13 Poem "Duets" That Are Binge-Watching Worthy

13 Poem "Duets" That Are Binge-Watching Worthy

They say that "two minds are better than one" and in this case, poems performed by two talents hold so much power and truth that they deserve to be recognized.
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Here are poems that need to be on everyone's must watch list, and for those of you who don't want to click on each of these poem's links individually, here's a Youtube Playlist with all of them on it. I also included what the poem is about and links to another poem by these poets (usually my personal favorite because I can't list them all) if you're really feeling their work. If you're a poetry fanatic, I also included a link to the poet's collections (if they have them) available for purchase that has been added to my own wish-list. If you're not satisfied enough listening to all these poems, never fear, as I wrote another list of poems performed by individual poets that are just as great.

1. "When Love Arrives” by Sarah Kay and Phil Kaye

This poem speaks about the many faces of love and how it shifts quickly and unexpectedly. It calls attention to the fact that love may slip from your fingers and fizzle into nothing, and then bloom again. If you’re a fan of this poem, make sure to check out another one of Sarah’s poems (an oldie but a personal favorite) called “Hand Me Downs” or her collection of poetry entitled “No Matter the Wreckage” (2014). Phil’s poem “Repetition” is also a great mix of word play and definite must watch for CODs (Children of Divorce). In addition, check out their joint poem "An Origin Story" to listen to the story of how life tied them together.

2. "My Name” by Aman Batra and Yesika Salgado

This poem speaks to all those people (myself included) whose name is more often a weight on their back than a label of pride pinned onto them. However, despite the shared struggle, this poem made me want to wear my name with honor. If you’re a fan of this amazing poem, listen to Aman's “Election Night” (because I couldn’t have spoken these thoughts with as much beauty and truth as she has) or her spoken word with Kito Fortune called “You Can’t Have My Culture”. Her collections of poetry, “Stolen Thing” (2016) and “Dripping Love” really explore themes of identity and values stunningly. Yesika’s poetry is graceful and raw as her poem “Compilation” and her collection, “The Luna Poems” (2013) are must reads.

3. "Never Forget" by Noel Quiñones and Jasmine Combs

This poem uses history to provide a message about the future by showing its effect on people. This beautiful flow of words ensures the necessity in never forgetting what has happened so that it never will again. If you enjoyed this melody of memories, make sure to check out Noel’s poem “8 Confessions of My Tongue” that seemingly expresses how I feel about Spanish so perfectly that it’s suspicious. Additionally, check out Jasmine’s poem “Monster” and "Fight Like a Girl" as they make my jaw drop and eyes well up.

4. "Yet Still, I Wait” by Kate Hao and Kristen Sze-Tu

This poem truly expresses the importance of words and their order. Speed and structure take hold in this poem and create a beautiful mess of words with multiple meanings that are all just as heartbreaking and divine. If this poem hits you as it did for me, make sure to watch Kate’s poem “In Which Every Poem that I Write Becomes a Poem About My Body” as her words are beautifully heart-wrenching. In addition, if you can turn your volume up all the way, watch Kristen’s funny and quirky poem called “Conversations”.

5. "Sh*t I'm not creative enough to makeup or a series of unrelated events.." by Alysia Harris and Zora Howard

This poem shows the difference between coincidence and patterns. The words of these stories show the truth behind people’s beliefs and how what should be rare or non-existent is often blatant and present in the mind of too many people. If you enjoy this poem, you should listen to Alysia’s poem “No Poems Inside the Victorian House” or when you get a chance, grab a copy of her chapbook, “How Much We Must Have Looked Like Stars to Stars”. Make sure to also check out the flow of Zora’s poem in both “On Things of Which I am Ashamed ”, “Before Bed” and her collection of poetry entitled “Clutch”(2010).

6. "Abortion" by Eva Crespin and Mercedez Holtry

This poem is a spine tilling fight for pro-choice values in a mesh of conservative minds. This spoken word brought forth the major points behind the choice and its importance in life. Definitely feel free to check out Mercedez’s poem "La Washa" and her collection of poetry entitled “My Blood is Beautiful” (2015). Also, another poem to recommend would be Eva, Mercedez, and Gigi Bella’s collaboration poem “War Paint" along with Eva and Damien Flores's hilarious poem "Mexican Graduations"

7. “Black Panther/F**k Batman” by Anthony McPherson and Steven Willis

This poem twists humor and real issues into a raw message about discrimination and identity. With the uprising in popularity of superheroes, it’s good that poems like these ones remind us that representation matters and affects people’s perceptions. Along with Anthony's poem, “Battle", Anthony and Paul Tran’s collaborative poem “Peacock Spider” is also one to add to your must watch list. Steven’s “How the Hood Loves You Back” is another poem that made me want to cry and cheer at the same time.

8. “Say No” by Olivia Gatwood and Megan Falley

This poem speaks about the pressure put on women to say yes when we want to say no and how the world tries to pry it’s yes from our throats. This poem displays real stories and rough words of harsh truths about the world and empowerment. As kickass as the Speak Like a Girl duo is, make sure to check out their separate performances. Megan’s poem “He/Him/His” about pronouns made me understand perspectives. For your anything like me, make sure to add Megan’s collection of poetry, “After the Witch Hunt” (2012) to your to-reads list. In addition, Olivia’s poem “Backpedal” really spoke to me and if you enjoy her work as much as I do, grab her collection entitled “New American Best Friend” (2017).

9. "To Our Mothers" by Marshall Gillson and Ashley Davis

This poem showed that while there is pride in mother/fatherhood, there is also honor in taking care of oneself and keeping yourself well. This poem shows that while some may view it selfish, we have to do what is best for ourselves or we’ll never be right for another. If you enjoyed this spoken word, then check out their other collaboration entitled “Mixed Kids”. That poem speaks to how skin and blood don’t determine self worth but others use it as harmful labels.

Also, check out Marshall's poem "Black Boy Climbs into the Gorilla Cage to Ask for Advice" and Ashley's poem with Oompa entitled, "Simon Says".

10. “Selfie” by Jenna Robinson and Will Giles

This poem takes a concept known to all millennials and gives it a meaning that anyone from any generation could understand. The words from this poem show the importance in identity and becoming in-erasable. Jenna’s poem “Wonder Woman” brings out new feelings about the goddess of truth and women empowerment as a whole. But Will’s poem “Ursula” extends beyond powerful woman into a personal struggle that hits the home of too many people. Additionally, check out Will's poem with Travis T. called “Oral Traditions” that calls attention to the history people tried to obliterate.

11. “Zombie—Destroying Abuelita II” by Melissa Lozada-Oliva and Jonathan Mendoza

This poem mashes hilarity and seriousness to create a story that makes you laugh and think at the same time. This poem will definitely stay in your mind long after you're done watching it and for good reason. If you enjoy quirky but real poetry, listen to Melissa’s poem “My Spanish” that really expresses the battle of tongues bi-lingual people suffer. Her other work is just as creative and inspiring, be sure to pre-order her collection entitled “Peluda” (2017). Jonathan’s “For Quiet Boys” displays the importance of expressing thoughts. His words make me want to scream to the mountain tops so that my voice is heard.

12. “Sons” by Rudy Francisco and Terisa Siagatonu

This poem brings awareness to the foundation of rape culture and harsh truths about upbringing and coddling. This poem shows the importance of values being taught instead of ignored. Be sure to watch Rudy’s poem “Chameleon” as it really makes you wonder if you see the difference between who people are and the appearances they put up. Terisa’s stunning poem “Meauli” shows discrimination doesn't always have to blatant to be there, and that the worst cuts may come from those closest to you. Discrimination happens everywhere, in the voices of strangers but also in the silence of friends.

13. "Somewhere in America" by Rhiannon McGavin, Belissa Escobedo, and Zariya Allen

First of all, I know this is a trio but they were so good that I had to include them. This poem really shows how censorship can do more harm than good, especially when censorship is limited to knowledge instead of harmful objects. This poem really displayed the value in discussing real world issues. If you enjoyed this poem, then be sure to watch “Coffee” by the trio and “Rape Joke” by Rhiannon and Belissa. In addition, personal favorites of mine would be “Smile” by Rhiannon McGavin or grab her collection, called "Branches"(2017). The poem “Shots Fired” by Rhiannon, Zariya Allen, Kyland Turner and Walter Finnie also sheds light on an issue that is, sadly, not going away anytime soon.

All of these poems really hit home of several important issues and they all hold their own importance.

Cover Image Credit: Button Poetry

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​An Open Letter To The People Who Don’t Tip Their Servers

This one's for you.
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Dear Person Who Has No Idea How Much The 0 In The “Tip:" Line Matters,

I want to by asking you a simple question: Why?

Is it because you can't afford it? Is it because you are blind to the fact that the tip you leave is how the waiter/waitress serving you is making their living? Is it because you're just lazy and you “don't feel like it"?

Is it because you think that, while taking care of not only your table but at least three to five others, they took too long bringing you that side of ranch dressing? Or is it just because you're unaware that as a server these people make $2.85 an hour plus TIPS?

The average waiter/waitress is only supposed to be paid $2.13 an hour plus tips according to the U.S. Department of Labor.

That then leaves the waiter/waitress with a paycheck with the numbers **$0.00** and the words “Not a real paycheck." stamped on it. Therefore these men and women completely rely on the tips they make during the week to pay their bills.

So, with that being said, I have a few words for those of you who are ignorant enough to leave without leaving a few dollars in the “tip:" line.

Imagine if you go to work, the night starts off slow, then almost like a bomb went off the entire workplace is chaotic and you can't seem to find a minute to stop and breathe, let alone think about what to do next.

Imagine that you are helping a total of six different groups of people at one time, with each group containing two to 10 people.

Imagine that you are working your ass off to make sure that these customers have the best experience possible. Then you cash them out, you hand them a pen and a receipt, say “Thank you so much! It was a pleasure serving you, have a great day!"

Imagine you walk away to attempt to start one of the 17 other things you need to complete, watch as the group you just thanked leaves, and maybe even wave goodbye.

Imagine you are cleaning up the mess that they have so kindly left behind, you look down at the receipt and realize there's a sad face on the tip line of a $24.83 bill.

Imagine how devastated you feel knowing that you helped these people as much as you could just to have them throw water on the fire you need to complete the night.

Now, realize that whenever you decide not to tip your waitress, this is nine out of 10 times what they go through. I cannot stress enough how important it is for people to realize that this is someone's profession — whether they are a college student, a single mother working their second job of the day, a new dad who needs to pay off the loan he needed to take out to get a safer car for his child, your friend, your mom, your dad, your sister, your brother, you.

If you cannot afford to tip, do not come out to eat. If you cannot afford the three alcoholic drinks you gulped down, plus your food and a tip do not come out to eat.

If you cannot afford the $10 wings that become half-off on Tuesdays plus that water you asked for, do not come out to eat.

If you cannot see that the person in front of you is working their best to accommodate you, while trying to do the same for the other five tables around you, do not come out to eat. If you cannot realize that the man or woman in front of you is a real person, with their own personal lives and problems and that maybe these problems have led them to be the reason they are standing in front of you, then do not come out to eat.

As a server myself, it kills me to see the people around me being deprived of the money that they were supposed to earn. It kills me to see the three dollars you left on a $40 bill. It kills me that you cannot stand to put yourself in our shoes — as if you're better than us. I wonder if you realize that you single-handedly ruined part of our nights.

I wonder if maybe one day you will be in our shoes, and I hope to God no one treats you how you have treated us. But if they do, then maybe you'll realize how we felt when you left no tip after we gave you our time.

Cover Image Credit: Hailea Shallock

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Sociolinguistics Series: Part 50

Language is a powerful tool.

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It's part 50--halfway to 100! I'm so glad to still be here writing! In this section, we will talk about Dr. Shikaki's findings on how Palestinians view the state of Israel.

25 years ago, 85% of Palestinians supported a two-state solution. 10 years ago, this number decreased to 70%. Dr. Shikaki believes this was due to an increase in the prominence of Islamism in Palestinian society during the second intifada; Islamists were opposed to the two-state solution. In the most recent survey, the December 2018 one, only 43% of Palestinians supported the two state solution.

In 2000, American President Bill Clinton met with Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Barak and PA Chairman Yasser Arafat at the Camp David Summit to come up with a solution to the conflict. It ended without an agreement, but in December of 2000, Clinton once again proposed a resolution: the Clinton Parameters.

The content of the Parameters basically allowed Israel to annex settlements while Palestine to take 94-96% of the West Bank, as well as Arab neighborhoods in East Jerusalem. There were other guidelines regarding territory, refugees, security, and the end of the conflict. Essentially, the West Bank would have been split up by Israeli roads and settlements--which is kind of the reality today.

Both the Israeli government and Arafat accepted the terms with reservations, and Arafat wrote to Clinton a letter asking for clarifications on the terms. Clinton and Dennis Ross, an envoy of the Parameters, publicized that Arafat had refused to accept the terms; they painted Palestinians in a negative light, saying that Israel wanted to accept the peace negotiations but Palestine did not.

American Lawyer Robert Malley was at the Camp David Summit and oversaw parts of the Clinton Parameters. In 2001, he said that three myths had come out of the failure of both negotiations, and that these three myths were dangerous to any future peace processes if people kept believing in them.

These myths are as follows: "Camp David was an ideal test of Mr. Arafat's intentions," "Israel's offer met most if not all of the Palestinians' legitimate aspirations," and "The Palestinians made no concession of their own."

He said that these three statements were not true but very heavily publicized by America and Israel after the negotiations failed; rather, there is more nuance to each of these issues, and America and Israel have just as much responsibility in the failure of the Summit and Parameters as Palestine did. Malley wrote, "If peace is to be achieved, the parties cannot afford to tolerate the growing acceptance of these myths as reality."

Anyway, what does this have to do with Dr. Shikaki? He polled Palestinians not only on the their attitudes to the two-state solution, but the Clinton Parameters as well. 25 years ago, there was 60% support for the Clinton Parameters by Palestinians, but the June 2018 poll showed that the number had gone down to 37%.

The last ten years shows a significant decrease in public support for both the two-state solution and the Clinton Parameters, and it could be a result of disagreeing with specific parts of the proposals (such as how the Temple Mount/Dome of the Rock or Jerusalem is delegated).

I did some further digging when I got home, and I found this data from the UN Division for Palestinian Rights website:

"A 25 December [2000] published poll found that 48% of the 501 Israelis questioned were opposed to the proposals; 57% would object to Palestinian control of the Al-Aqsa Mosque compound; 72% were against even a limited return of Palestinian refugees to Israel. A 29 December published poll found that 56% of the Israelis would oppose a peace agreement reached on the basis of the Parameters."

This shows that though public media--especially Western media--may have painted the Palestinian government as the villain (and Israel and America as the "victims"), the proposals accepted by either government had varied support among its people.

The Israeli civilian population did not want to accept the Clinton Parameters because of the way certain things would be resolved; their reservations lie with the Temple Mount/Al-Aqsa Mosque because the Temple Mount, which is the holiest site in the world for Jews, would have been given to Palestine, while Jews would have control of the Western Wall of the Temple Mount (which is the status quo).

In addition, there was a section in the Clinton Parameters that dealt with the right of return for Palestinians, where there would be a certain number of Palestinian refugees who settled in the West Bank and Gaza Strip, while other Palestinians either would become citizens of their host countries, move to a third-party country, or settle back into the land that is Israel Proper (with permission from the Israeli government, of course); many Israelis did not support this.

That was the public opinion years ago. Today, there is even less support for these proposals. Dr. Shikaki outlined three issues as reasons for a decrease in support of compromise, which we will cover in the next section. Stay tuned!

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