Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Doin It My Way

Tomorrow will make 7 days that I've been in Germany. It feels like 2 days. Once, Chris told me that Germany is nicknamed "Little Mahattan". I can see how, time flies by here just the same. I caught myself feelin sluggish but I figured out why:

I been here 7 days right, and I got a couple gigs. 2 gigs in a week aint bad but I need more. Not tryin to be greedy, just tryin to put my mind at ease and I don't sleep right broke - never have. So, all day since I woke up my hand been itchin - and in my family the superstition is that a hand itch means money comin - soon. So I checked my emails and found some good leads to Universities that wanna hook up with me on some American Studies tip - smooth. There was also another email confirming me for a show in Mienes this Thursday - smooth.

 So I went outside to a bakery and linked up with Luke's mom. She's so sweet and beautiful and she was expectin me. She gave me a danish and some coffee and we talked and talked. She told me how much she loved my CD and catagorized it as "soft rap". I dig it. Most of the time we were talkin there was a black womyn there, moppin. She is tall and slinder with a very humble face. Her name is Angela. I thought she worked there at the bakery till we all began talking together. And then costumers began entering the bakery and Luke's mom had to tend to them and Angela sat next to me and we really began talkin.

She's from Nairobi, Kenya. She was a student in Germany, she studied business and has her own consulting firm, she was just moppin cause she saw Lukes mom havin a hard time and she felt compelled to help (so sweet). We began talking about the state of the Euro and what happened between the Euro and Greece and what will happen if Germany takes on Turkey. We also talked about what was goin on in Kenya with Somalia. Then she asked me what brought me to Germany and I told her EVERYTHING: How I want to make it to Kenya but I heard about whats goin down with Kenya and Somalia. I told her it dont seem like its really gettin worse out there so Im just waiting for it all to die down. I told her I'm in Germany with no particular deadline of anywhere else to be but I am an artist and I do want to perform and create and I am working on a novel and I don't want to go home until its publish-ready - but I do need to make more money so I can see more of the world. She told me that I have to go to Kenya - not now - but I have to go. She said it will touch my soul and I agree because that's how I felt before she even said it. Then she asked me about gigs. I told her that I only have three or four more lined up but I really want to perform almost every night if I can. She asked me why am I not performing every night then. And that got me to thinkin -

I was about to blame the structure of the poetry scene. I was about to say "well, I didn't book far enough in advance to do a tour and half of the people who replied to me said that I didn't give them enough notice - and how could I if I didn't know I was coming to Germany and blah blahblah."

But the truth is this - even though I adore the poetry scene, and appreciate it for all it's beauty and community and helpfulness (because people like Dirk, Ainsley, Mike Geffenr, Jergen and Mo Browne canNOT be replaced or thanked enough) the truth is - my goal is to surpass whatever I've conquered. And what I mean by that is: I am a slam poet - says ME with a comfortable tongue. I do not get excited when I say it because it is so true. It has been established in my soul and witnessed by thousands. So, what next? ya know - what next? Too little slam poets ask that question because it requires so much action and discomfort and it is a SAD LIE if you call yourself an artist and avoid ALL internal discomfort.

So I told Angela - there is absolutely NO reason why I am not working as much as I want to. All I can think of is that I don't know who to talk to and I cant speak German, but YOU Angela, are very International, business and economic savvy - and, what I love most about you is that you don't have any knowledge or interest in an artistic spotlight. But you speak 5 languages and you're young enough to know the pubs around here like the back of your hand. You said business is slow because what the Euro is going through, so here is my proposal: manage me. Speak me into some high end clubs on a regular and I'll give you a percentage of my earnings. I'm not doing anything this weekend, let's get it together.

A shy smile came over Angela's face. "Well, I've never done anything like this before, Joyce"

"Me either Angela. This is why it will work. I wouldn't be so quick to trust you if you had done this before. This way we can learn together. I have had people offer to manage me in America Angela and I always say 'no' because I have not met anyone who I believe can get me into a place I couldn't eventually talk or work myself into for free. But YOU can talk me into every place because you know the customs and rules and language and I don't. I have to learn and hustle all at once and I cant afford the rejections in the lessons - I need the money now. So how about this weekend? You take me to some of those high end pubs and talk to those owners you know who love international art that you were tellin me bout earlier and see what deals we can make?

"Why this weekend? Go home, put on a pleasant dress. Meet me back here at 6."

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