We nearly had a brawl. It would’ve been over fast though. A room full of angry poets vs three drunk/stoned guys who were amusing themselves by trying to ruin it for everyone else. Animals, indeed. Jaco persuaded ’em to leave and then Dominique (older French guy, regular at the Cabaret Pop.) addressed what had gone on and restored the atmosphere. Before this tense near-fight, and after it, the night was good. Mirabelle and Martin brought us folk music on violin and cello. Michael chased 2 seals that leapt into a shipping container. Marianella enchanted us with her Dog Tale – a love affair with a dog, the tragedy of a dog-napping. Saskia spoke of eyes as good as the soul and practiced her Dutch and French accents. Thérèse took a Crabe avec les yeux tristes back to the seaside and a raconté l’histoire d’un chat qui s’appele Squirrel. Xander, wounded & half free, parted the tall dense weeds. Giéno dit que les oiseaux chantent dans son court. Elena was a Eudina girl living in Paris, where beauty trumps convenience every time. She aksed what was the proper attire for a punctured foot? a zombie by Monday morning. Leemore says you taste of sea salt, of the spray and splash of breaking rocks. Gave us a forgotten image of a girl, fingernails coated with soil.
Thanks for the photo and poems Christopher! and thanks to all others who came and read or supported us by being part of the night, not least Maxx, back in from Old London Town and Jaime with the faux-zebra skin bag in honour of the theme.
Rufo sends greetings & says:
In case you’re interested my “everything I had to eat or drink in a week” piece has been published by an online journal in the US. Along with another food poem inspired by the Spoken Word evening.
You can find it at
then go under “New” then it’s under my name.
Joan Brady sent us her Mouse Story from San Francisco:
I knew this woman once. She had a boa constrictor. I remember how she kept these live mice that she would feed it. Not every day though. Boa constrictors don’t eat every day. At least that’s what she said…Last time I saw her, it was maybe a year ago…I was with these people at her house and we were all drinking wine and smoking and talking and somehow she decided it was time to feet the boa so she went and she put this mouse inits cage and we all just stopped what we were doing and sat there and watched…At first nothing happened. The mouse, it just huddled over andkept real still…like it was frozen…and the boa, for awhile it acted as if therewas nothing there. Then all of a sudden it turned and in this one movement it took the whole mouse into its mouth, so that only the tail was left hangingout and then these muscular swallowing contractions started up and slowly,the mouse’s tail began to disappear. When it was over, you could see this enlarged place inside the boa where the mouse was. Even now, when I think about it, I, it keeps coming back to me about how it was all so totally silent. From beginning to end, there was no sound, nothing…After it was over, we all talked about how we felt watching. You know, I was the only one in the room who identified with the mouse. The only god damn one.
— J. R. Brady, San Francisco
She says: Piece was published last year in North Coast Literary Review. When I read it in the cafe’s here there are mixed reactions. It tends to make some folks uncomfortable.
I read this, among other things: (loosely based on family history)
birds on the fells
he threw out and spun a lure
to a cast of hawks across the sky
‘see! this cascading stream in the fells is my grandfather
he told his jokes
always with a straight face
yet now he chuckles
content that his words are for the wind
My mother sang here as a girl
her voice bright, soaking up the lakewater
It snowed when she was born
and grandad walked all night
She taught me the storytelling of rooks
and their clamour caught on my father’s tape recorder
The last rout of wolves laired about here
hunting the husks of hares
before the hoary old one, huge as a bear
was slain on the headland past Cartmel
That kettle of hawks you see
is seeking the hoard of mice in this scree
but it’s the owls that get them,
calling to each other in late night sittings,
the parliament of owls.’
Next SpokenWord is 5th January. And the theme? Clothes/les vêtements.
Merry Christmas & joyeux Noel!