I’m trying to identify the shape of the stage at Write On: The Poetry Spot (3326 Clifton Street). I’m vacillating between guitar body and an infinity symbol when poet Matthew Davis calls it a peanut. (Yep.) Davis, back in Indianapolis after a seven-month stint in Senegal, was the former host of this poetry gathering when it was held at The Earth House Collective (237 N. East Street). When he left, his best friend and fellow spoken word artist, Sleepy P, took over as emcee. Now that Davis is back, Sleepy has set up shop in the two-story limestone building set off with electric-blue lights and is rebuilding his audience. Three weeks into being on the near-west side, the room is standing room only as the hour gets later.
Things kick off every Friday night beginning at 10:00 p.m. and wrap up three hours later. I’ve heard some pretty amazing poetry, from as-yet-undiscovered talent to Tasha Jones, a poet from Indy who now travels internationally and has performed on the Showtime at the Apollo stage. The group seems like family and sometimes is — Sleepy P’s cousin deejays the event during the show. Most poets perform from memory, passionately delivering pieces in storyteller rhyme. Should someone forget their words, “take your time” floats out of the crowd and calms whoever is standing under the stage lights. Between poems, Sleepy encourages the crowd to snap, clap, yell, and/or say the popular phrase, “That’s my spot!”
Each Friday, open mic performers sandwich two sets from a featured poet. On Friday, it was a young poet and singer named Queen Victoria whose future is as bright as her stilettos are tall. Sleepy and several Indy performers are working to make Indy a destination for traveling artists. With the talent available, I doubt it will be long before arriving an hour early will be enough to guarantee a seat.
Admission is $7 just to listen and $5 if you’re there to perform. Arrive early to get on the open mic list.