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I met many different types of “poets” cruising the local open mic scene last year.  And while I admire the gusto each poet possesses, getting up on stage reading their words, there are few whose words I truly feel.  IMPACC is one of those few.  IMPACC is a true MC, whose words transcend today’s egotistical, shallow artists that mainstream has come to celebrate.  IMPACC is a throwback to the “Golden Age of hip-hop” (’87-’94 in my eyes), where street meets substance, creativity merges with relevance.  Due to a mutual respect of what we do, we’ve written a few collaborative pieces.  He’d show up at an open mic and give me something to write off of, and I’d do the same.  Though we pursue excellence in different genres, combined we form a pretty good team. 

I pride myself on being a versatile poet.  This is a collaborative piece we read at Borders in Long Beach.  By shear coincidence, each of our pieces came out to exactly 1 minute and 31 seconds. 

Monumental Assignment
(my portion)

We play children’s games.
Because we’re not so far removed
From jumping in puddles
As we claim to be.
Hopscotch on morning clouds
Double-dutch with the wind,
Freeze tag with typhoons
And the bottle goes spin
Landing on someone
Who looks like someone
We used to know.
And we see it on their faces,
The understated glow saying,
There’s a whole wide world
In the city.
Pity, most don’t know where to look.
It is that reclusive nook,
That midnight enclave
Where witty sonnets serve as streetlights
And gravity but a footnote to the stars.
Where vagabond hearts trek to the staccato
Of slightly exaggerated blue jean inseams
Crawling ‘cross concrete
Creating character.
Where good conversation lives
In unending abundance
Like old-fashioned ellipses
Trickling off refurbished countertops.
It is where counterculture stops
To admire the aesthetics of artists,
The muses of musicians,
And the persistence of poets
Offering shelter to wooden pencils
With weary lead.
Where park benches sit
In just the right spots,
Respite for examining tread on soles
Of dirty Chucks
Apologizing for every squished bug it took
To get there.
It is where weathered brick walls
Spotlight graffiti announcing,
Ginsberg was here.
And I was here
And you were here
And then with the arrival of
Bandwagon tourists and excess fanfare,
We disappear.
We play children’s games,
In whole worlds in cities
Wondering where the time went
Trying to find, forgive,
And finish
Monumental Assignment.


About Daniel Romo

Author of Apologies in Reverse (FutureCycle Press, 2019), When Kerosene's Involved (Mojave River Press, 2014) and Romancing Gravity (Silver Birch Press, 2013). I'm partial to prose poems. Alliteration. And fragments.

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