Mike McGee

Mike McGee

Mike McGee was born with Spina Bifida in Fort Campbell, Kentucky and Tennessee, but grew up in San José, California. McGee now writes and performs all over the world.

In 2003, he won the National Poetry Slam Individual Grand Championship in Chicago, and then in 2006 he won the Individual World Poetry Slam Championship in Charlotte, N.C., becoming the first person to attain both titles. McGee has served time as a pirate radio station disc jockey, altar boy, travel agent, floor sweeper, hip hop emcee, band leader, and screenwriter. He was also one of the first American poets to perform at the University of Paris, La Sorbonne.

McGee is a co-founder of the live spoken word groups Tons of Fun University (T.O.F.U.) and Solomon Sparrow's Electric Whale Revival.

Mike has a mighty appetite, an uncanny relationship with ladybugs, several tattoos and siblings, and a passable Scottish accent. He breathes somewhere between Silicon Valley, California and Vancouver, B.C. as often as possible, but currently resides in Worcester, Massachusetts. Mike thoroughly enjoys weather, beverages, the number 3, and the scent of mock orange blossoms in the spring. Welcome back. Live love. Feel free.

Mike McGee is a storyteller. He has been a force in the San Francisco Bay Area spoken word scene since 1999. His reach expanded in 2003 when he won the 2003 National Poetry Slam Grand Championship, then embarked on an international poetry and comedy tour, which has taken him all over Europe, Canada and the U.S. He has become a favorite performer to many schools around the U.S. and was one of the first Americans to perform at the University of Paris (La Sorbonne) and Glastonbury, the largest music festival in the world.

In 2006, Mike won the Individual World Poetry Slam Championship, becoming the first person to attain two separate titles.

Mike travels over 100,000 miles a year and has appeared on CBC, NPR, and had a popular performance on HBO's Def Poetry Jam. Mike was born with spina bifida and feels lucky to be alive, so his goal has always been to share his joy of life with every audience, and to get them to listen, laugh and think.


by Mike McGee

Dearest, woman
Your life has not ended
but chapters have closed themselves
Yes, maybe before you finished enjoying them
Keep reading

This is not a collapse, but
it is a completion in which you were not given full authority over
We never are
He was all to one of your halves
Now you must be all to the rest of yours
Use the strength you loved him for having

You cannot finish his life for him
He will move to wherever you believe he should go
Hold onto his voice and hear it in your own
Let his scent linger and notice it in others
Tell them why you stand so close

Remember the times he held you so small
Lift yourself up to that height
at the very least

Do not treat death
like a thing that happens to the few
but the most that happens to the whole of us

Mention him in passing
and don’t ever stop passing
See him in your friends
Know that he is in your family so thoroughly
It usually takes this grand departure
for them to appear everywhere else
Let them hold you now
He taught you
You taught them
It is their turn to hold you
It is our turn to hold you close

If and when you don’t feel him around you
Look into a mirror or simply
pay attention to your own living
and he will appear more and more often

Thank him for the good you are
For the love he taught you
and the time he gave

Name him in new people
if you must
but surely keep his name in ink
as reminder and reclamation

Know that he loved you
These cycles are so natural
that there is no reason for us to fight them
We try so desperately to have love returned to us
from creatures so temporary
yet, we give it away to them knowing
it must all end someday

This is the smartest thing we know how to do

So honor his life and
enter him into the ears of those who should listen
Keep him living
in those who are breathing still


© Mike McGee November 29, 2010

Birds © 2012 Calgary Spoken Word Society