Marianela's poem

Read at SpokenWord 22nd Feb 2010.
Marianela came from Venezeula. She was often around Shakespeare & Company when I arrived in Paris in 2003. She had led an unusual life, and told stories from it such as the kidnapping of her dog, in the poems she read at SpokenWord.
She died a week before this SpokenWord, after an operation against a very aggresive cancer.
She will be missed.

do not dream
of aging
with another
but of aging
with one’s self
nor of stealing
away from death
through childbirth
but of passing by
little bits
of living and
of dying.

Marianela Maduro 1994

il faut se méfier des mots/Aging Mozaic Story (from 22.2.10)

Being a story reconstructed from the smashed poetic fragments found littered around the bar of the Cabaret Populaire as the Last Poets took the Last Metro. A poetic vase, if you will, painstakingly rebuilt from broken china. A mosaic in which you may find a snatch, a phrase, a lost metaphor of your own work staring right back at you. Poets all being dealers in detritus.

He hadn’t shaved in months. His household now held more terror than the average. He needed cash and hash. The only solution was to go outside for a breather, a smoke. Pretend to be fully human. He looked in on the old lady first but she was still snoring. Reaching across the bed, he tore some stamps from her collection. Penny blacks. He’d sell ‘em down the pool hall.
Getting old, but still wearing tight jeans at sixty. Some do not dream of aging together with another, he thought, but of aging together with oneself. Too late for all that now, he was stuck with her till bad health or disaster got one of ‘em.
He shut the door to the house and stepped into the street. That old blind cat was lying out in the sun across the way. He could swear it was looking at him through its milky eyes.
And the high-wire children were up to their tricks again, on a clothes line slung between buildings 2 stories up. Conning the crowd, deft fingers pick pocketing. He’d been like them once. Stole a certain lady’s heart and her cat as well. But all that was long ago, now their life was like being trapped in some grim poster for Help The Aged.
He pulled his hat down to hide his soul. Paris was nothing but a dense village, but at least it wasn’t Oregon. His thoughts rattled around under his hat, like rats trapped in a mental cage. Someone was singing Mystical Wife, he could hear it coming through an open window. That used to be her favourite song, back in the day. He could picture her now, shuffling to the kitchen, feet like stones in her shoes, eating marzipan. God, she gives me slowness, he thought.
At the pool hall on the corner the drunks were already toasted. He took a position at the bar among the fallen and the furious. Dylan was there, cracking the balls, got a good hit, his head horizontal and held high. He looked away from Dylan and back to his drink. Somewhere he thought he could hear music. Doom, doom, doom.
‘Can you hear the drums?’ he said to the bum next to him.
‘There are no drums,’ the man said. ‘Who do you think you are?’
He shrugged. He didn’t want the hassle of a fight, just wanted to sell those penny blacks. He got up. Sailed, chin sideways through the beer. Things had changed here since last time. The barman had papered the wall with rejection slips, for one thing. Must have gotten a bad case of literary pretensions.
There in the back was that girl Pia and her beatnik friends. “I can’t wait to get old,” she was saying. “I plan to switch to the funkiest, smelliest brand of cigarettes and spend my time writing dirty books, butt naked.”
His connection was there. He sold the stamps. He got out of that madhouse. And then, right there on the street he was run down by an ambulance. His pockets stuffed with dollar bills.

Pia Pandelakis' Can't Hardly Wait (read at "Aging", 22nd Feb 2010)

There are so many perks to aging. I just can't wait. Being on old lady is going to rock my world. If I don't die of lung cancer in 20 years, which, let's face it, is a probability, I will be a granny to you all, I'll be the greatest nana the world has ever seen. And I'm not talking about sitting on my ass all day and feeding the birds, oh no.
First, if I make it and hit the age, say, 75, I'll make sure I'm still smoking. I'll switch to the nastiest brand, the kind that has a funky smell when it gets cold. That way, if I'm blessed with having grand children, they'll refuse to come to my house because it will stink. If my family ever decides to pay a visit, which they'll avoid as much as they possibly can, they'll find me typing on my mac book, writing dirty stories. I'll be butt-naked under an old bathrobe. Due to an extensive use of another apple device, I'll be hard of hearing and I will yell. I'll make sure to embarass everybody at the dinner table. I'll take advantage of my old age. I will relish to smell faintly like cheese. Also, in terms of clothing, I'll mix as many patterns as I can. I might even start going to church, to put my most glorious outfits on display.
I will also develop strange skills. Like : hotwiring a car. Yes. I'll learn that right after menopause.

Now, I don't think I'll need to be a cat lady. That's too obvious. Besides, I sort of hate pets.You probably think it's an outrageous thing to say, but when I'll get old, you won't dare saying a thing. This is one of the great aspects of becoming an old fart: you've got a complete licence to hate.
I'm going to love hating my neighbours, by the way. My great grandmother, bless her soul, used to pound on the ground with her cane, starting at 6 A.M just to wake her neighbors. Also she would accuse my grandmother of poisoning her soup. Now, that's what I call style.

Yes, it's gonna be a grand time. I just can't wait.

Report from Valentine's Day Hangover 15th Feb 2010

Valentine's Day hangover/guele de bois de St Valentin

Betty opened with a beautiful song. Indie, 5 years old, with another beautiful song: “Il y a un chat”.
Dylan’s father was an UFO. Robert went shopping for sour peaches and gave it to his lover. Rufo, Rudolph, Sue, Charlie, Jean Philip, Alberto: A poem for Camilla Parker Bowles, hated by everybody for being ugly, basically. So Charles and Camilla become “Tristan and Isolde”. “This kitchen is a suffocating beast”. “C’mon squeeze me like you doooooo”. “She did not like the Valentine’s gift that I gave her and she went supersonic”. “Once I saw a drunken bride, coming out from darkness, trembling and stumbling like a little white flame”. Bruce, victim of a metro at the wrong hour: “Making the love of surviving each other
Last year I sent you flowers
But this year – none of that crap
This year I sent you
A Venus Fly Trap

You gave me your heart
Now you’re asking for it back
Well I’ve cut it into pieces
And I’ve fed it to my cat

Follow the rest of the poem on our blog: Bitter Valentine.

Miss Peacock: “Love. This is another lie. I’m still waiting for the truth, so tell me another lie.”
Paul: Fuckin sport, sport fucking. The stoic Ukulhelen sings: Boyfriend in a coma. Isabel and Janet Winterspoon: I love you is always a quotation. Eric reading McGuckin’s poems, Megan reading Pessoa’s diaries, Bruce reading “When I was a boy in Kentucky” and Alberto The Poem of the Drunken Bride part II. The stranger stages an improvisational play featuring Miss Peacock with balls, aka John, Rudolph dedicated to Gabriel, Christopher wears a bag on his head and neologizes with Sarah. Jason goes bilingual and it’s fucking cool. So I take away a copy of his stuff ‘cause I want to put it in the report, and now I’ve lost it. Anna: “I like to to dream alone”, Marty introduces us to the whole work of P.K.R. Mieklejohn in Amour-Propre, Sarah writes poems on the metro, Rita is trapped in Budapest, Jessica: “Do you think I like you as a friend?” First kiss, followed by first sex, followed by first argue. We are aging. Let’s write about that.


Report from last time: Mirror, mirror

by David

Marie Clare a dans la vitrine de tes yeux. Gus began as a fake. He wanted to be liked but couldn't stand people. He turned into his worst nightmare - the singalong shyster, the best karaoke man in town. Marty huddled into his coat, spied on his neighbours' substitute goldfish in The Goldfish Substitution. Robert misintoxicated himself again. He got treatment for his synapse deficiency. Lynne knows grave tongues don't talk. Nobody comes to see a pile of yesterday people. Charlie asked Mirror, mirror, Who's the grooviest by far? Bruce knows poetry is for the not-so-straight shooters. Atleast boooks won't fade to black. David (me!) as half masonry, half pain. Beth was dried up by office heat; being puddled, she hunted the hunter. Isabel read John Seawright - the king of the barbers wants me on his throne with my bad teeth. The role of Alberto was played by Bruce. Who knows why they lace up lips when they want some damp between them? Megan had a farewell poem for Ida - no more women with unbraided wildness or to tell me the philosophy of air conditioners. Rudolf saw a robin, hysterical and unhinged, fall in a wasted convenience store. Rufo wheeled out of a migraine nightmare. He was drip fed by meercats. Chris + friend read his play about a dog called Raskolnikov. Samantha watched her crisis wander past her. JD Ragan and Jessica are falling out of love with Alaska, thanks to Sarah Palin. Claire Trev was the Furniture Whisperer. Beth's brain was ordered differently. Anna was drinking, not sinking. Rudolf's piano bore the callouses of early morning caresses, his stereo shellshocked. And finally Alberto took us to the toilets that Babe Ruth built.

A ce soir.


by Alberto

First Round: Mike Rainbow rinsing chapeau vs shampoo, Charlie?s sexy tender juicy fruit passion gang bang mango tango, Ukulelen: Le Rossignol Anglais, Vietnam had great poets, Afghanistan has great poets: Lynn reads Jalaluddin Rumi: How can wetness leave water? Poland has great poets: Colin reads Cyprian Kamil Norwid, Miss Peacock: passion comes back in waves, washes castles away and all is lost again, passion occours in waves. Jennifer: Molossus freezing in snow, I?m getting my gaga glam on, I wanna fuck you one more time. Troy: If my ass was a sailor I?d kiss him on his mouth, Isabowie: Passion turns on the left, passion turns on the right, Trev: 38 reasons not to write a love poem. Letisia and everybody is singing: "My bonny lies over the ocean". Alberto: While I was killing you I was telling you I love you. Mr. Dave: 243112609 or the fridge is out of eggs again, closes asking if there will be one day a canadian poet who?ll write a poem not referred to the weather.

Find him in the second round:

It's Troy. Betty featuring the Chipmunks. Don a day with the Sofia Lorenians. Sue, from Canada: Summertime. No way. Bruce: Popcorn Motel: Blood like butter, wounds like eyes, have you ever been to the movies for something other than surprise? Mike: Candy The Cow, The Belly Dancer. David, Neruda, Lynn, Claire, Isabel: I love you with waves on my shoulder, you ondulate to the touch like a river. Anna plays a joker, a smoker, a real hot poker. Jeff opens another bottle of Charles Baudelaire Special?s from our cellar. It?s midnight. Bye bye. No. A last minute poet: Alison from Australia. But I?ve forgot her lines. Please come back, on monday. Mirrors.

Upcoming themes/Les thémes dans les mois qui viennent

8 Feb Mirror, mirror… le mirroir
15 Feb Valentine’s hangover… guelle de bois de St Valentine
22 Feb Age/aging… age/vieillir

1 March Disguises… les déguisements
8 March Question/Answer… questioner/repondre
15 March Bread… du pain/de l’argent
22 March Lies/lying… les mensonges/mentir
29 March Needs… les besoins

5 April Zero
12 April Boundaries… les frontiers, les ribords
19 April Beginning & Ending… les débuts & les fins, commencer & finir
26 April Being someone else… être quelqu’un d’autre

3 May Used… utilisé