Suzi Q. Smith: Read the poetry created by this week's cover artist

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Emily Driskill
In this week's cover story, "Slam, Bam, Thank You, Ma'am," we profiled Suzi Q. Smith, one of Denver's strongest voices and the number three female slam artist in the world. Smith spends 30 percent of her year traveling to teach and promote poetry outside of Colorado, but she spends 100 percent of her time brainstorming, collecting and writing new poems. Throughout the story, Westword introduced you to one of her most recent pieces, "When I Am Quiet," but Smith's back catalog numbers in the hundreds.

Click through to read "When I Am Quiet" and six of Smith's other poems, and stay tuned for videos of her performances. It is one thing to read her poetry; it is quite another thing to see it.

When I Am Quiet

When I laugh, I mean it.
Loud and from my belly.
Throw my head back, shake my hair
and even show the generous gap
between my two front teeth.

It is when I am quiet that it is time to pay attention.
When I am quiet something big is about to happen.

When I am quiet I am concentrating.
When I am quiet I am going to climax.

When I am quiet I love you too powerful to speak.
When I am quiet I am going to take off your pants and change your life.

When I am quiet I am remembering what I have hidden at the tops of the closets
and deciding how best to pack them.

When I am quiet I am trying not to cry.
When I am quiet I am going to leave.

When I am quiet I am holding my tongue
curling my fist 'round it
tracing my fingers along the tip
wanting to throw it
wanting to hide it
wanting to swallow it.

I have words. Many, many words.
I have tongue and teeth and lips.

I keep a hurricane in my throat.

When I am quiet,

when the eerie silence fills the room
when the air is a wool coat, wet and heavy

when your body is an electrical fire
when your body is geometry dismembered

when everything about me is piercing and present
when everything I feel is too big to fit into my mouth,

when I am quiet
something big is about to happen.

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