers swarm in expecting rock music. Then one bespectacled geek shreds his guitar, breaking out into song: “Hindi kami papayag na walang makata sa lipunan!”—The rock/blues anthem of the night. He becomes apologetic, seeing that some explaining has to be done. Tonight is not your usual Wharf Galley, night ladies and gentlemen, tonight is poetry night!

Poetry night, yes? Yup, heard it right. Come and register for the open-mic and read your stuff. Read like you own the planet. Once you are there, the stage is yours, just don’t break anything. Wham! Now, wait, let us do a little backtracking. It all started when this writer got a little bit bored after spending too much time with the Law. Yup, the Law. Then the Law started talking to me saying: Man, I am the Law so follow me. Walk out of this room and organize a poetry night. Yes, a poetry night, because Man, poetry is the Law. And all the laws in the world are made to approximate poetry.

So I went out and took a walk, heeding the call of the Law. In my head the Law was telling me: Consider Art. 11 and 12 of the fuckin civil code of the ‘Pinas—custom when not against the law or public policy is law. I made some arithmetic. Custom is culture, poetry is culture, ergo, poetry is law. Damn right.

So the Law was telling me: Poets are legislators too, and they must be heard. But where, at some posh high-end bar where rich kids and their equally rich parents come to eat and pray? Nope. High Society was not even the favorite company of the God-Poet, Jesus the Chrestus who was said to have instigated riots in Rome by virtue of his theopoetics with him ending up in the greatest performance poetry of all time: Crucifixion. So there I was in front of a rock café muttering to myself some poetic mantra.

It worked. Next thing I knew it was March 5, Saturday, 8PM and I was with Kevin de Quiros, Jusan Misolas and Jerome Hipolito setting up the projector and the guitar system. We were to accept registration for the open-mic while projecting poetic short films on the wall: At the Quinte Hotel (Al Purdy), Seekin the Cause (Miguel Pinero), Panonood and Passing by Baao (Jose Jason Chancoco), and The Dead, Forgetfulness, The Best Cigarette (Billy Collins). I was to play a rock/blues anthem song with a newly thought of band—The Super Poet Genome. Francisco Penones was to be the awesome featured poet for the night. This writer, Jerome Hipolito, Vincent Calma, Kevin de Quiroz, Judith Salamat, Yatoy Carretas, Noel Cervantes, Kristian Cordero, Issa Cassilan, Jusan Misolas and Irvin Sto. Tomas were to become the first set of open-mic readers.

The point? Poetry rocks. At least once a month poets are seen as the rockstars they really are by the pop-culture crazed young people we have in this part of the country. And hopefully some of these young breeds would come up like Agent Orange and explode with their own poems during the open-mic and push the bucket, err, the envelope of Philippine writing—in English, Tagalog, Bikol or Latin or whatever language poetry chooses for itself to ensconce in.

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