surprise poetry performance for my girlfriend

TL;DR: Wrote my girlfriend a poem for her birthday and got up and read it for the first time during a poetry slam to her complete surprise.

I originally wanted to write a hip hop song (her and I are big fans of the genre), except I have absolutely zero rhythm or good vocals. So I settled on writing a poem which actually turned out to my advantage. 

I have friends who like going to poetry slams and artistic events like that, so after hearing them talk about their experience I had the idea of actually performing it for her in front of the crowd instead of just giving it to her. I like to think I'm comfortable speaking in front of crowds, so I wouldn't have to deal with the obstacle of stage fright, and hey, it would probably be fun as hell. I haven't performed anything like this before.

So I blocked out four hours to just do nothing but write this thing. I needed a theme and settled on a poem about the journey of our relationship and how we came to be romantic together. I had a great time writing it and thought I did well, but I needed reassurance. The last thing I needed was for this to be just another cheesy ass poem. If I'm doing this it was to be some high level stuff. So I enlisted many of my friends and her friends to peer review it, make sure that 1) The rhymes weren't too cheesy and 2) The funny parts were actually funny. To my surprise I didn't have to change much! Now onto the actual performance.

Obviously, I wanted to surprise the hell out of her with this. So I did the basic boyfriend stuff for her birthday (ie. flowers and dinner) and ended with a fun nighttime event which would be a poetry slam and the Green Mill in Uptown, Chicago. She thought it would be cool and different. Now, side note: we were both underage at the time so we had to get in using fake identification. So if the bouncer turned us down, the night was scrapped! All the hard work for nothing. So that just added more pressure to the night, but as it turned out we were alllll good. 

The night was a poetry slam, and they enlisted local writers to come and perform their work for us, but before this went down they had an open mic section that allowed audience members to sign up and perform their work. This was my chance. When she went to the bathroom I talked to the emcee and signed myself up, he asked if I have ever wrote anything before, I said no, then he asked if I had every performed anything before, again, I said no. All he said was "okay man, good luck." 

The emcee was wonderful on-stage, great entertainment and was hilarious throughout. Music was spot on too. But now, time for the open mic. Two other performers went before me and when it was my turn to perform he gave me a long introduction about how this was my first time writing and first time performing, so he told the audience to be nice. 

Finally, he said my name and my girlfriend was in shock. The moment of shock is why I did this. It was so rewarding and I can literally see the expression on her face saying "is this real!?"

I got up said I love you, wish me luck. Went up there, pointed her out, and told the crowd it was her birthday and that I will be reciting a poem for her. I won't share the entire poem, because I like to keep it intimate to just her and those who were there that night, but I will share some of my favorite parts...

[discussing my uneasiness about making a move]
Finally I came to my senses.
My mind, my heart, were all in consensus.
I’m so glad my decision was right.
Do you remember when we kissed in the middle of the night?

My affection grows as more time will pass
It’s funny because at first I just thought of you as this girl with a really nice.. laugh.. you have a nice laugh..

I was so worried when my affection would end
But, next thing I know I’m asking “Will you be my girlfriend?”

[talking about her smile]
What it represents is someone who is happy
I hate seeing it all upside down and cranky
When that happens I get all depressed, you know?
Okay fine! We’ll watch your fucking Netflix show!

Thanks for being my girlfriend and doing everything you do.
There’s one last thing I have to say and that is: I love you.

There is plenty more, obviously, but the rest shall be saved for her and I..

It helped that the band on stage was playing an awesome tune to the rhythm of the poem. I gave them a big thanks after the show. Once I was done the emcee gave me some serious props and audience members kept wishing her happy birthday throughout the night and we were alluded too all night by the emcee and other performers. It was great, she loved it. She was even made a judge for the poetry slam which was an awesome time. 

Needless to say, we got pretty drunk and enjoyed the rest of the performances throughout the night. She literally could not believe I just did that for her. 

It made me an incredibly happy person knowing she loved it. We've been dating for a year now and she'll sometimes randomly say "Do you remember when you wrote me a POEM?!"  I love her to death and even if we do not end up together it makes me happy knowing that moment will be in both of our lives forever. Nobody can take that from us. 

As a bonus gift idea I think about taking the words of the poem and framing it. Maybe I can give it to her as a gift years down the road should we hopefully make it that far. 

It was an awesome experience and I urge everyone to bring out your inner artist and put words to a page. I did not know I had it in me, but I found something worth being creative for. 

Best of luck to everyone and their gift ideas!


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