How it all started. (My journey to Oz)

on Jan 16, 2014 in Uncategorized

The Eastown Hookah Lounge is the home of Smokin Spoken Word, the longest running open mic in West Mi!

This is the logo for “The Eastown Hoohah Lounge”

I could bore you with the struggles or the learning to walk that turned into my poetic stride,
But I will save you the time.

What really sparked my motivation, my drive, and the desire to critique my talent was a single venue (as well as a single city)
And that was The Eastown Hookah Lounge in Grand Rapids, MI!

This is a show of “Smokin’ Spoken Word” hosted on Wealthy St. (The Bricks – 1522 Wealthy St Se to be exact!)
Every Wednesday from 9:30ish to 11:30ish.
They are the LONGEST running, strictly spoken word open mic in WEST MIGHIGAN?! (5 years strong!)

For three years I have been able to spend falling in and out of love with art, and deeper into love with poetry.

For three years I have watched the faces come. Some grow, and others fade into mere glimpses across dimly lit bars.
And for three years critique what I love and would learn to turn into my largest priority, and most influential life changing staple in my life.

That is thanks to Azizi Jasper (As well as that venue) A poet, a mentor, and community activist.
(The Poem “Oz” is actually a tribute to him you can hear it at

That poem and my largest connection with Azizi, started after a 6mo-year hiatus while aspiring to write hip-hop. He saw me outside of a venue and asked me, “are you done wasting your talent, or are you ready to get back on the mic and start speaking the truth again?”

I did.

If you are ever in Grand Rapids on a Wednesday and want to catch a show (that, as of 2013, was going for 5 years), please, enjoy the scent from the hookah smoke, the broken in couches, the broken in voices, and the amazing homely atmosphere.

And as he always said, “Don’t forget to tip your wait staff.”

If you are an aspiring writer in Grand Rapids, want to share your voice, or just want to stop in on a YOUR travels. I suggest you start there.

“Because I did”

At the longest running open mic in West Michigan "Smokin Spoken Word". Pictured, Azizi Jasper, Stevie Soul, Marcel Price "Fable", and Duke Green.

From L-R (Azizi Jasper, Stevie Soul, Marcel “Fable” Price, and Duke Green)

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