That time when I got to see Phil Kaye and Sarah Kay perform

March 2, 2015

Irwin Theater, Ateneo de Manila University


It was a wonderful day. The weather was just right as night began to fall in Ateneo. I had been looking forward to this day for a couple of weeks now. Finally, I would get to see Phil Kaye and Sarah Kay performing live on stage. Many people might not know how big a fan I am of Spoken Word poetry. It’s one of those hobbies that I really don’t get to share around until recently. I mean, I dunno, I don’t exactly know who’s gonna get it or who would even relate to it. But I’m glad to discover that a lot of people are actually into it. One of my closest friends, Edzon Rapisora calls it “high art” jokingly. I think it is high art too, but for a different reason. While Edzon thinks Spoken Word poetry might be high in the sense that it is not easily reachable, I’d like to think of it as art that makes you high. Like a drug. High Drugs. High pare. High.


Anyway, the Irwin began to fill up pretty quickly. At 530, the line was only at the side of the theater, at 545, it was reaching all the way to the back, at 6pm i think it was already stretching all the way into marikina. Prolly at around 615 it was pretty close to the depths of hell. (It sucks to be in line late!) It was nice to see a bunch of familiar faces and more importantly, fellow fans of poetry. And this sort of thing is not as rowdy as a rock concert. But make no mistake, these poets are modern rockstars in their own right. And in a field of their own. Actually, they’re more than rockstars. They’re stars that guide people into navigating in and out of their thoughts, their innermost feelings. I know this for a fact because poetry does that for me. It helps me verbalize certain feelings, and helps me figure out how to deal with them.



The not so long line outside the Irwin theater

While we were waiting in line, a camera crew came up to me and interviewed me. I was wearing a #poetees shirt and they thought it would look nice on camera. I obliged. I suck at these interviews. I don’t think they’ll be able to use my cheesy answers. But it was a good experience. I tried my best knowing that Phil and Sarah would see these responses. I was pretty damn nervous. But what the heck.


620pm. Phil Kaye walks out and greets people at the line. This group of girls in front of me was making tili. I immediately whisper to my friend Guelan: (translated) “That’s what I want. If i become a poet, I hope when I walk by, pretty girls will be kilig at my presence.” We laugh at the idea. Of course, poetry is about making people feel. What a nice fantasy it was at that point to actually make people feel kilig. Phil had this different aura to him. Like he was this quiet guy. The kind of guy who would be a class officer, or the type of guy you’d hang out with to play board games. He seemed like a pretty relaxed guy. He was handling the intense female attention very well. He was cool.


630pm and the line starts moving. But stops again outside the theater. All of a sudden a casual Sarah Kay runs out the doors and starts high fiving people from the line. She grazed my hand. First thought to myself: “MAN SHE IS TALL. IN HER YOUTUBE VIDS SHE DIDN’T SEEM TOO TALL.” Youtube you have deceived me once more. Second thought was “OMG ITS SARAH KAY DONT BREAK DOWN. DONT LOOK AT HER. SHE WILL KNOW YOU LOVE HER. BREATHE JUST BREATHE. OMG SHE’S COMING CLOSER. SHE TOUCHED MY HAND. SHE LOVES ME. THIS IS DESTINY. WAHHHHH”. I though I handled it pretty well. I was cool.

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Sarah high fiving people

Finally at around 715 we get to set down. It would almost be a full hour before the show started. Obviously. 1100 people won’t walk and sit down inside the theater in a flash. I’m used to sitting down and waiting for theater shows to begin. But something was different today. There was no house music (only ads and acknowledgements), there was no present lights, no elaborate or minimalist set. These usually give me an idea of something to look forward to during the show. Or at least it keeps me entertained until the lights dim and the play begins. But nothing but an empty stage with a curtain and a spotlight. I knew some of their poems, but other than that, I did not know what to expect.  So I sat, and waited quietly. Then I fidgeted. Then I took a selfie with my friends. Then I felt tired so I took a 10 minute nap. Then I woke up feeling fresh and excited.



 With friends from L-R: Guelan, Inna, Chungy

But the wait was worth it. As the two poets came out, I felt my heart jump into overdrive. I was determined not to take a video of any of the poems. I wanted to savor every moment I would get to see these poets live. It’s so sad seeing some of the audience members watching these two poets from the live view of their camera phone. I took a few photos to remember the experience, but I don’t think those can ever make me relive those moments where I cried. When I laughed. (Phil is super funny, I think he has this Vic Sotto-esque quality about him — the quirky, awkward thin guy who all the ladies fancy despite that). I listened and clapped after every poem. I tried very hard not to cry, but these poems were just so moving. Sometimes, I’d get lost because they’d go with a fast delivery, but I find myself being able to catch up at one point. I held my breath with each painful heartstring that was pulled. I was watching them, but a bazillion images would be playing in my head. Images from their poems. And then every now and then I’d hear an amazing rhyme, and I’d point to them and softly say” “you ha, that was brilliant!”. I hung on to every word, and tried to grasp every metaphor. And before I knew it it was almost 2 hours. Not once did I think of going to the bathroom, or if there would be an intermission, or if there was something else I had to do at work. I was there with Phil and Sarah swimming in their souls and bathing in their feelings. I cried several times I must admit. I hate crying in public, it’s so out of character for me being a big burly guy who is super kaduper funny. (at least I think I’m funnier than most people I know.). The poets end with “When Love Arrives”. Aptly enough, the last line of that poem is “Thank you for stopping by.” And that was how i felt. I was just so thankful to see them. Thank you for Stopping by Phil and Sarah.


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After the show, I made a few friends outside while standing in line for merchandise and autographs and pictures. THEN I FINALLY MET THEM. I TALKED TO THEM. SHOOK THEIR HANDS. I could not take an #apagsawesomeselfies, but they have an official photographer and they’ll post the pictures online daw. So I’m excited for that. Also, sadly, Sarah’s book didn’t make it past Philippine Customs. WHICH TOTALLY SUCKS. So the volunteers will mail the books to people who purchased them. I’m even more excited for that!


A message to you Philippine Customs: FIX YOURSELVES!!!!


And with that I end this short retelling of yesterday. I’m gonna have a #poetees give away contest, so you’d better watch out for that. Again, thanks Phil and Sarah!

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