Above: 9L Slam Poetry winners, Ivan and Yi Ming and their English teacher, Mr Mahoney
Yesterday Memorial Hall was host to performance and celebration as the winning teams from each year 9 class amazed the audience with their Slam Poetry performances.
The judges were extremely impressed with the high standard of all teams’ poetry and their powerful renditions.
Runners up, the team from 9E (Ms Hamilton), performing Safwan’s poem
The winning team was 9L (Mr Mahoney’s class), followed by 9E (Ms Hamilton’s class) in second place and 9D (Ms Grimwade’s class) in third. The Best Individual Performance was awarded to Ivan Tat of 9L, and the Best Line was also awarded to 9L.
Poverty is the cracked lips of a boy, hands outstretched, eyes like a dead fish, …
There is so much to celebrate in the year 9 students’ poetry! I’d like to take the opportunity to share some of the poetry.
Standout lines from 9A:
A blind man will never know the colour of blue nor ever see the so-called ordinary hue
But he know he does not need to discover the new.
He’s surrounded like an animal in a zoo,
Caged by prejudice and stereotypes.
A slice of 9B’s offering:
Patriotism, loyalty: who do I please?
Lion Dairy, Abbey, and Colby: three types of cheese.
Which industry do I support?
Which farmer do I make abort?
An Irish cow, an Australian goat, an American sheep,
Which allegiance do I keep?
Or should I be like sister Tegan,
And just like her become a Vegan?
Powerful, dark lines from 9C:
His mind is out to kill him
So far his mind is winning
It sews his lips
Shuts his mouth
Beats him, blinds him from those who care,
Tying him down to the bottom of the ocean,
He can’t die
He can’t escape
He is drowning 24/7.
He’s been drowning since he was 11
Yet no one saw and we all breathed around him.
Powerful lines from 9D:
But why has our society become one where such people are glamorised and idolised
While teens are hurting themselves and hurting others over their own demise,
Because their waist size is over 26 inches, because their skin is wrinkled and because, unlike their role models
their looks aren’t stylised?
They think that, that is something to be ashamed about
It seems we regret celebrity influence upon teens,
The roots and trunk of our future, hollowed out like logs
To be only superficial and not care about what’s on the inside.
But our current generation can still be saved without doubt
If we look up to Mandela, Churchill and Malala
Instead of Minaj, West and Gaga.
From the runners up, 9E:
You may say that you wish to live forever,
That you wish to die never,
But our eventual passing is what gives our life its merit,
The looming presence of death is what motivates us to get out of bed each morning,
Because we may not always have a tomorrow,
The looming presence of death is what lets us perceive the true beauty of our lives,
The looming presence of death is what gives our life its momentum,
It is not the vindictive venom we make it out to be,
Can’t you see?
Death is what coerces us to be alive.
Until this day I never thought dragons existed…
… Yet today I found one, lips curled in a ferocious snarl,
dressed in a satiny carpet of brilliant, crimson scales, and with eyes…
… This dragon was none other than the one that dwelled within me,
the one which I have tried to subdue for so long.
It is eating me, chewing at the fibres of my identity.
This dragon’s name is Guilt.
I thought I knew who I was.
I thought I was that person who would always do well in school,
That person who should be popular and loved,
That person who could shove other people aside to get what he wanted,
The centre of the universe.
The world would revolve around the brightness of my glow and the other planets would looks to me with envy and greed,
knowing they could never reach me.
I knew who I was.
I was happy.
I was content.
I was frolicking inside the beautiful meadow in my little bubble,
skipping in time with the beat that had been set out for me.
The powers of the world don’t like change,
So they shut up the game-breakers,
the would-be preachers,
the idea makers, because their system only works
when nothing changes, so they keep them quiet,
with only their malicious greed behind it,
planting the seed.
When the seed grows, it turns into a tree,
and when a tree grows tall, it’s hard to cut down…
My speech I left like a house on fire,
But this time my words won’t misfire.
That bully, it’s time to confront him,
To show I’m not just a melting icecream.
Without dismay, without distress,
Chest out, back straight.
Because I will take on the dare.
Blinks of cosmic glitter twinkled in the sky
shimmering with an exuberant brilliance
as it stained the rich vermillion sunset.
The place where the sky met the sea
Had a majestical topography.
and a favourite line of mine:
They tormented the sky, tearing the delicate canvas,
Its colour a conflux that couldn’t stop bleeding…
And, to honour 9L’s winning poem, here is the full text:
9L Ivan and Yi Ming
Somewhere in Australia they are incinerating
Designer handbags, never used, to maintain brand exclusivity
Whilst in inner-suburbia there is a child digging through
The Salvo’s donation tip for a jacket that can last them the winter
Somewhere in Australia they are building boutique apartments
And fancy shopping malls so that we forget that
Unemployment is soaring
Homelessness is soaring
Poverty is the cracked lips of a boy, hands outstretched, eyes like a dead fish,
it is the blackened toenails of the outworker, chest compressing with each breath
Do you not hear the lullaby of a mother hunched in a rusty old car in a parking lot at night?
Do the cries of the homeless who scream with fleshy pink throats fall upon your deaf ears?
Do you hear the peoples sing: but only until it stops making you feel comfortable
Because it is better to be silent, hold our tongues
Bow our heads in defeat and get back to work
Then for you to acknowledge that the wealth, the privilege you accumulated
Was built on the blood and bones of the oppressed minorities
Built on the sweat and tears of the homeless and overworked
Is it truly benevolence when you throw a piece of stale bread
To the people whose homes you drove them out of?
Our narrative, our stories aren’t your pay-per-view poverty porn to ogle at
Do not throw us your scraps, your pittances for us
For us to climb onto the back of other others to reach for
We were confined to lifetimes hunched over, lifeless, in factory plants
Lethargic and weary as pawns in your pyramid scheme
Would you rather us complacent and obedient slaves?
Do we scare you?
Since when has saying nothing done anything?
This is not an outlet to spruik your faux philanthropy
This is not an appeal for a rich people Jesus to come to our salvation
We learnt the hard way that in the snaking queues of Centrelink
Under the Flinders Street bridge at night that there is no god pining for us
We don’t care if you don’t want to believe we exist but we believe in you!
Each and every one of you are complicit in our death
On the streets, in rusty cars, in public housing units,
Guilty whether by consent, complacency, indifference.
The only way to enact social change, to close up the crackswe have fallen into is
To lend a hand, give a shoulder to cry on, open up your ears.
This is a conversation.
Won’t you listen?
A huge thank you to Ms Buckland for organising this event, to all the English teachers involved for hard work and inspiration, to Ms Morgan and Mr Sloan for judging (I can’t thank myself, but I enjoyed the judging experience so much), and to Ms Tsilimidos for her unrivalled skills as M.C.! A big thank you to our wonderful stage and film crew, Brett and Mr Morton.