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#dplwrites for National Poetry Month

Starting the first day of April, writers and readers all over the country will be celebrating National Poetry Month. Whether it’s attending organized poetry readings, donating books to academic institutions and after-school programs, or, a DPL favorite, participating in the 30 for 30 writing series, NPM is a chance for everyone to appreciate poetry and mark its importance in our culture and lives.

NPM was first organized back in 1996 by the Academy of American Poets to increase poetry awareness nationwide. It was inspired by the successful celebrations of Black History Month (February) and Women’s History Month (March), and has become a popular choice for publishers to publish poetry books as well as for teachers and librarians to utilize poetry in their classes.

One way in which people celebrate NPM is by participating in the 30 for 30 writing series. The 30/30 challenge is to write one poem a day for the entire month, and has become a popular way for writers to share their work with others on social media. Some have even continued past day 30 to write a poem each day until to the following April. Yes, our own staff member, Donny Jackson, wrote 365 poems because he is that insane and dope. If you see him, ask him about the release of his next book, because we all are waiting and wanting to read it.

If you are participating in the 30/30, we at Da Poetry Lounge would love to share your work. Use the hashtag #dplwrites at the end of your Instagram or Twitter post and it’ll grace the front page of our website.

2016 Semis #2

OOOOOF! We thought last week’s first semi bout was fire – this was just as amazing! The six competing poets included two poets new to slam and four veterans: Alyesha, Shyla, Rudy, Saint, Myron, and Tevin. And all gave amazing performances.

The DPL audience was familiar with the work these poets put up on stage due to watching them in the past qualifiers, and before that, on the open mic. Still, the audience was eager to see the group pieces. The group pieces are always a highlight of any DPL adult slam event. These pieces are special because the semifinalists are randomly paired with one another for the writing and performing of the piece.

There was much anxiety in the air, as the poets did their best to take the stage and come correct and prepared. Regardless, all the poets gave it their all. The judges handed out a few 10s throughout the night. There was some yelling of chuuch praises – yes, CHUUCH not church. Before a poet was about to spit, some people were shouting OOOF! and DONT BE NICE! Well, actually not some people, just our staffer, Edwin. He was shouting it out, channeling the audience’s energy and handing it to the poet about to go in!

After a tense but amazing bout, Alyesha, Shyla, and Saint moved on to the finals. Rudy, who qualified by taking third, decided to not continue in the competition.

And that’s how it goes down – Alyesha, Shyla, and Saint join Kito Fortune, Aman, and Yesika as finalists. They slam on April 19th for the five coveted spots on the DPL Slam team that will compete in Decatur, GA at the 2016 National Poetry Slam.

DPL Finals will be a ticketed event and ALWAYS sells out, so get ready and stay tune!

We Kickoff Semis 2016

It was such a dope, DOPE night – then again, isn’t every night at DPL? Yesterday was the first of two semifinal bouts to make it to finals and eventually, the five coveted spots on the DPL slam team that will compete at the National Poetry Slam in Decatur, GA in August. The poets who competed last night were Aman, Yesika, Portia, Kito, Bird, and Danielle. These poets qualified in either of the prior six qualifying bouts and each gave all of themselves on the Greenway stage to be one of the top 3 that go on to finals (along with the top 3 from the next week’s semi).

What makes DPL slams exciting is the random pair-up of two qualified poets to write and perform a group piece for the second round of competition. To our knowledge, this is not being done anywhere else. 

Poets usually have about a month to work on their group poems and perform them as a cohesive unit. Not only was it exciting to see their individual poems shine, but is was incredibly dope to see poets with different writing styles come together and perform their shared piece. 

After three rounds, the poets that advanced to Finals were: Yesika, Kito, and Aman. Congratulations, and good luck going forward!

And as a special treat last night, our host Shihan brought all the poets on stage after the competition and forced them to do a cypher… which was HIGHLY entertaining. 

And always remember that for slam, the points are not the point – the poetry is. Those who did not advance are necessary and loved voices.

“Real/Perfect In LA” by Kuya Paul– FitW Winner!

Congratulations, Kuya Paul!

You are the next winner of the Fachucha is the Word: DPL Poetry Contest!

Kuya Paul Abesamis

Real/Perfect In LA

You can hear it
Echo down Normandie
Sending shockwaves down Beverly
A scintillating clarity
Of peace
Of hands outstretched to help grandmas over bridges
Or tip bus drivers for good directions
To tourists
Hollywood boulevard heroes
And the kids that believe it so
Passing by roach coaches with new gimmicks
Taco trucks with Korean bbq
Grilled cheese loaded with grease
Ice cream and crepes for heaven sakes!
Stretching highways far and wide
Two pairs of wheels
Or two All-Star kicks
Will make you feel
The asphalt and bricks
Of a divine kingdom
Lavanderias are peasant areas
Mariachis sing sweet arias
Towering monuments of human creation
The mighty citadel
A daunting caravel
And you, the warrior of steel
BMX be your trusted steed
Against concrete evil
You’re sight-seeing, night-living, thrill seeking
In the comfort of two-decker, park-hopper, life-guarded
Gardens by Glens
Horse-drawn imaginations, twirling
A menagerie in the city, growling
The symphony of the stars, astounding
The theater of the hearts, resounding
Trips down lanes of memories
Littered and glistening, like our galaxy
No wonder that wooden boulevard is called “Holy”
And, still, pathways to the west
Mount Sinai rest like an altar to wellness
The shore bring you more
As the Sunsets
Boulevards to the Manifest
Sea to shining sea
That’s the true destiny
Not a land litter with peace
But the struggle of the PCH
Bargains found in downtown alleyways
Chinatown imports
Everyone’s efforts
Equilibrium found in equal habitation
The struggle is real
The myth is Utopia
But created by nostalgia
Manifested through insomnia
Given birth when finding worth
In sweat-filled t-shirts
Docker blue pantaloons
Uniformed for 9-5s
Transforming families, changing lives
Through “minimum-wage” purses
“Under-the-table” wallets
CD hustling hustlers, bustling to bust-a-rhyme
Bustin’ verses must be sublime
All this, to me, is my
Great city


Our last writing prompt was: “What is your vision of a utopian society?” To view the next writing prompt selected by our recent winner, visit the contest page at: www.dapoetrylounge.com/fachucha

“Tomorrow” by Isabella– FitW Winner!

Congratulations, Isabella!

You are the next winner of the Fachucha is the Word: DPL Poetry Contest!

Isabella Lee


Tomorrow things will be different,
The weather won’t be
dark and gloomy for once,
But instead
the sun shining,
Grey clouds
wind will be blowing some
sweet fresh air
We can maybe even go to the beach
ad play in the waves

Tomorrow things will be different,
My hair,
which is always a
will work with me
for once
So this time
I can put it down and
let it fall around my face
Giving me that sweet soft face
that would make me look like
my kind and beautiful grandma when she was
my age

Tomorrow things will be different,
The kids at school
will stop teasing me and realize
I’m cool
They’ll make me their
friends and even their
We can push out Jennifer
And this time
she’ll be the one
eating lunch in the bathroom and
realize what it feels like
to get picked and bullied

Tomorrow things will be different,
Momma will stop drinking
and maybe even be
And daddy
will think twice
of where he puts his
the next time
And maybe
Even maybe
Little Jackson
will finally
wake up from that
deep sleep he’s been in

Tomorrow things will be
But it isn’t tomorrow
So I have to
Until tomorrow
comes and makes things


Our last writing prompt was: “Starting over.” To view the next writing prompt selected by our recent winner, visit the contest page at: www.dapoetrylounge.com/fachucha

“The Sun Has To Rise (homage to Bukowski)” by Natalie– FitW Winner!

Congratulations, Natalie!

You are the next winner of the Fachucha is the Word: DPL Poetry Contest! This is Natalie’s second win. Way to go!

Natalie Lima

The sun has to rise (homage to Bukowski)

during my darkest nights
with the back pains
or heart pains
after losing
my job
or in another
drunken relapse
I felt an inner peace
I knew
the sun has to rise

so when it got pitch black
and honest
when the drinks
run out
with my money
and my dignity
I felt okay
I knew
the sun has to rise


Our last writing prompt was: “Your life story.” To view the next writing prompt selected by our recent winner, visit the contest page at: www.dapoetrylounge.com/fachucha

“Dear Daddy” by Magnolia– FitW Winner!

Congratulations, Magnolia!

You are the next winner of the Fachucha is the Word: DPL Poetry Contest!

Magnolia Hallie


Dear Daddy,
I know you’re sick
There is an illness seeping in your blood
Deep in your mind
With tentacles like fire
And a mind as cunning as a fox

Dear Daddy,
Why did you say those words to me
Please don’t touch me there
Stop hitting me
I don’t like it when you yell
Put down the beer

Dear Daddy,
Look what I’ve become
A shell of a girl
Scars up my arms
And nothing but an empty stomach
And a haunted mind

Dear Daddy,
I know you’re sick
For I can see the illness running in your veins
Hanging above you like an ever present noise
I know that it’s hard, trust me
I have illness too

Our last writing prompt was: “Dear _______,” To view the next writing prompt selected by our recent winner, visit the contest page at: www.dapoetrylounge.com/fachucha