Earworm: Poem of Champions

The Arts community in Colorado Springs, CO came together to support their local Hear, Here! Poetry Slam team. The team worked together to produce excellent material. If you like what you see and read, you can check out the CD online. As a result of these efforts, some talented artists and the Hear, Here! Team won Group Piece Finals at the National Poetry Slam in Oakland. Below, we’ve captured one of the pieces in video, audio, and text. This is the team’s favorite piece, “Earworm.”


Photo by Gregory Dikes.




Earworm Artwork by Haily Cryan.

Hear, Here! Colorado Springs – NPS 2014 Team Piece

(Click here to listen to the audio.)

All language is music.

Tongues are violins bowed across throat strings
Making telepathy possible

“What’s in your head…zombie, zombie, zombie hey hey hey oh…”
Is it any wonder melodies get stuck in your head?

A catchy phrase played on repeat—
Scientists call it an earworm,
Listeners call this a nuisance
Tunneling loops through our broken record heads
Earworms are the reason why when Ray Charles sings,
Georgia stays on everyone’s mind

They say to get rid of earworms
play out the song to the end
But not all tunes harmonize heartbeats.
Wars are waged on radio waves.

We hear anthems from enemy lines
Too many of us are singing to the tune of
“You’re not worth it.”

So every,
“You’re not good enough.”

“You’ll never make it”

“You can’t. . . . You can’t!
You can’t!!”

Plays on endless repeat until
there is nothing left to do,
but let
“You don’t deserve to live.”
Play out to its logical conclusion.
Earworms made Kurt Cobain
shotgun squeeze MTV jingles out.
Earworms made Amy Winehouse
drown in her own addiction
Earworms Whitney Houstoned
into cocaine crackling static.

When a song is this catchy
the listener gets caught.
When an idea is this catchy
the listener gets caught!

You cannot Q-tip an earworm clean.
Our friends started believing
that death was the perfect chord
to their swan song.


And when Michael committed suicide
He left his note disguised
hanging like his last unfinished melody
strikes an unresolved chord.
He played these notes on repeat
until he could not hear the voice of gods
for the cacophony apocalyptic!
I wish I had told him
one of the best ways to get rid of an Earworm
Is to listen to new music—
Replace those minor melodies
with major changes—
Learn a new instrument with fewer frets.

Today’s heaven is part hell
but half whole
so turn the anthem of your life
Tilt the tune of your tongue to a different track!

You are not one hit wonders
We are symphony
You are song
We speak in music!
You are not an FM station
passively receiving static.
Let your alarm clock tell you
that you are beautiful.
Laughter is the human equivalent
to phoenix song—
Screams are just hymns
understood by survivors—

So Listen!

There’s a story in your head
waiting to shatter the radio
You are not unarmed in this sonic war
You are sound and fury
Pick up the violin in your throat
and answer back.
Rage against the machine
And sing. . . .

“What’s in your head. . . .”

and SING—
Until your lungs collapse

And Sing
until you believe

And Sing
until you triumph

And Sing
until you save yourself

And Sing
until you’ve saved someone else!

Pay attention
to the warble & trill
of your own voice!

And Sing!!!—

is always