First Slam

man standing on a chair on a stage

“Frank, are you ready?”


“Give it up for Frank!”

Applause. Kelly yells, “alright, Frank!”

I walk up the aisle to the stage. Face the audience of fellow poets and slammers; six judges; Bill, his wife, Jan, and Mira. Rachel and Tiff attend the admission table, shadowed by the stage lights behind me. I begin:

“Memorial Stone.”

I read the haibun, look out to the back, shape the stone with my hand. I glance down at the sheets, then back up. Articulate. Annunciate. Finish.

I walk off to applause, and Kelly’s revving up the crowd. All so I can earn mediocre scores

empty glass …
her head on my shoulder
as another reads

Photo by Mark Williams 


Frank J. Tassone

Frank J. Tassone lives in New York City's "back yard" with his wife and son. He fell in love with writing after he wrote his first short story at age 12 and his first poem in high school. He began writing haiku and haibun seriously in the 2000s. His haikai poetry has appeared in Failed Haiku, Cattails, Haibun Today, Contemporary Haibun Online, Contemporary Haibun, The Haiku Foundation and Haiku Society of America member anthologies. He is a contributing poet for the online literary journal Image Curve, and a performance poet with Rockland Poets. When he's not writing, Frank works as a special education high school teacher in the Bronx. When he's not working or writing, he enjoys time with his family, meditation, hiking, practicing tai chi and geeking out to Star Wars, Marvel Cinema and any other Sci-Fi/Fantasy film and TV worth seeing.

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