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'Def Poetry' Archive

Def Poetry: Flow Mentalz - Constipation

A little lighter vibe for volume 4.


Def Poetry Volume 4: Gemineye - Poetic Bloodlines

Another poetry slam from Gemineye. The first one has been quite popular so I figured another would be well received. I like this poem for its references and visual metaphors. This guy is amazing, he impresses me every time. It’s nice to see a poet who doesn’t fit the skinny, black turtle neck, emo stereotype.


Def Poetry Volume 2: Mayda Del Valle - To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before

This might be my favorite single performance from the entire Def Poetry series. There’s something really, really attractive about the sensitive, strong, beautiful woman. It’s that balance, a yin and yang of vulnerability and confidence, that builds intrigue, making her someone you want to be around.

When I first watched the show, YouTube wasn’t what it is today, so I spent a lot of time on the HBO forum tracking down transcripts of the poems. I had put out a plea for anyone that had a copy of “To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before” to email me. Wasn’t I surprised when I got the following message:

From: Mayda ****
To: Justin Dickinson ****
Date: July 2, 2005 2:56pm
Subject: <no subject>

Hi this is Mayda del Valle. I saw your request on the HBO site and am
sending you a copy of the poem as requested. It’s attached as a word
Document so you just need to download it. Hope you enjoy it! And thanks so
much for the kind words and support.


I was stoked. I never thought I’d hear from her directly. Very cool. I found her bio and realized she attended college in my hometown. Even cooler!

Here is the poem it its entirety:

to all the boys I’ve loved before
part 1:

we are not your mothers
and are not meant to be
it is not our responsibility to raise you into respectful beings
you have been weaned from the breast of a woman for years
yet you come to us
wounded and half filled with promises you can only keep half the time
trying to suckle our sense of self dry
we’ve become much to accustomed to sleepless nights and damp pillows
have become accustomed to waiting for our empty beds
to be weighed down with the bodies of men heavy with the scent
and the hands of other women
mornings with swollen puffy eyes are becoming routine
and we simply wanting to be loved
simply wanting to be able to love ourselves unconditionally
simply wanting to be held and feel safe
simply wanting the truth of whether you can really love us or not
play Hester Prynn
wear scarlet letters on our chests
become adulteresses
cheating ourselves out of what we truly deserve
willing to settle for less
willing to act like a little less than a goddesses
willing to sleep with the enemy
men too scared to stop acting like boys
thinking we can love away their scars
so we take the lashes of the insecurities they pour on us
and lick our wounds in quiet mourning for the little girls we lose by the minute
fast fading memories of playing hopscotch
and skippin’ rope
we now play freeze tag with each other’s hearts
play hide and seek with our love
if we just don’t breathe maybe we won’t get caught
up in the spider’s web we weave while waiting for what we give away to be returned

part 2:
you said you had a photographic memory
but apparently you forgot that honesty
begins by being real with yourself
and the ones you claim you love
should have never wasted my time
and just acted like the man you claimed and told the world you were
made a production of setting my folks at ease with tales of how you’d do all it ever took to never break my heart
I guess you thought you were talking to a roomful of the deaf and blind
figured they didn’t hear you
coz I never saw it coming
but the truth cannot be hidden
what’s clouded in darkness will always come to light my love
you shoulda known that
claiming you saw my light so clearly and brightly
so I left
chasing paper trails of promises you’d already set on fire
left with nothing but the ashes of who you’d written that you were
and singed fingers from trying to grasp the impossible

and the only thing I’ve really lost
are lukewarm kisses
that for too long I kept trying to tune the beat of my heart, a few lies, and stories
about honesty and truth

I guess shit happens
I just wish it wasn’t me

and I guess
it’s so much better to have loved and lost
than never to have loved at all
I know that’s some easy shit to say

but I’m still gonna try to live by it
I’m still gonna try to put my faith to rest in it

I will sleep on dry pillows now in a bed big enough to love myself in
I will awake these coming mornings with my eyes dry and shining
full of the knowledge I am priceless and worth nothing but honesty
I will remove the scarlet letter from my chest and hold the hand of the little girl I used to be
and say I’m sorry to her
I’m sorry for cheating you out of the joy you have always deserved
and I will wait
for a man
to come along
that can give me the truth of how much he can really love me

©2005 Mayda del Valle

Disclaimer: I’m not taking credit for this poem, rather, I’m trying to, in my own small way, add more visibility for the poets and spoken word artists I’ve seen that I feel are amazing talents worthy of worldwide fame and fortune. If, for whatever reason, this page makes it to the artist, first I’d like to say “awesome, what’s up? you rock!”. Then, if you would rather I didn’t have your work on my site, email me and I’ll gladly remove it.

If you like this check out all the Def Poetry posts.


Def Poetry Volume 1: Gemineye - Penny for Your Thoughts

Def Poetry was a series on HBO where urban poets, hip hop, and spoken word artists would perform their pieces on stage in front of a small audience. It was filmed in NYC and hosted by Mos Def (is that not perfect?). Russell Simmons is credited with the creation of the show.

I loved this show for the few years I had HBO in college. I’m a huge fan of performance poetry of all kinds (I’m a proud subscriber to Indiefeed Performance Poetry Podcast) and I think it’s an under appreciated medium. This show in particular captured the romance, rawness, emotion, and lyricism that makes these performances so enjoyable as an art form.

Over the next few weeks I’ll be posting individual performances of poems from a variety of artists. Some you’ll have heard of, most you won’t. Men and women, from all races and cultures. Watch the videos a few times, take in the poems. It’s really great stuff. I’ll include a transcript of the poem whenever possible.

Gemineye - Penny for Your Thoughts

If you saw this guy at Sam’s Club you wouldn’t think he was a sensitive, romantic poet. Gemineye shows a real lyrical talent here, it’s almost too fast too keep up with. It works on a subconscious level though, because when you read the words you see how illustrative and sexy the vocabulary he uses is. Here’s the poem in its entirety:

“Penny For Your Thoughts” - Gemineye
Can I offer you a penny for your thoughts?
As a matter of fact, how about three?
One penny for you, one penny for me,
And one penny for our minds engaged not so sexually.
Getting intimately closer as we approach the
Climatic altitude of nude, mental, sensational… conversation.

Because I’m trying to get to know everything about you
From the neck… UP.

So these are not your typical, sexual, poetical prose.
I’m trying to close the door on that all too firmiliar freaky foreplay game.
With which most guys have chose to approach you.
While they are trying to get deeply inbedded
In the fine fibers of your bedsheets,
I’m trying to find and define the fibers of which your mind speaks.
I want to engage you
By putting a two karat solitaire diamond ON YOUR MIND
Marrying your every thought!

I want to lick every inch of every crevasse
So I can get an oral fix from each oriface
And taste you passionate IMAGINATION.

I’d rather be naked and exposed, holding you
As we’re lying and you’re crying
While confiding and describing the tough times you’ve had in life
And how you don’t know
If you can keep a relationshop long enough to be somebody’s wife.

I wanna feel the heartbeat of all your inner rhythms
As they lead me toward your warm, wet, waterfalls of feminine thoughts.
…And I’ll swin in them.
From backstroaks, to breaststrokes,
I’m penetrating every entrance… to your mind.
Taking my time to find out everything about you.

Did I ever tell you about how you
Fell asleep in my presence?
And your mere essance
Kept me awake for hours
As I cowered with this feeling
Of sexually unadulterated mental connection?

And as you lay by my side
I pushed the blinds aside
And took the time in the moonlight of that night
To count 72 eyelashes
On the upper eyelid of your right eye!
Because when you sleep
Your eyes remain open slightly.

And while we probably moves in too quickly into some sexual shit
I’ve always cared more about the expilicity illicitness
That came from between you lips.. meaning your voice.

So now I am standing here
Ready to trade in all the sexual acts that we’ve preformed
For the chance to reform the very foundation
And the basis of our relationship.

So I reiterate my opening statement
And I offer you another penny for your thoughts!

Disclaimer: I’m not taking credit for this poem, rather, I’m trying to, in my own small way, add more visibility for the poets and spoken word artists I’ve seen that I feel are amazing talents worthy of worldwide fame and fortune. If, for whatever reason, this page makes it to the artist, first I’d like to say “awesome, what’s up? you rock!”. Then, if you would rather I didn’t have your work on my site, email me and I’ll gladly remove it.


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