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If You Don’t Like This Poet, Then Fuck You Too!
Wednesday night sometime last year at Counter-Culture Café, I decided to perform for the first time. The crowd was unexpectedly large by 11pm. I had not been on stage yet, and I overheard some of the regulars boasting about the next performer. Manifest Destiny makes his way up to the dimly lit stage (but displeasingly lit well enough to stifle an easy reading of words read from paper.) There is a stool off to the left of the microphone stand. He quiets the audience with a booming shout into the mic and begins by stating some sort of upcoming or passing event in his life.
The poem begins with Manifest seated, strong but quiet in speech. Slowly it builds while he passionately ascends to the heights of the Divine Poetics, and by the end of a stream of vocalized truths aimed at battering the daunting figures he feels loom tyrannically over humanity; “AND IF YOU DON’T LIKE THIS POEM, THEN FUCK YOU TOO!” The audience is silent, shocked into a state of awakening to the horrors of Manifest’s America. A “thank you,” and he walks off stage as pleasantly as he approached it. A few performers later I scuttle up to the stage, meek like a mouse, knowing that there could be hardly a significant number of folks able to move a crowd as he has. But after my performance, Manifest honorably congratulates me as a brother, and, at once, I feel home in Phoenix’s performance art community.
After a few attempts to constitute an interview with Manifest Destiny, I received a phone call from him while in friendly company (luckily in the house of a person with access to the internet).
Greetings dispense, the interview begins:
JL: So what is your general background as far as growing up?
MD: I grew up in Myrtle Beach, South Carolina.
JL: How would you define “poetry?” as an Art, a Hobby, etc.?
MD: I think it's a form of meditation, therapy, also heals oneself.
JL: Are there any comments you’d like to make about urban poets and their poetry from today and/or in the past?
MD: No. I respect them all. I really don't have any comments towards them though.
JL: Are there any specific messages or matters you consciously try to include in your poems?
MD: To have faith in what you think will manifest tomorrow.
JL: Do you feel there is any explicit connection between poetry and spirituality?
MD: Yes there is.
JL: Did you want to elaborate
MD: When you do poetry, it's a way to connect with the spirit. Through sound and words, you're able to touch, lift, or make people want to go to war.
JL: What is one of your favorite lines …off the top of your head?
MD: Mornings crowned with the glory of the sun.
JL: What or who are some of your influences?
MD: Marvin Gay, Bob Marley, pimps, white politicians…
JL: Do you find there is much of a difference between what you perform, and if you do, what is meant only for the written word?
MD: No. I think when it comes to you, it doesn't really matter if it's the written word because everything is meant to be spoken.
JL: Did you ever or do you get performance anxiety?
MD: No. I used to, but I'm real comfortable in my skin now.
JL: How would you describe your style of performance?
MD: Entertaining, uplifting, cutting edge.
JL: Is there any specific way you like to relate to your physical audience?
MD: No, because you really never know what you're going to get from me.
Sometimes I can come off pretty abrasive, and sometimes I can come off pretty uplifting. It depends on my mood ...but lately uplifting.
JL: Are there any events coming up next month that you'd like to tell the readers about?
MD: December the 8th I have a show in Sedona. For more information on that press release you can go to [url]www.norazpoets.org[/url]
JL: And to sum things up with a more serious question; what would you say is your sexiest poem?
MD: Jesus. Ha-ha; I wrote a poem called "sweet kisses in the night."
[url]www.phoenixpoet.com[/url] has a ton of calendared events with their attributed venues and times. This is really the best resource I could find for this type of event.