Tuesday, November 4, 2008

Spoken Word in Paris

a new home...

To say that the Culture Rapide Cabaret Populare is small would almost be an understatement. It was standing room only and the windows steamed up after just a few readers, right around the time we closed the door on the pickpocket who had been casing the joint. Nevertheless, this home of French slam—poetry, not the Denny’s delight—is booked every night of the week. The drinks are c-h-e-a-p and the d├ęcor keeps the conversation going… as if this were a problem for the French! From rue de Belleville, you can’t miss the giant mural on the side of the building—complete with dummy sign hangers…

“Be wary of words.”

Belleville is just ten minutes from our apartment, direct on line 11. This is the latest home of Spoken Word in Paris. I often go alone, but at the last minute, I asked him to go with me. The theme was furniture and I knew I had plenty of things to read, but it has been a season now since the last time I went in July, so I was feeling especially nervous.

He says I read better than some, worse than others. My voice shakes—and the poems in my hands do too, and I never know how to stand. I hate microphones, though I don’t always feel strong enough to project as I should… I haven’t considered myself a performer since back in my high school dance concert days, and THAT wasn’t about my voice.

Since graduation, I’ve been in wallflower mode. It’s easy here… so many characters and talented writers—sometimes one in the same—so many languages and cultural differences, and certainly Spoken Word is the richer for them. But we mostly notice the strange and telling similarities—like how we write more about beds than other pieces of furniture.

There’s music too. Musicians always make me feel inadequate, but the female songwriters are usually my favorite moments of the evening… nimble fingers on their acoustic guitars and velvety voices—instruments themselves stretching across the scale. We left at the break so I didn’t get to hear Erica—long time regular at David’s Spoken Word events, but I did get to hear someone new. She told me she liked the “piggy bank fattened/for April in Paris” in my poem, “Writing Desk.” Nice of her to say so. Hope to see her again…

The next topic is work. I don’t think I have a single work related poem… unless you consider poetry to be a kind of work. I guess that will have to be my angle. My horoscope says that I will soon have some very interesting job offers. Seems like reason enough to send out some resumes… see what falls into place and in which corner of the world.

And the next time you’re in Paris on a Monday… click here.

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