Report from 6th Dec

Ariel went to Peru. Georgina was stuck with the voice in her head, some kind of tribute to frat boys. John brought a message from Sting. Jena stands up in dark places. Angel talked about Pancho Villa and La Cucaracha. Moe riffed on jazz. Mandoline brought kindness as a verb. A mountain sliver leaned back into the ocean. Beth's silence lingers like...
Charlie, raging against reason, was waylaid in the finished flame. Austen from Bosten showed up, then it was time for Bruce's Convent Soup. "A priest walked into a bar..."
Alberto Rigettini brought his father's farts of wisdom.

The Great Brain Washer Machine
(Performances, Poems, Music, Live Paintings, Games)
Alberto Tony Rigettini, Bruce Sherfield, Denise Turu,
Florencia Giusti, Tamara Roman Barbero, The Sophia Lorenians and Special Guests.
Free admission.

The Great Brain Washer Machine
Friday, december 10, 2010. From 9pm to 2am
Café des Sports - 94 rue Menilmontant - 75020, Paris
Metro Menilmontant and then walk up.

Spoken word Novembre 29 2010

Photo: Spanish poet and longtime Paris resident, Angel.

On Saying Good-bye

“We shook hands in the summer

and decided to explore as much of the world

as one week of driving would allow,

but this interstate’s not long enough

to contain our enthusiasm for each other

so I’ll tattoo a highway

down my chest

curving around the places where your hands have left

subtle vibrations

running under the bone….”

Ariel Schmidtke

We opened like that. Wow.

Then, Angel singing an andalusian flamenco.

Mr.Perriello featuring maybe…. Shakespeare.



"A heart can burn, and burn, and burn, but never change a mind."

Leander Lyons.

Check the following links for his next gigs:

IntO the mOOn

Fleur Offwood & the Conifers

Humphrey, Nadia and:

“A confusion of order,

a fair share of fame,

no one is better than the other,

my jazz, my soul.”




Dylan. Georgina’s highlights:

“I’d like to apologize for getting it all wrong with the following people...

I’m sorry to Patrick- My first kiss. I should have snuck off with you to make out on the golf course. It would have been great! (Well, it would have been okay.)

To Dennis. I’m sorry I didn’t go with you to the eighth grade dance because, well, you were fat. I was fat too. I don’t know what I was thinking.

To Mr. Greg Greenberg. I’m sorry you were 22 and I was fifteen. But quite frankly, what were you thinking? I’m most sorry that our sexual experimentation never got farther than doing it to the Paris Hilton sex tape. I’m since discovered more inspiring love scenes.


To Jamie Keith... I’m sorry I got drunk and seduced you because you were the gayest-looking girl in the room. Short hair. Blazer. And I’m sorry for my quick exit the next morning. I put my thong in my pocket and I was outta there. It was less than elegant.

And then there’s Lola.... Lola. Lola. Lola. Lola and I understood each other. I’m sorry I was only in Milan for 3 days.

I’m sorry to Monsieur Hervé: that I thought it was funny to seduce a student; to screw a student. I’m sorry I pretended to fall asleep afterwards rather than listen to you struggle with the present progressive. You never got it quite right.

I’m sorry for that too.”

Emily. Lisa. Zoophiliacs. Cow Chris and Casanova Benjamin.

Joshua. Jacinthe.

Bruce promoting the “The Great Brain Washer Machine”

Save the date: Friday night, December 10, 2010. Cafè des Sports. Paris.

Last time we closed with the Panic Attack of an Artist

this time with the death of a poet,

meaning W.B. Yates,

meaning C.H. Newens

reading W.H. Auden:

“In the deserts of the heart

Let the healing fountain start,

In the prison of his days

Teach the free man how to praise.”

See you next monday, drama queens.


Vingt Paris Magazine article on SpokenWord

Winter hits Paris... Report from 22 November

A Report:
that is not sharp and loud like a gunshot, but dark and obscured like Paris in this cold, cold November.

Josie welcomes you into her private line of sight. Hear that? It's the sound of cashiers crying softly. While Mr. Rigettini is killing English grammar in self-defence. Benjamin, afflicted by unrequited love, writes To Whom I Do Not Concern. Vivienne Vermes, "the voice of the eurostar" asks if Alice is making a cup of tea. Here, hell is glorious. Thin people clutch at colour. The tavern belches us into the dark. But... what happens to the hole when the cheese disappears?
Dylan, catgut missing, asks "Who marks the horizon?" Stefanos falls entirely in the dark ink, the breeze of time. Rafael de Quebec sait que la poesie brise des choses. Troy scrambling the wires to make you faint, satirising Margueritte Duras. Ariel brings contrary thunder; and a singularity, sucked into the bell jar. Michélé in The Panic Attack of an Artist, like a rebel poet forgotten by the hourglass of the starving soul... in the broken down building of tears. He is leaving Paris to discover the other side of the ocean.

Maxx threatens to turn up with our magazine, Issue Zero, tomorrow night.

Cheers all,

Report from Kentucky night, 8th Nov...

Marie Davis, second from left, author in the upcoming anthology Strangers in Paris, and cartoonist, surrounded by pretty girls. Leaning back against the wall of the Cabaret Pop and taking it all in....With Marie, Margaret and The Sirens all blown in from Kentucky, and Bruce being kind of from there too, it was unofficial Kentucky night at SpokenWord. In this pic, Michele rests against the windows, recovering after Alberto (3rd from left) came in to report we had a poet down... Margaret (2nd from left) sang Summertime. Not the first time she's been to Paris - she's hitched all round Europe before...

The Sirens ''He can't have what I don't give up...''
Back from Athens, Stefanos with his wild & beautiful Bob Dylan hair... and Yara, performing Amberblind, ''a naughty little song by Stefanos.'' Great to have some songs, it's been a while since we had so much music.
To give you a flavour of what else went on: Benjamin knew well what he was fleeing from: Istanbul - the trains smell of damp sweat and sugared tea. Troy (reading at Poets Live this Tuesday) had a dim light growing between his legs, spin cap bottle boy. Marie read a story about a candy loving lesbian, Bourbon balls and girls. Beth reckoned holding the stars might wash your aura clean. Bruce's canvas drank them in, Art is his itch. He put the brutality down on paper. Max shaved off his beard, combed his hair. What clearer sign of the End Times could there be?Matt was a pilgrim of sorrow. So Ed spelt it out for us wordy fuckers, balanced directly between soul and sky: it's the slow explosion of trees...

Till tomorrow.

Photos from 8th Nov...

Report from 25th Oct by Alberto & Sketches by Franki Goodwin of Mademoiselle London...

That’s what they call october in Paris and that’s Paris Spoken Word’s october.

Many guests and premieres, Marie Claire Calmus, promoting her french vaudeville show, Dylan presenting his new book:

Katya and Franki launching Mademoiselle London in Paris

Here you have an excerpt:

(and here you can see some original sketches and portraits of spokenworders)

“You know that book you wrote about Paris? Well I'm here now and it's nothing like you said it was

......Hemingway says

You have been given the gift of mystery my dear

You are a woman without reference

Anonymous in this pretty city

So be whatever you want to be

You can be a teenage 40 year old divorced lesbian vegetarian cannibal Jewish communist Icelandic samurai love child of the Pope

Paris is your maternity ward and you have just been born........”

(and here you can see some original sketches and portraits of spokenworders)

Two videos by Suzanne Allen,

one is available on our facebook:

Then Kelda, Troy, Bruce and Heather, Alberto, Angel singing flamenco.

Emily, The Maxx, Troy, Anaìs and Damien, Tyler,

Leander presenting his new song,

David Barnes relaunching the vintage sexual education from the fifties…

Should your husband suggest congress then agree humbly all the while being mindful that a man's satisfaction is more important than a woman's. When he reaches his moment of fulfilment a small moan from yourself is encouraging to him and quite sufficient to indicate any enjoyment that you may have had.

Sterling Hudson featuring his grandma,

Ed listing 10 ways for draguering your french teacher,

Kelda singing Suzanne for Suzanne:

“And you want to travel with her

And you want to travel blind

And you know that she will trust you

For you’ve touched her perfect body with your mind.”

Midnight dot twenty, we have to close.

The neverending question echoed one more time after Michele’s last act:

“Why the plastic belly dancer is worried about my future?”

Cancelled SpokenWord for Nov 1st

Hi all,

Just got news that the Cabaret Pop will be closed Monday for Toussaints and so there will be no SpokenWord that day. :-( Next SpokenWord will be 8th November.

Apologies for late notice, the Cabaret Pop only just informed me.

If you're looking for something to do, Shakespeare & Co - the bookshop that never sleeps - have a reading that night link


Report from 18th Oct

Photos: Jonathan, Laura Mullen, Various Members of the Public...
Dylan Harris' tally was 2 U-boats and a minky, in a slippery light. Jonathan worked on a whole host of issues. Strange, fragmentary poems. Lily saw blindness, ratification, killing killing killing. Jen Dick sent out spies to every corner of the globe. Alberto reported the death of a slammer. Izzy, a South African poet stranded in Paris, woke up on Redemption Street. Laura Mullen reported on how the war is affecting the Oscars ceremony, and Various Sore Subjects. Flo was ni l'un ni l'autre. Probably still is. Jérémie a parlé à la lune, la voie lactée. La nuit c'est autre chose, un théatre magique... Maxx is generally more worried than married. Suzanne dropped stars into the skillet, they spattered and hopped... Don't call Bibu maladroit. And Michélé saw inedible traffic lights. Time for his breakfast on the transatlantic wheel.

Next instalment tomorrow, when Alberto takes the helm (and the hat.)

Who Are You?

By Suzanne Allen

If you want to change your name, you have
to change your friends too. People who know you,
see you, need you to be one thing, have a hard time
calling you another. They need something
to hold onto, something to set their clocks by, some
way to remember where
in their little black books they put you.
They need something from you that,
probably, you can’t give them. They might ask
for the spelling of your new name, but have a hard
time remembering it when they introduce you
to other people. They will stammer, explain who
you used to be as if this
memory were more true than you, standing there
in the foyer, waiting for them to correct themselves.
They will tell stories about your last husband
or your next one, your old car, the time
you drove off with your skirt hanging out,
dragging in the street. They might even remember
the colors—the orange and magenta flowers
or the shiny black paint job that they could see
themselves in when you parked at their curb. But
in general, they will have a hard time
remembering. You will have to remind
yourself that you are not who they remember,
that you probably
never were, and that the whole friendship need not
be written off as an illusion. It was only a time
in your life when you were more like them
than you are now. And it made everyone happy
to believe, for a little while, that they
knew you, when in fact, they only
knew you when.

Alberto's Report from SpokenWord 11.10.2010

Lovely Spokenworders got together for this mid-October’s episode, as usual in Belleville.

Marie Claire Calmus was in the house, Dylan Harris, in the house, the house is Culture Rapide Cabaret Populaire, Eric De Jesus, visiting from Philadelphia was in the house too.

Check out his myspace:

Bounch of poets.

Even the bartender was performing his verses:

“Elle fait l’eour de l’horloge

Veut à tout prix prendre le large

S’aidant de quelques arpèges

Pour oser tournee la page.”


Troy was there:

“Punching you on the face is fulfilling.”

Troy Yorke

And Caesar, Alexa, Miss Peacock, Nicolas, Magalì,

and me.

The psichedelic brainwasher Michele, Chris to the Newens, and Benjamin,

Bibù, Natascha from Russia, and Tyler:

“The debris of our collision seems to have been tidied.

Heat and noise have come to occupy your place.

Deceived again by my dreams, I surrender myself back to sleep.

It is there, after all, that you seem to exist.”

Tyler Magger

The Maxx, and to close the night, Suzanne.

She’s one of the Spoken Word’s favorites. We gonna miss her.

See you soon.

Or to use Alexa’s word:

“She brings out the best in me

We like ze wine and ze chat ah oui oui oui!!!

she’ll always be true blue to me

Cuz she’s a solid gold girl, a California Girl like me.


She’s a California sunset in Paris…

a star in the noontime sky

a taco full of laughter in a coffee shop in Amsterdam

a short ride on a long rollercoaster at midnight

Forever Bopping on

Hopping on the metro to the next dream…

See you soon Golden girl.”

- Alexa Rutherford dedicated to Suzanne Allen.

Report from SpokenWord 4th October

First a couple of photos of the audience:

Zinovy Vayman filled up his 5 minutes with haikus...

It's me! It's me!
Knowing it's him, she hangs up.

My life has a superb cast
but I just can't figure out the plot.

The autumn mosquito
Ready for death
Stings me.

I read part of Ginsberg's Kaddish about the death of his crazy mother. John Citizen, over here on loan from Tall Lighthouse in London, knows the gloves are off in Glasgow. Undaunted, he read from the Library of Love. Check him out & listen to the poem here.

Caesar performed Talk Jamaican For Us and exhorts you to try to erase these lines, render yourselves untouchable and unique...

Sally had a double word score; they should've known. Hapi was salt and water. Troy found a groove along the wink of time, barely breathing back the universe. Bruce's flight was cancelled; he was going nowhere, his ticket all burned up. Time for a taking of babies' breath. Michélé had a blue light cat & the ghost of Allen Ginsberg. Alberto's dick was digging his heart's grave.
Kelly's act was criminal. Chris and Ben were Person A and Person B, discussing the difficulties of having no theme. Then the chickens came home to Proust.
Ed argued that for water to have direction it needs a frame; are poets any different? Wet, in a puddle, going nowhere... Yet concluded that I can't take away the frames just by not announcing a theme.
For Beth, Jesus is just a fat guy who never takes the helm. Amy married a monster from outer space. And Robert, poet laureate of outer space, spotted Bigfoot in Paris.

Report from SpokenWord 20.9.2010

Thanks to Jonathan Russell for these photos. Here's me pointing to some ''Unreachable stars...'' after Dylan ''Poets Live'' Harris described some rather elegant escalators.
Noah navigates by vanity, a reflection of the misbegotten, a view from the wrong side of the blanket. James (pictured) recalls boyhood...
Tim specializes in poetry with eyebrows, angles and glances:
...while Kate knows that only 6 minutes of normal time remain. Then it gets weird.
Amy Dalton: online, on edge:
Other highlights included: Dylan's unsung contraptions & night spiders. Where's the blind watchmaker now? Mandoline: everyone love-hates a winter clown. They've coined the chemistry of love. Chris: Letters to a Young Poet (Rilke) Alberto: rolling and clanging under the bridges of Paris, a story of 2 who jumped off the bridge and onto a bateau mouch. Troy: last stop on the cuckoo car. Maxx: There is no 'If' (Robert Smith)

Next SpokenWord is tonight! 9pm at the Cabaret Pop...

The Cabaret Populaire & environs

At the bar...
During the break...
Outside, street view...
Separated at birth?

Poets Live - new reading series

Dylan Harris, seen here at SpokenWord, launched Poets Live last Tuesday. A once-a-month reading series showcasing poets with books.

Poets Live is a ressurection of John Kliphan's long running Live Poets Society and takes palce at The Highlander Pub.

What happened to themes?

Currently running without themes, for a change. But feel free to suggest some good ones.
On fait un period sans thèmes actuellement. Mais merci de nous envoyez des idées pour l'avenir...

Wailing report from 6th Sept 2010

Maria d'Arcy, in a tale of the Devil:
Thérèse, with a poem with no future:
Sergio's god is only sand and wind in the desert:

Alberto appeals to the audience:
Claire Trev, at her last SW for a while:

Featured poet of the night was Suzanne Allen with her long poem 'Wail', a new feminist's 'Howl.' A poem that borrows from the structure and narrative style of Ginsberg's poem and achieves much of its power and impact.

I saw the best minds of my gender ripped by feminine fantasies, dichotomous pretty, pretty birds,
balancing on thin wires strung between sanity and independence sainthood and sin above societal shark tanks,
pagans with primal instincts long repressed and forgotten in the quest to thrive aroused and awakened at the new moon to dance gratuitous circles together til desert dawn...

Hopefully she can send me a link to the rest.

Charlie found a lost peach and winced. Sam said "Bark like a dog, attack like a turkey. Give yourself a good dressing down." John reminded us that whatever we're doing here, these moments may never come again.... I like the 'may' in that sentence! Dylan spoke of malicious utilities. Sergio's god is only sand and wind in the desert. Michele was... well, Michele, really. Rufo went grooouaaahhhhhthhspth p pt! Maria d'Arcy performed an extract of Burns' Tam O'Shanter. Claire Trev reworked Rimbaud. Nigerian whores punched Alberto's windows. Thérèse said a poeme pour personne, un poèsie sans avenir, par un poète instable. And there was much more besides.

Next SpokenWord: Tomorrow lundi 20 septembre at 21h. No theme/open theme.

The Paris scene

Useful connections:

Jen K Dick’s listing aka fragment78:

Other reading series:

  1. WICE and Upstairs At Duroc: Follow links to Events
  2. Ivy Writers Paris
  3. Double Change
  4. Poets Live, Dylan's relaunch of LIve Poets Society

About Paris:

Relevant online reviews:

September dates confirmed

lundi 6th
lundi 20th

Your assignment for the next SpokenWord in Septembre

Dates to be confirmed.

I'm bored of themes, so instead here's an idea - for the first SpokenWord in September, write a deliberately ugly poem. So many poems aim at beauty or the sublime. Let's turn that on it's head and aim for ugliness. That's your starting point. Go anywhere you like from there. Of course you might find an ugly poem, or a poem that aims at ugliness, written by some famous or infamous writer. Or one that simply describes something ugly. But what I think will be most interesting is to try to write something yourself without your usual goals, whatever they are, that you have when you're writing poetry, but write a poem that deliberately aims at some kind of ugliness.

J'en ai marre de thèmes. Donc pour le premier soirée de SpokenWord de la rentrée, je vous invite d'écrire un poème laide et/ou moche. Ça peut être interessant.

Salut maintenant

Next SpokenWord will be in September. Date to be confirmed.

Le prochain SpokenWord sera en septembre. On confirmera le date.

Report from Le Grand SpokenWord d'Été 26th July 2010

I write this from the depths of my hangover & while listening to George Orwell Down and Out in Paris and London. The place got packed after a while and the temperature soared. (Temperature being last night's theme.) So. The report on the poetry & stuff:

Rufo heated his fundament in ''Hot tub.'' Dylan has had one of his poems extracted. A dance troupe has turned this poem into a dance. He assumes it's a dance, actually they've only sent him an audio recording of themselves clattering across a stage.

Hot and cold all over:
My own poetry was more concerned with the heat death of the universe. Contrastingly, Tate was all cracked lips, cracked ice in the rudeness of winter. Amanda has florescent white feet. Rosalia told of being the Disappointing African. Michele brought silver monkey rock and invisible painting. Gèno cherchait les ombres pendant la canicule. Josiane has a thing for clouds, all kinds, all shapes.

Meaning of Poetry:
For Patti, this was a game of nonsense. ''What is it to be a poet?'' John responded. Meanwhile Rufo noted his movements on a chart and Suzanne was sleeping into death, aware that her cats will eat her face.

Sex & Death:
''The hottest vacation's in bed,'' said Jeanne. Tate took steps of disobedience. Maxx read from Lebanese poet Joumana Haddad's book I have not sinned enough. If we are lovers, it is because of endorphins. This poisoning is love.

Charlie was all smoke and exhaust. Conjecturing a contexture, he tried to recapture the rapture. Chris had a butterfly demanding to see its lawyer. Bruce could have landed on the back of a bucking bug. He pursued the destiny of all Terry Jacksons.

And Alberto brought Don't steal a stone from Tuscany! In his words:


It comes from an extract from the LP "Cicciput" by “Elio e Le Storie Tese” which I've translated:

Every year a little piece of Tuscany disappears.

Every year Tuscany is robbed of its own land.

This year Tuscany is fifty-two meters under

its normal level of Tuscanity.

Tuscany is on the path to extinction.

Not because of corruption

Not because of globalization

Not because of ungrateful Tuscanese People

Every year

Every single person who goes to Tuscany

takes a stone away from Tuscany as a souvenir

and step by step, stone by stone we assist to this

destonification and detuscanification.

Don’t steal a stone from Tuscany.

If you steal a stone from Tuscany…

If every one took a stone home from Tuscany

Tuscany would be spread all around the world

and so all the world could be called Tuscany

but you couldn’t call Tuscany Tuscany anymore

means that Tuscany can be wherever in the world

Tuscany in Turkey, Tuscany in New Tuscadonia, Tuscany in Tinsel town

And nobody would recognize Tuscany anymore

Don’t steal a stone from Tuscany

Otherwise we don’t know where the fuck Tuscany is anymore.

We all want Tuscany in Tuscany and not in Fuckoffshire, New Fuckofonia or Fartsintheuniverseville.

Thank you.

Commitee for Tuscany in Tuscany

Check out John Fuentes' online poet community

He's also posted a video of his reading on the SpokenWord facebook page: click here

So now we take a break til September. Idea for next SpokenWord: write a deliberately ugly poem.

I leave you with my poem Temperature

One single unit of calorific heat radiated from a cooling sun

and now contained in this biscuit.

It has crossed space as invisible infra red in the fraction above absolute zero.

All that distance! 53 million miles in 8 minutes

(If God has just unplugged the Sun we will not know for 8 minutes)

This world a staging post only on heat's journey towards entropy,

its long fall through the billenia

that involves an unwinding of order

an unspooling of the tape of DNA

this universe shooting into decay

God's longshot

targetted on nothing,

ending in heat death

- that state where

all energy is dispersed

so finely as to be



See y'all in September. Keep thinking Ugly Poems.


Le Grand SpokenWord d'Été
(le dernier SW avant septembre)
lundi 26 juillet 21h
au Cabaret Pop.

thème: temperature

tous les details:

And now, the gallery

Alberto, who has run with bulls in Pamplona 3 times and survived:
John McNulty, probably the poet who would win in a fight
Gèno, French poet extraordinaire:
Suzanne Allen, whose house burnt down:
Lars, intrepid traveller:

Report from Skin/Peau 28/06/10

Images from The Last Spoken Word Of The Season.
(But check out July 26th Special Summer Night)

Miss Peacock

The audience is clapping

the audience is tripping or sleeping

Sa peau de primtemps et d’etè
Sa peau silisse dont jamais je me lasse
Sa peau tendre ressin ou je me prelasse…


Quand elle respire ou qu’elle se penche,
il y a toute celle peau qu’on voit, alors on franche
On en oblie où on travaille, où on habite


Go robust buffalo go.


The Dudes plus Lars

You think you’re taking drugs
But drugs are taking you
You think you’re making money
But money are making you

Colin & The Dudes

that vagina in the middle of yr back
is mighty inviting
and you -
yr teeth gleam like a flashlight

whose foothills shall i grace ce soir?
which winding paths
the hole left by yr absence
isn't much of a consolation
that divine sparkle in yr eye

if i were the last man on Earth
and you were the last woman
would you dis me,
ignore me?
i AM the last man on Earth
you ARE the last woman
quoi alors?!?
citywide emergency is flakes of snow



He is the bad smell in your fridge.

He is the rat whose rotting corpse you saw
And that sewage washed up on your shore
There is nothing wholesome in his breath,
And death would seem the only cure.
When he speaks
It’s like toxic worms writhing in your ear
Don’t get too near
What’s clear

That though he thinks he’s on a roll
He has halitosis
Of the soul


Chris and Jess

Xander is back