Vaishakh (Buddha Pournima) by Maxime

"As all of life’s a tragedy
There’s no more point in choosing –
The greatest moments of our lives
We’ll all soon end up losing.”

Thus spake the Buddha, then he danced
Into the funeral pyre;
And all his devotees, entranced,
Watched him as he expired.

Then came a breeze to blow the flames
And ashes all away,
And Buddha danced within the wind;
Oh how his hips did sway!

And the devotees watched and laughed
’s he swung and did not tire,
And laughing still they then got up
And danced into the fire.

Maxime comments: I guess the format is my favourite one: a very square one, in all respects. But then again, Gâutama was quite a square person.

My father rented an owl (+other shorts) by Conor Quinn

My father rented an owl for some goddamn reason. He set it up in the kitchen and we watched it for an hour as it swivelled its head and glowered at us with angry round eyes. It did little besides that. One by one we left the room.
My father lingered the longest, trying to look like he knew what it was for. He sat and read the papers and smoked, waiting for it to start. Finally he began to look at us angrily, like we had brought this useless animal into the house. I don’t even think he returned it. It might still be up in our attic.


I woke her by muttering in her ear and pressing my thumb against her temple. After a twist and a groan the eyes on the front of her head opened and begin looking at my face. I giggled and bound off the bed. The glacier floor sent a ghastly freeze up my spine. I murmured a little prayer to my penis, floating over my head, and then the cold toad slinked off of my toes and everything fell into place, ready to push forward.
She followed me out of the bedroom as I descended from the landing. There were no limits to my black heart. It had devoured the universe.
At the foot at the stairs I paused to sniff the roses stolen from her mother’s grave. The damp dawns of her departure lingered within their tightly folded petals. Their silent bobbing stalks nodded in assent, confirming all I did was right. No more fireworks now, just the slow nibbling forward.
As I prepared a special meal I heard her move above then descend the stairs with deliberate steps.
It was Shakespeare’s birthday, I told her. I suggested we eat cat food to mark the occasion, then get drunk and walk around. She thought this was laughable. What would people think?
I had other suggestions, but they all began with drunkenness. She understood and yielded her consent. I cracked open a fresh bottle of vodka and we passed it back and forth like a sacrament. When it was finished we flung open the door and lurched out into the morning.
Someone caught my eye, we locked gazes for a moment, then I broke away and moved my eyes to an innocuous spot. Then I frowned. Then I told her how I felt about the Nazis. Then we visited a war memorial. Then they visited other local sights: the flower market, the lake, the home of a child molester. Then we each bought two litres of cheap cider each. Then we trespassed the grounds of a girls secondary school and drank the cider as the moon rose. Then I had to throw up. Then we visited her friend but his mother wouldn’t let us in. Then we walked two miles home.


I bought some meat from the local supermarket the other day. I never buy meat, I’m not sure how to cook it. I’m always afraid of catching salmonella or something so I always burn it to a cinder. It’s hard to eat but I’d rather be safe than ill, you know what I mean?
So I was getting a lump of beef and some spuds and other vegetables. When I got to the counter I smiled at the checkout girl. She smiled back and said "Good evening."
“Good evening," I said, "do you ever touch your tits and think about when you were a baby?" She didn’t hear me properly so I had to repeat it. When she understood she went red and pretended like I wasn’t there. I kept smiling, waiting for her to answer but she wouldn’t.
After I paid I waited at the door, staring at her but she avoided my eyes. I left feeling offended and swore never to shop there again.


I swear to all heaven, the whispering fictions I gather to adorn your waning memory will never bewilder, like the logic of poetry, nor will they clothe your feeble wonder in the fatal organs of delusion. They will only raise your passion for communication, or lay to sleep the pain of self-preservation.
Add to this the abundance of vile beauty and the miserable rhythm of language, and a fossil of security will hold together the naked corpse of your being. Your famished instinct for manifold error slinks off to twist the roots of solitude.
But, no matter what mysteries we intone, the evolution of experience will exhaust all song and fiction. The seclusion of wisdom no longer saves, it only watches.


HERE we are at the gates. Low houses decorated with a black enclosing wall. Our horses’ hooves sink deeper into black things above a city of coal. The land follows a lacework of which follows a fire. The gloom of barricades where fighting must have been destroyed, after fire and all-pervading ashes. We are at one with the ashes, which make our faces tingle.
The leaping dreams; the sky glows; fragrant hunters command. The soft doorway dreams. This wild regret moves a few straggly beggars snivelling in the stale material of curious debris, binding and formed of the double triple gates. Colossal black mass of ruins. A city of barricades where fighting is all that is left. We are wading, stepping upon the corners of an infinite labyrinth of all-pervading relics.
I hurtle through the ruins of this life we all have adopted. It is no accident that modern education does not teach us the true aspect of life. O they aren’t interested in anything less than regret. I laugh and I cannot leave town.
Behind this bare song, I sit. Does the cold flame strive? Sky tight and empty, quick sparrow. The blunt shell spinning, supple but loose. Angry, she bubbles, with pink pools. The weary fox soars when leaden seagulls command. The queen crawls. The monk comes to the water.
Path gnarled and dismal. Not dismal, not gnarled, I speak.

Good Morning by Nila McCann

Good Morning!
What’s so good about it?
Is it good because you said so?
I hate mornings!
What if I don’t feel that way?

Why doesn’t anyone say…
OK morning or
bad morning or
average morning or
hungover morning or
‘I’m sick of mornings’ morning?

The truth about waking up sounds more like:
Hell is the sound of my alarm clock morning
I wish I were still in bed morning
I quit mornings morning

At work we could all just admit:
I hate Mondays morning
I haven’t had my coffee yet morning
Do I have to go to work today? Morning

Or honestly ask each other:
Why do you care? morning
You don’t care? morning
I don’t care! morning

The awkwardness we’d avoid if we’d say:
Let’s just fuck morning
I don’t want to see you again morning
It doesn’t happen to other guys morning

Think of how honest it is to simply say:
I cheated on my taxes morning
I slept with your wife morning
I lied to you morning

Or the stress we would relieve if we could say:
I don’t love you anymore morning
I never loved you morning
I want a divorce morning

Fuck it !! Let’s just skip mornings altogether!

Good afternoon

21st May at The Lizard Lounge

That was one of the best nights we've done yet. So thanks everyone who came. Three rounds of poetry, each about 8 short slots of 2 poems/5 minutes... but with some longer exceptions such as Xander's moving story (We Walked Slowly Among The Lemon Trees - you can read it on his blog follow link on the right) and Lucas' blistering response to T.S. Eliot's Wasteland. A good range of stuff too, from the more beautiful spoken word stuff to sharper, funnier performance poetry such as Nila's and Lucas'. Gideon also read for the first time. Nila read a published piece in the vein of Good Morning. And of course Erica sang - blew everybody away - even drew in Cesar from the bar to listen. Really enjoyed it. Drank too much. Was up till late composing dirty limericks with Maxime and Conor. What more can you ask for?

Ink is blood by David Barnes

This is a kind of declaration or manifesto about writing, about it being a deep aspect of who I am. About choosing to write. (Do you choose? Perhaps only in the same sense as you choose whether to be yourself.) About the sense of untapped potential that could be unlocked. About confidence in its fulfilment.

Ink is blood

Ink is blood that courses through the arteries of the mind containing all colours within its darkness
Flowing in search of light and release to the rhythmic pulse of the heart
Words are shorthand for experience and imagination
A currency of vision and desire exchanged without loss
Words are the seed crystals that drop into the jar that contains the soul and expand into fractal mosaics
They are lights in the dark
Syllables that touch off recollection of other voices, that re-ignite un-memories in the inaccessible corners of the heart

When I was born I drank a cup of black ink and now I bleed words
My mind is full of words and photographs of unreality
And I can see there is a wall of water coming
I know it by the pressure in my ears
By the sound of the shore
By the harmonic vibration of every water molecule in every cell of my body in sympathetic echo
There is a wall of water coming and it will break in the mind
These tears that trace the outline of my face are only the first brimming over of the flood
The false breaking before the wave comes.

Going underground

The Subterranean Poetry Club holds its first meeting

... somewhere under the 14th arrondisement. The square cut stone tunnels like some tomb, some long dead corridor in the soundless heart of a pyramid. 18 of us made the descent, 18 of us made it back, through a hole in the wall of an abandoned railway tunnel. So many junctions, so many twists and turns. Without a map we'd have been lost. Water sometimes deeper than our boots, how long has it been trapped down there? Spoke to some other spelunkers who were going to La Chateau - discovered a castle carved out of rock. In La Plage before a fresco of a Japanese wave we halted. David Hawkins retold a folk ballad, spoke of murder and that elusive almost perfect crime. We invoked The Hollow Men. Ink was blood and it was Interesting Times for Generation Z. Joy, Deb and Danny spoke in terrifying sinsiter unison. Conor let loose the dogs of war, by owl light. The Fifth Dentist plied his trade. Maxime made as if to endarken Buddha. And more. All by soft whiskey light, the smell of candle wax, its hot burning drip on the hand.

Thanks to Danny and Peter for the photos.

Deep underground performance... David Hawkins takes the stage

Watery darkness

The flooded labyrinth

Holes, tunnels, La Chateau

Exploring the area La Plage

The Subterranean Poetry Club

We're going underground.
A poetry reading in the catacombs - next Saturday 12th May, meet at midnight metro Maison Blanche. Bring a torch and wellington boots (that's a flashlight and galloshes to Americans.) I'm not kidding about the boots as we'll be wading through water up to our shins.

Bring your deepest, darkest poems.
Bring verse from the locked boxes in the basement of your being.
From the subterranea of your unconscious.


If we're not in the metro - go to nearby bar Maison Blanche, 107 ave d'Italie.

Leroy Merlin sell boots for ten euros.

Don't be late.

Seth takes a break from bashing the keys of the Ogre's typewriter

Christine reads with rhythm and synchronicity

Who is that mysterious stripey man with the hat?

Yves, effortlessly acting the role of nonchalant barman

Rolling that last cigarette

End of the night

Reports are reaching us from 2nd May at the Ogre

The Paris streets were like a ghost town last night - everyone was indoors watching the great Sego vs Sarko debate. But in the Ogre à Plumes Spoken Word filled the upstairs bar for an intimate gig that spilled out onto the street.
Some razor sharp poetry and a lot of funny poetry, all kicked off with the opening from Under Milk Wood as an entré. Toby Dress spent 38 weeks in the womb and a night in Guadalajara, or somewhere like that. Naomi described the Hell of sleeping with an atheist and wished she was blonde. Neil dodged bullets to break the last glass angel in his grandma's house. Seth finally went out for some meaningless sex and found himself tied down and with a vicious desire to destroy all those ungraded essays. Denis played sax to Norma's night of the iguana. My poetry went on the run in Los Angeles. Bex was pursued by a walking cliché. Maxime, well, Maxime went mystical but was pinned down by Trudie's poem about himself. Christine met the love of her life and everything they said was simultaneous.

Till next time,