The Horror Frog, when threatened,
will flex its leg so a retractable claw
pops out of its leg. Essentially, it’s ripping through its
own leg just to use the sharpened bone
to attack the aggressor until it flees.
How fucking hardcore is that?
Carpenter ants, when they fight a fight
they cannot win, will contract their stomach
muscles and explode all over their enemy
because they’re lined with poison.
After suffering through an argument,
the Alex Dang will take a sad nap
lasting up to 3 hours!
I know! Nature is amazing.
Indian hunters found out that if they
stared tigers in the eye, the tiger
was less likely to attack because their
main mode of offense is the
element of surprise. In order
for the hunters to remain safe, they
started wearing masks on the back
of their heads just in case a tiger was behind them.
High school friends learned that
when presented with a complicated issue,
I would deploy a barrage of jokes
to distance myself away from danger.
The best way for me to blow off steam is to
slowly let out the truth disguised as ridiculous statements.
2 lies and 1 truth when doing
a run of self-deprecating jokes.
"What did I do last night? What didn’t I do man?!
I stalked her blog for like 2 hours
while finishing a large pizza alone
and then topped it off by crying myself to sleep!
Whatchuknow about that Saturday night?!”
Which one was the lie?
None of them were.
Because I’m honest.
The point is to point fun at the things that bug you
but never actually deal with these things.
Let it gnaw in your stomach,
let it grow, let it fester until one day
Dead people don’t deal with petty shit.
Happiness was a warm gun but now
it’s a warm laptop in bed.
A full blown defense plan was implemented
when I would go to parties where I clearly
didn’t belong. Amidst a whirl of smiling faces,
dancing, and sweating alcohol,
I would be nodding my head.
Like I’m agreeing with the song.
Chameleons take lessons from me.
Time to dance? Time to go outside on the porch
with all the smokers.
Wait, Alex, I thought you didn’t smoke?
I don’t. I just wanted fresh air.
I’ve gone through one bad break-up in my life
and during this trying time, my friends were
worried about me. For like 7 seconds.
Because I’ve learned to minimize damages
with an all purpose social adhesive,
Look, we all do crazy shit to survive.
Pistol shrimp shoot bubbles so fast it stuns pray.
Giraffes can kick the heads off of lions.
Some beetles cover themselves with their own shit
so predators don’t eat them.
So what if I sleep 12 hours a day because there’s nothing better to do?
Bears sleep for months on end. And I call that talent.
We have all been pushed to the point where we start
wearing masks on the back of our heads
to watch out for ghosts.
Or when we aimlessly fight the fight that
cannot be won.
Those times when we’re so deep in our own shit,
no one wants to be around us.
Just be careful
because lately there has been
no danger around me
and I’ve just been
breaking my own bones.
Troy Osaki - “Morning Service”
"War hysteria was just another euphemism for scapegoats."
Performing for Seattle during semifinals at the 2014 National Poetry Slam. Subscribe to Button on YouTube!
I saw this poem a few years ago in Seattle and it blew me away then and it still holds that much weight for me.
What do you like to do on a daily basis? Also, what are your favorite coffee and restaurants in Portland?
I’m kind of a boring guy, to be honest. I like to have days where I can get something done and I feel like I didn’t waste it.
I love K and F on Clinton for coffee. Barista is really good and so is Palio (they also have phenomenal desserts!).
Best restaurant… you’re gonna have to narrow that down for me. Pho Hung on 82nd is always a good choice. Any McMenamins will be fantastic and of course the food carts can never be wrong. But my favorite burger joint is Killer Burger, hands down.
Hi Dante! My name is Alex Dang and I'm a poet from Portland, Oregon. I just want to say thank you for being such an inspiration to me and being an example for me to follow. Seeing you perform has given me a lot of courage to pursue slam poetry. Thank you again.
thanks, man… tell your story.
Remember that one time when Dante Basco answered me? That was pretty chill. Resume worthy.
Sober - Childish Gambino
a poem for Hip-Hop
Kendrick Lamar splits open monsters
and fights on the virtue that to get stronger,
you only go to battle with armies
that are capable of stampede.
Those who tread lightly are not worthy
of your warpath.
Lupe Fiasco ties his tongue into a
cat’s cradle and whispers sweet everythings
into the ears of middle schoolers who
by the end of the night will know
the brutality of the Audubon Ballroom
Talib Kweli lectures behind a podium with
Howard Zinn to college-somethings
about the nature of history:
everyone is a writer
but the best authors do not pen the past:
only the victorious do.
A columnist in the New York Daily said that Hip Hop emphasizes
"the crudest materialism in which the ultimate goal
is money and it did not matter how one got it.”
Jay-Z sits on the steps of his former housing project with Oprah Winfrey,
then shakes the hand of the most powerful man of the free world.
He and Beyonce are American royalty
and their bloodlines are unconcerned with its
50 Cent demonstrates a contrasting irony
as his money grows up to be worth
his namesake tenfold and then some.
Sean Combs drapes the resting place
of The Notorious B.I.G. in jewels as
he whispers to his best friend,
Don’t worry, I made us enough money
that it’ll follow me into the afterlife.
We’ll be more than taken care of when we meet again.
Republican senate member Chris McDaniel
was quoted to say that Hip-Hop is a culture that
"values rap and destruction of community values
more than it does poetry.”
Kanye West and Nina Simone
swing dance in an orchard
as the farmers around them
peddle their strange fruit.
Tupac Shakur figures out the equation for immortality.
It is 6 albums, 8 movies,
and an understanding that
power moves create fame;
influential motion crafts legacy.
Andre 3000 writes a song about the
devastating separation between himself and his love.
The world cannot help but pulse to it.
Andre knowing this, before the second chorus
in Hey Ya!, laments:
"y’all don’t wanna hear me.
You just wanna dance.”
Across the internet, Hip Hop is not regarded as a musical genre.
Criticized for lack of originality, vapid lyrics, and a monotonous sound,
the overwhelming statement is that Hip-Hop has nothing to do with music.
The RZA and Just Blaze
sit behind monitors and soundboards
as they begin to summon the spirits of
Bill Withers, Gladys Knight and Curtis Mayfield
into the studio.
Hip-Hop has nothing to do with music.
Nicki Minaj simpers and then ferociously
spits at kings as they watch the queen conquer.
Female named hurricanes kill more
than their male counterparts.
Hip-Hop has nothing to do with music.
The beat slam rumbles the speakers of your
'98 Toyota Camry and transforms these
3 minutes and 32 seconds
into a parade etched into a dream that grips your shoulders
and the only way to release the tension that rides on top of you
is to take these songs as an instruction,
it was written like a manual.
Hip-Hop has everything to do with everything.
She doesn’t need to be defended,
doesn’t need to explain herself,
doesn’t need your permission.
Hip-Hop walks with the hypocrisies and the benedictions
of every great art form in our existence.
You only notice her because of
how fresh her hips swing,
how zealous her disciples are,
how scared you get when she uses those big words in conversation,
and you beg her,
talk to me in a way that I can understand.
So you turn up the radio
and feel safe.
Portland Poetry Slam - “Choose Your Own Adventure”
"Every morning starts with a dark room and an ominous door."
Brenna Twohy, Alex Dang, Doc Luben, and Leyna Rynearson, performing at the 2014 National Poetry Slam. Subscribe to Button on YouTube!
Clementine von Radics and I are going on tour at the beginning of 2015! Check out to see if we’ll be in your backyard in the link above!
Don’t see us where you want us to be? Demand us in your city! Book us at firstname.lastname@example.org! We are still adding new dates to the tour!
is the most selfish, entitled, and narcissistic
of all the generations ever.
Even if that was true,
so the fuck what?
We are the Millennials
and the world can bow down to
all the dope shit that we do!
This is #nofilter
This is GPOY
This is every selfie Sunday,
and fuck you Friday that we’ve
been too busy to address.
Are we selfish because we are too concerned with
carving out a spot for us in history?
Are we too busy burning the candle
at every end due to our insatiable blaze
for more? This fire we cradle
like Prometheus did; a gift for the rest of mankind.
It’s funny how being selfish looks so much like survival.
Looks like extra curriculars, part-time jobs, and dream boards
designed to the last intimate detail and since we cannot afford sleep,
this is going to be a blueprint for the next 5 years. 10 years. 15 years.
We are entitled.
We expected a home to move in to and instead
got the house trembling in the flood waters.
Salvaged and traded tools with each other to fix
all the problems left behind for us.
Of course we feel entitled.
Look at what your generation did before us!
Consider the fists of Mike Tyson knocking down giants.
We feel the rattle of rhythm Nirvana crooned and
the nostalgia of home is painted into our heads
by your Three’s Company.
We learned from the best.
Why settle when you can grow cities
and monuments out of the old?
When you can connect the world at
20 megabits per second?
Pin us as the selfie obsessed generation.
Is it that crazy that we want to chronicle
our lives because we know, deep inside
the unrelenting uncertainty of tomorrow
we will want to look back on today,
on yesterday and think,
Look how far I’ve gotten?
We are not narcissistic.
We like looking at ourselves,
and our friends, and keeping up
with the mundane because
we’ve even made the every day
something extraordinary to capture.
Are your stories of swimming at the creek
that far off from lazy days in the pool?
Are your memories of family dinners
so much grander than late-night Taco Bell
when everyone at home is taking a break from
a Lord of the Rings marathon?
Do you have the audacity to claim and place
a higher value of your game of Monopoly
over our game of Smash Bros. Melee?
Both yielded friendships being challenged.
Nothing Was The Same.
The revolution has never been televised.
But we’ve always found a way, haven’t we?
it’s being told through our voices.
Sit down and listen.
Or at the very least,
watch us on BuzzFeed.
You know you love that shit.
Where Are You Press has made 5000 sales! To celebrate, we’re having a sale that will last through Sunday!
Enter the coupon code, 5THOUSAND and receive 20% off your order!
Thank you for everything you’ve done and for supporting us this far!
I am sure that you'd been asked about this question many times, but I'l ask it anyhow.. What is your favorite book? I mean THE Book you'll first save when there is a fire. Anyway, you and clementine look really great together. You should post more pictures. ^_^
I think the book I would save from the fire is probably The Essential Calvin and Hobbes.
And thanks! :)
Hey y’all! If you’ve been keeping up with the program, you’ll remember I did a TEDx performance in Reno! Here’s the full poem from the event!
I had a lot of fun writing and performing this poem and the folks over in Reno were so sweet. This was all around just an incredible memory.
Danez Smith - “Today”
"Today I am grateful. Today the diagnosis does not own me."
Danez Smith, performing during prelims at the 2014 National Poetry Slam. Subscribe to Button on YouTube!
This poem is extremely important.