JOSHUA TREE —The Desert Split Open-Mic Tuesday invited participants to speak their truth around the theme, ‘What is liberty to us, to them, to you?”
Author and event host Susan Rukeyser made it clear it was a safe space for poets to speak their truth. The radical/queer/feminist spoken-word open mic welcomed a solid turnout even in the summer heat.
Participants shared short pieces, prose and chapter excerpts covering a broad spectrum.
The waterfall of words at an open-mic can be a lot to absorb in a sitting but well worth it for the gems it reveals.
“He knows there was a God and still might be, if only he had a sunroof to confirm and verify,” said Lauren Wolpert.
Arturo Castellanos unpacked capitalism and access in his first poem, challenging the price tag of materialism and the holidays.
“How much you spend is equivalent to how much you love,” he said.
His second poem addressed the policies, tactics and mistreatment families and children crossing the southern U.S. border face.
“Separate, isolate and spread the hate,” he read.
Jill Michaels spoke her mind about current events and the rage they bring her as well as the significance of art in releasing that frustration.
“I’d do just about anything for my art. The artist life is not a choice but a need,” she said.
The event closed with a puppet show that included a president puppet receiving a vocabulary lesson on the word “redacted.”
The date for the next Desert Split open mic has not been set; visit www.ShopsAtZannys.com for updates.
Another local poetry event to check out this month: Cholla Needles Magazine will host a reading from 5 to 7 p.m. July 21 featuring Rose Baldwin, Peter Jastermsky and an open reading at Space Cowboy Books, 61871 Twentynine Palms Highway in Joshua Tree.