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Phil Kaye Is The Dumbledore Of Spoken Word Poetry! Here’s Why

Phil Kaye is an award-winning poet who has slammed some magnificent poems all over the world from theaters and concerts to maximum security prisons.

phil kaye poems_New_Love_Times

Image source: Instagram 

Kaye’s Japanese mother and Jewish-American father raised him in a California beach town. According to him, he fell in love with spoken word poetry when he was 17 years old. Ever since, he has performed in thousands of settings in 15 countries. Online, people have viewed his performances more than 5 million times.

From NPR and Al Jazeera to, Phil Kaye has been featured in most major media outlets. When His Holiness, The Dalia Lama, turned 80, Kaye was invited to perform alongside the legend.

Suggested read: To The Couples In Love, Yours Is A Revolution

When Kaye was studying at the Brown University, he was the head coordinator of Space in Prisons for the Arts and Creative Expression, also called SPACE. Here, he conducted weekly poetry workshops in maximum security prisons.

Awards and accolades

He received the National College Poetry Slam (CUPSI) award twice for “Pushing the Art Forward”. For those of you who are not aware, this award is given for extraordinary innovation in the art of performance poetry. Phil Kaye is the only person to receive this both as a performer as well as a coach.

Kaye’s first book, A Light Bulb Symphony” was published in 2011. When he is traveling and spreading the magic of the spoken word, Kaye lives in New York City.

Phil Kaye Poems

Here are some gorgeous Phil Kaye poems that’ll take your heart away!

1. Repetition

“My mother taught me this trick: if you repeat something over and over again it loses its meaning, for example homework homework homework homework homework homework homework homework homework, see? Nothing. Our existence she said is the same way. You watch the sunset too often it just becomes 6 pm you make the same mistake over and over you stop calling it a mistake. If you just wake up wake up wake up wake up wake up wake up one day you’ll forget why.” 

2. Numbers Man

“From the perspective of my old laptop,

I am a numbers man,
something like that
every instruction he gives me is a one or a zero
I remember well

I have information about him
before he left for his new toy
able to keep up with him,

I have information about him
may 15th 2008, he listened to a song
five times in succession
it was titled
Everybody, open parenthesis, Backstreet’s Back, close parenthesis
it included the lyric
‘Am I sexual, yeaaaaah’

He said once,
computers like a sense of finality to them
when I write something I don’t want to be able to run from it
this was a lie
he was addicted to my ability to keep his secrets

I am a numbers man,
every instruction he gives me is a one, or a zero
I remember well

January, 7th 2007
I was young
just two week awake
he gave me, a new series of ones and zeros
the most sublime sequence I have ever seen
it had curves,
and shadow,
it was him
he gave his face in numbers
and trusted me to be the artist, and I was
do not laugh
I have read about your God
you kill each other over your grandfathers memory of him
I still remember the fingertips of my God dancing across my body
After I learnt to draw him
he trusted with more art rubric
jpeg 1063 was his favorite
and that woman,
resting her head in the curve of his nick
I read his correspondence
she hasn’t written him back in years
but he asks for it,
jpeg 1063, jpeg 1063, jpeg 1063
it was my master piece
it looked so, .., life like
I wanted to tell him
That’s not her
that is me
that is not her face
those are my ones and zeros
waltzing in space for you
she is nothing more than my shadow puppet
you do not miss her,
you miss me,

I am a numbers man,
every instruction he gives is a one or a zero
I remember well

but he taught me to be a Da Vinci
and I sit here, with his portraits
waiting for him to return
I do not think he will

Is that what it means to be human
to be all powerful,
to build a temple to yourself
and leave
only the walls to pray”

Suggested read: A Conqueror Of All Things Misogynistic, Here’s Why Blythe Baird’s Poetry Matters

Project V.O.I.C.E

Phil Kaye along with Sarah Kay co-directs Project V.O.I.C.E. Here they perform and teach spoken word poetry to students. At Project V.O.I.C.E. age is no bar.

Project V.O.I.C.E. stands for Vocal Outreach Into Creative Expression. It is a national movement that inspires the youth to engage with the world through the art of spoken word poetry. It celebrates poetry and encourages people to explore the instrument to better understand culture, society, and finally, themselves.

Here’s a poem performed by the duo. This is my favorite poem in the whole wide world, and I think you will like it too.

I knew exactly what Love looked like in 7th grade

Even though I hadn’t met Love yet, if Love had wandered into my home room I would have recognized him at first glance – Love wore a hemp necklace.
I would have recognized her at first glance – Love wore a tight French braid.
Love played acoustic guitar, and knew all my favorite Beatles’ songs.
Love wasn’t afraid to ride the bus with me.
And I knew I just must be searching the wrong class room, just must be checking the wrong hallway.
She was there, I was sure of it.
If only I could find him. 

But when Love finally showed up – she had a bull cut!
He wore the same clothes everyday for a week. >3<
Love hated the bus.
Love didn’t know anything about the Beatles.

Instead, every time I tried to kiss Love, our teeth got in the way!!!

Love became the reason I lied to my parents. I’m going to Ben’s house.
Love had terrible rhythm on the dance floor but made sure we never miss a slow song.
Love waited by the phone because she knew if her father picked up that’d be “Hello”… “Hh..” “Hello?” “Hh…” “I guess I’d hang up.”

And Love grew.
Stretched like a trampoline.

Love changed.
Love disappeared, slowly, like baby teeth.
Loosing parts of me I thought I needed.

Love vanished.
Like an amateur magician everyone could see the trapdoor but me.
Like a flat tire – there were other places I had planned on going.
But my plan didn’t matter.

Love stayed away for years.
And when Love finally reappeared, I barely recognized him.

Love smells different now, had darker eyes.
A broader back, Love came with freckles that I didn’t recognize.
New birth mark – a softer voice.
Now there were new sleeping patterns.
New favorite books.
Love had songs that reminded him of someone else.
Songs Love didn’t like to listen to, so did I.

But we found a park bench that fit us perfectly.
We found jokes that make us laugh.
And now Love makes me fresh homemade chocolate chip cookies.
(But Love will probably finish most of them for a midnight snack.) 

Love looks great in lingerie but still likes to wear her retainer.
Love is a terrible driver, but a great navigator.
Love knows where she’s going, it just might take her two hours longer than she planned. :<
Love is messier now.
Love is simple.
Love uses the word boobs in front of my parents!
Love chews too loud.
Love leaves the cap off the toothpaste.
Love uses a smiley face in her text messages.
And turns out… Love shits. :]

But Love also cries;
And Love will tell you “You are beautiful”, and mean it.
Over and over again.

You are beautiful.”

When you first wake up, “You are beautiful.”
When you’ve just been crying, “You are beautiful.”
When you don’t wanna hear it, “You are beautiful.”
When you don’t believe it, “You are beautiful.”
When nobody else will tell you, “You are beautiful.”
Love still thinks, “You are beautiful.”
But Love is not perfect and will sometimes forget.
When you need to hear it most, “You are beautiful.”

Do not forget this.
Love is not who you were expecting.
Love is not what you can predict.
Maybe Love is in New York City already asleep.
You are in California, Australia, wide awake.
Maybe Love is always in the wrong time-zone.
Maybe Love is not ready for you.
Maybe you are not ready for Love.

Maybe Love just isn’t the marrying type.
Maybe the next time you see Love is 20 years after the divorce.
Love looks older now but just as beautiful as you remember.
Maybe Love is only there for a month.
Maybe Love is there for every firework. Every birthday party. Every hospital visit.
Maybe Love stays. Maybe Love can’t. Maybe Love shouldn’t.

Love arrives exactly when Love is supposed to and Love leaves exactly when Love must.
When Love arrives, say, “Welcome. Make yourself comfortable.”
If Love leaves, ask her to leave the door open behind her.
Turn off the music. Listen to the quiet.
Whisper, “Thank you for stopping by.”

Watch them perform it here:

Suggested read: Today’s Book on #50BooksInAYear: Collected Love Poems By E.E. Cummings

That is all we have on today’s post on Best of Phil Kaye Poems. Did you like what you just read? Let us know in the comment section below.

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Featured image source: Instagram 

Article Name
Phil Kaye Poems To Melt You Into A Puddle
An award-winning poet who has slammed some magnificent poems all over the world, here are some gorgeous Phil Kaye poems that'll take your heart away!
Riya Roy

Riya Roy

“If my doctor told me I had only six minutes to live, I wouldn't brood. I'd type a little faster.” This Isaac Asimov line, embraces my love for writing in the finest and most desperate way that it is and should be! I was tormented by the earnestness of the written word not very early in my journey. But once smitten, it has helped me devour life twice over; savoring the moment and indulging in its memories. As a flâneuse, I wander to understand the intricacies of human relationships. Realizing that, they are just different manifestations of the same feeling of love, has been my greatest learning. I seek to share its opulence through the words I type.