Pavement Poetry Slam With the Poets of 'Poets Return'

Amy and I trudged a whopping three apartments down to record a podcast episode with our new friend, Melissa Booey, the LA representative of Poet's Return. Their creative coalition has devoted themselves to a creative exploration of poetry and they have created a SWEET podcast to do just that... and Amy and I were lucky enough to be on it! (coming soon).

Melissa Booey, actor/poet extraordinaire

Poetry is one of the most visceral and vulnerable forms of artistic expression

Poet's Return introduces you to some of the newest and most evocative upcoming poets from all over the United States, helping audiences get to know these artists on a more personal level through thoughtful interviews podcast.

The podcast will explore process, inspiration, and the potential visualization of their words by eventually bringing these poems to life onscreen. Styles featured include: rap/hip-hop, lyrical, spoken word, beat, classical sonnet/haiku, free verse, and acrostic.

After sitting down and gushing about our shared love of poetry and creative work for hours, I convinced Booey to give us a sneak peak to their publication, with three poems from their upcoming launch. I promised to share one of my own, as collateral.

Photo by Ali Arif Soydaş

BIRDBRAIN by Melissa Booey

I can’t play space invaders without you

I mean I could

it wouldn’t be impossible, but

dust has collected on the console and my N64 feels neglected

I have no pets so I can tell by how it looks at me

sitting underneath amongst the other games and waiting, permanently paused and wondering why I’ve forgotten how to play

sometimes I think I see you

I see your face in other people


for a moment I know them, because I think it’s you

and then

I am reminded: you have chosen not to know me

a death I have carried with me and have not known how to properly grieve or mourn or lay your burden down

since you yourself have not laid down to rest

and now

in this current world you have constructed

even if it was you it would still be just a stranger

and it would still be just a moment wherein I thought

I recognized a friend

Photo by Randy Milanovic.

BEHAVIOR by DeShawn Cavanaugh

Behavior that’s all you can control, the earthquake tsunami tornado will roll, fire the forces of chaos come faster, with no control there’s only natural disaster, natural disaster it will strike

Will you run away will you grab your bike,

what will be your behavior, that’s what will tell, the type of man you are underneath that shell, when the times get tough do you go and run, or do you tighten your belt and postpone all the fun,

we only control our behavior

the way we are

how do you act when no one’s around?

do you laugh and smile do you joke and clown?

do you spend your days and night out on the street,

or do you spend them out searching for someone to meet?

where is it exactly that you want to go?

your behavior

is the only thing that can take you down that road.

Photo by Kunj Parekh.

#23 FROM DASH-Y by Kate Strauss

I'm slowly learning how to voice my needs.

Air them out.

But I don't think my needs are a blowing sheet in the breeze hung up after laundry.

I think my needs are thick, old, Persian, dusty rugs that need to be hit against a metal fence.

Again and again and again.

Until the ground around is dusty, and the rug is worn, but clean. Threads bare. Dust cleared.

Needs met.

Photo by Melanie Wasser.


(and other commands I’ve received) by Flannery Maney

Drink lots of water

Let loose and have fun.

Update your media

Make sure to stay out of the sun!

Follow through and take a meeting,

Email, reach out, and touch base

Make the 30 under 30 list…

But don’t forget, it’s not a race.

Be ambitious but gracious

Self-centered yet kind.

Go to therapy, but don’t get near me—

if you’re likely to lose your mind.

You’re the marrying type, you’re too easy.

Don’t make this harder than it already is.

Download the apps, present the facts

You’re complacent until you’re already his.

Move faster and meditate

But don’t forget to graduate.

I don’t feel that you appreciate

It would be great if you lost the weight.

Own your sexuality 

But don’t be a SLUT

Instagram is a business and

Porn is smut.

Podcast and tweet, 

And scream your voice heard.

Do your due diligence,

But don’t sully your word.

Protect yourself

And check yourself

Before you upset yourself.

And get put on the high shelf.

Drinking is bad

But I’ll be sad

If you miss my happy hour…

Baby shower…

Writers’ group…

Apartment stoop beer, I’m here…

At the bar for our date, 

Are you late?

Or on vacation where a bottle or two

Is nothing new.

Dinner party, have a hearty

Glass of wine, you’ll be fine, 

I saw it on the gram.

Catch me if you can.

I’m slick. I’m sick.

I’m sick of your commands.

Your bossy zeitgeist, rhingeist, false feist, and overpriced. 

That I can’t stand.

Can’t stand for it.

But can’t stand on my own two feet 

Without it.

Stay tuned for more from Poet's Return and their upcoming podcast launch in the new year on Anchor and Spotify. Until then, keep up to date on all things poetry on Booey's instagram: @capnbooey


If you want to support more stories like this and help us stay ad-free, consider buying us a cup of coffee on Paypal. Here at Kingdom of Pavement, our mission is to bring visibility to rising creatives who are doing great things in Los Angeles and beyond.