REiL – local poetry voices

review by Serena Wills
pics by Delilah Wisenhunt


REiL Show Review!!!!!
Lights dim
Guitars strumming
Violin singing tunes to the audience
While the drummer is beating on your heart
Coffee aroma tickling my nose as low chatter ceases

Welcome to the REiL Show where three phenomenal spoken word artists took the stage with vengeance at the Opening Bell Coffee house at its second and new location downtown at 300 N. Akard Street. Not your average coffee shop as you walk to the back with book cases that are sky high to the ceiling stacked with old records like Jimmy Hendrix, accordions, an old box radio, books about culture and artists accented with a trumpet to name a few items. Lori Mosely opened up the night loving on her guitar as she sang to the beat of a djembe drum in the background setting the tone for the evening.

Everywhere I turned there were people as they lined the walls like the bookcases and no seat was left empty to come out to see what all the fuss was about for the REiL Show.

Faint Image then took the stage playing background music that would make you fall in love with this band instantly as the Whimsical Will Richey, the Gifted G.F. Soldier and the feature…the Dynamic David Ratcliff blew people away with thought provoking, deeper than the ocean floor poetry!

Will Richey captivated the audience with his piece, “Agape.” Brief lesson for those who don’t know what the word means. Agape means an unconditional love. When you hear the word people relate it to how much God loves His people. This is something that one doesn’t receive often unless it’s from their Creator. Love as pure as a newborn babe. As his arms flared into the sky grasping for the rain that he imagined to pour out of the atmosphere as you heard him say, drip, drop, drip, drop… Agape love was raining down on the audience as they were lost in his subliminal words. He works crowds that makes the coolest person whose personality is like ice feel as warm as the chai tea latte that I was sipping on. He can be as humorous as he talks about his crazy days of being a pizza delivery guy to the seriousness as he did a piece about his friend Jake who plummeted to his death at the age of 19.


Next up we have David Ratcliff. Age is nothing but a number for this young 17 year old who is already a published author. His book Positive Poetry in Pink displays his emotions on paper from the time when his mother was battling breast cancer. You can log onto his website to order your copy at

Adults adorn him, children admire and want to be like him when they “grow up” and poets are speechless as his young tongue talks the knowledge of an elder. Although he admits that he has a lot of growing up to do he has surpassed the comprehension of the average teenager. As he, “Preaches poetry,” and looks at his hands like, “Night lights” because he can’t turn them off the crowd is feeling his slow to fast back to slow pace of his poetry. All the poets in the room were in agreement when he spit the line, “I woke up with a pen in my hand could’ve sworn I was dreaming.” As a few of us go to sleep with a pen, pencil and journal at our bedside. As his parents were sitting at the table beside me swaying to his ragtime feature, “Sleep Walking.” Taking it back to the old school he had the ladies singing (I…I think I’m…I…I…I think I’m) while the brothers chimed in and were crooning (Sleep Walkinggggggg… Sleep Walkinggggggg). By the end of the night we were bopping our heads and swaying to his poetry/smooth rap lyrics to ragtime. One gentleman leaned over to me and said, “That boy has been here before…he has an old soul.” That he does as he wore a shirt that was the color of royalty with the shade of deep purple. Even down to the blinged out Chuck Taylors there were hints of purple as he was the King of the night.


The round robin format they had was perfect as they did two rounds then a break and came back for one final round. I don’t know if the crowd was ready for GF Soldier who hails from New Orleans, LA. He was swept in after Hurricane Katrina and noted that his therapy for depression at that time was his poetry as he preaches the gospel through his lyrics. His presence demands your attention as he placed the mic behind him and stepped to the edge of the stage. His voice bounced off of the walls as he reached into the depths of your soul and spirit as he spit his poetry accapela to no music for the first two rounds. He broke down issues of depression, how he is grateful for the kingdom and Lord Jesus Christ to bring him through the storms and how a man should view their woman.

His poetry is about obedience to God and what can happen when one falls off the path of being one with Christ. He talks about being a real man and, “To be able to tell my brother I love him without feeling less of a man” struck cords with the most masculine brothers in there as they shifted in their seats.  This brother is so secure that he can tell you he loves you and knows he is still a man…a man of God. The last piece he did he tried a little something different. Faint Image laid down a smooth tune in the backdrop as he grabbed the microphone so we could really hear this piece. Ladies were snapping their fingers when he said, “You can’t put a price tag on her for she is your woman of virtue, of wisdom…” I wanted to put my journal down and give him a standing ovation. He’s a true man of the word and through his voice you feel the pain and anguish he went through losing everything in the massive storm and how God brought him out of it.


As the night dwindled down and came to an end I was astonished at these gentlemen who ripped the microphone and touched everyone in that audience. As Will stated, “Poetry is to be received and not judged.” It’s almost how people should view one another and not judge a person by how they look or dress. Receive them and get to know them because they can be like the great poets that blessed the mic.

I’m looking forward to the next Opening Bell Poetry Show as the brain power of Darryl Ratcliff is already working on cranking out an Artist Night Out and putting together another show at this cool and cozy coffee shop.

I left feeling energized and wanting to crack my laptop open and write to the good people who will read this review. I’m inspired by these gentlemen to keep writing and making things happen in the divine 2009. This is your friendly poet and writer Serena Wills signing off from the REiL Show. Stay tuned for more slamming shows! Peace and love!

3 Responses to “REiL – local poetry voices”

  1. This is great to see it up on the blog! Thanks for giving me the opportunity to do a review 🙂 Peace!

  2. Not only is it a great post, but Delilah’s photos are fantastic. I’d love to see more of this exact kind of thing on our blog: local creative voices loving other local creative voices. Thanks, Serena. -ML

  3. You are welcome Mike! And yes her pictures are simply amazing! She captured true emotion and talent!!!!

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