Words by Sir David Leo Sirois. Line breaks by Alberto. Pictures by Sabine Dundure.
« Willkommen, Bienvenue, Good Evening, » welcomed the lunar eyes of those in the room. A generous group of poets using language and also poets listening with both ears. Ferdinand reluctantly began the festival, recounting a time he had anticipated « keeping our masks on the first night… for fear of happiness. ».Victor « nearly lost his life » to a talking parrot « who gave him strife. ». Anna, here for the first time, sang a heartfelt song in Lattvian, of her own making. Trance-inducing! Melinda « once lived her life in shadow, never the sun on her face. » Now she is the shining dawn! Will took us from vanity to poverty, « for bragging rights, sugar cubes, & apples. » He also announced the much-anticipated release of his & James’ new publication, the electric & sumptuous Belleville Park Pages!
Romi told us about a performance she attended: “The next time you stand behind me you’re squeezing my shoulders, and the next time you reappear you’re touching my neck. I feel like vomiting all over the audience.” Remi & Elsa : « Like housewives in a dishwashing mood/Why am I drunk in the afternoon ? » So came the ending of a delightful round 1. Gripped in the anticipation of dusk, the blackbird (I mean some 1-centime coins in a green glass Perrier bottle) shivered its quietly enticing voice to signal the start of round 2. . . the pen flew out of my fingers, so I couldn’t capture everyone. . .until Sabine located the love of writing. Devon desired communion with the trees, and threw his whole being into the invocation. Phil had told his wife he was at a poetry reading – actually he was importing glowing verse from Ireland. I hope he also exported something mighty fine. Hélène read quite a private poem, but said that « Spoken Word is quite a safe space. » James snuck in a one-line poem : « Mum, Dad, people still argue on holiday. » Max was hilarious and insightful, as usual. Gabriel, Spoken Word’s strongman, who will sadly yet only temporarily leave for Canada, shared that all he does is bend. The self-absorbed David Sirois freaked out about old age & death, with palms of pale hands drawn windward and a song by the Cure. Melissa delected Debussy on our old sweet piano. Anton Mesmer himself couldn’t have been more mesmerized.
After a fresh air break, round 3 unrolled its glaring honesty and mystery… Rebecca sang the sweetest Oh Susannah. Sam & Victor smoked aluminum (with Pallavi providing the beatbox) as « energy burst through the basement. » Felix invoked « the stench of silence. . .creating a void for thought. » Alex encouraged « an effort to get people to look into each others’ eyes. » We really tried. For Karin it was « 10 past twilight & the sky said no. » Powerful stuff. Elsa Elmgren, who was carried in her shadow « like a violin in its black case, » was reading Tomas Tranströmer :
« The endless ground under us.
The water is shining among the trees.
Nea Tandini was contemplating in « the Garden of Olives. . . with Christ after the last supper. ». Hanniffa thought it was « so funny, now that you’re gone, that she finds herself wearing your shoes. ». Yann talked « to pylons & other inanimate objects, » then revisited « the ring binder that keeps the Patriot Act from falling apart. . . » So ended the drawing of names from the altar of the floor. It was hot, high quality time spent in the name of verse – as Czeslaw Milosz said, « Poetry is the passionate pursuit of the real. » See you on Monday, for DREAMS, and its contest for publication in THE BASTILLE. Indeed.