The other evening at Tea Embroidery Baby Seal Club, where people stand and read things from pages they've written on buses, in kitchens, or those lappy toppers favoured lately by munie-knowers, we were told there was absolutely no reading your own poetry, no no no, not allowed at the start. Hand gestures were also involved, a palm held up like someone stopping on a bicycle.
People who wished to read had to swap a poem with a stranger, a kind of blind art dating (and perhaps, a good way to create even more stress in the sensitive lives of others. Inevitably, perhaps the human beings in charge of any group do go a little power-looped, to a degree. Possibly they forgot, in this case, what a trial it is for people to stand up in front of an audience, let alone read someone else's stuff just foisted upon them. A way to stop new readers getting involved too, I guess).
The audience who were drifting in by then, a weekly meeting to spy upon the minds and hearts of various writers, scribblers, list-maniacs, ravers, mumblers and lyric-fans at a pub named after a parched animal. It could be a better venue at any time, the place changes whenever the management at one bar, cafe or salon decides they've had enough, or the organisers find a new place they think is more suitable. This pub does have lots of room, comfortable seating, and a sound system but the mic stand is broken, the drinks are far too expensive and there's hardly any parking. I believe the buses from our suburb no longer stop near there either. The quality of guest poets has also been somewhat low lately, based on who is known personally and liked for their sociability perhaps, rather than choosing poets whose work is challenging, really original or simply stellar and who will truly draw attention from many people.
This woman, anyway, we call her Q?, was furious with the idea she could not read her own work, (she'd already broadcast the fact she was reading to many, who were arrving even as we spoke to see her). She told the MC, 'This is like a Tea Party or an Embroidery Club, it is supposed to be about POETRY.' Spun around when she marched off to the bar for a drinkule, one of those alko-holes which sometimes seem the only place to run to. Meanwhile, a set of sequinned older women who would've looked and sounded quite at home in Las Vegas, sound checked on stage, to sing covers of a well known 70s rock band in sparkling cabaret-style. Opening act. The usual singer-songwriter musicians, or more artful music performance at this poetry night mysteriously absent.
Q? told me later she found it curious, their choice of musicians lately for the venue, 'It's as if art has left the building. Mind you, the sit-down-be-still-and-shut-up-society do run a lot of things in this country. Perhaps they own shares in pile medicine laboratories? I suppose this could be their kind of erm, art, the smoothness of it, you know, the lack of anything provoking. People getting along and behaving themselves is more important than anything to get them going, thinking, questioning.' She looked doubtful. 'You know, there's countless odd things people do with music. But they had something like abuse set to tunes a few weeks ago. Honestly, crass and tedious sadism some of it, sung. Grotesque and not in a Hieronymus Bosch way. I decided this horrible music was obviously for people who did not enjoy sex, who did not have a very good command of the English language and who enjoyed abuse, which is not my style at all. And now this overly-mannered, gussied up stuff. Polished sure, good singers definitely, but this is a poetry venue. Where's the organisers' insight and wit? This work has zero wit. It's super-duper cabaret and belongs in that kind of place, not here.'
We sat there wondering, and had to agree there were a handful of older audience members who liked the overly long musical spot, (it really is a poetry venue, not a music venue so we hope this long musical intro., is shorter in future). A few younger people looked startled, then their amazement at the extraordinarily sequinned performers carried them through a short while of it. Many others like us appeared uninterested, irritated, or openly bored.
But, wonder of all wonders, the poet Q? was eventually permitted to read her own work on this poetry evening, during open mic and in the first section, so she did not have to get more and more weary waiting til later on, after working all day beforehand. She did so, just before the guest poet read a great deal of other people's writing which we thought strange too, (guest poets usually read their own verses), however, this, below, is what the woman, Q? read. I'm so glad I have a copy. What do you think?
Ish mrael and the Yooesaye - the same thing in different places
frightly different basic abuzzin'
nest eggs wasp-screech for corp., capital
to mind behind the bunnies of non-hippity hop
top top top people floating in charge
a bubble swell
thick walls of elastic messages
sumptuous clothes and cars
hum like sycophants
food selected from the furthest reaches of unpoisonous
where no chemical they make to pay for the dishes
has yet reached or beached nor teaches any hard lesson
only organic fantasticals while blister-packs are outlawed there
piled up instead elsewhere to trick seabirds
who feed fancy particles to their chicks
starved corpses a circle of feathers around plastic fragments
chain reactions translated into witty gold
told children wear adult skin in charge of countries
controllers inside their ears and fears
inhabit micro-chips and definer jewellery with whispers
film their meat puppets' every woken or sleepful
anonymous wanna-be artists
human being material
distanced from consequences
actors have pay docked remotely
the weary disappointment of slave labour
translated into fine art
children swapped for expensive shoes
asleep under the roads
out of sight a wrong day from penthouse deodorisers
or hot air balloon super-yacht strip the stars for birthdays
while trees burn into ghosts
and the air cooks adore and floors
dumbed by education cuts - rump not sirloin
numbed by luxury dumps
the finest designer drugs (tested on illegal aliens paid with credit)
alcohol (from limited rendition handblown or flysewn)
sex (performed by enhanced athletes
who rarely question beyond sheets and positions)
a test of humanity afar and dim
other galaxies also mighty shapes and darkness
divorced from shadow traces in their blown hearts
uncomfortable lost too much moola
married to Munie Gunns and Powah Flowers
the unidentical twins of ruin disguised as hybrid movie stars
a polyamorous affair
the man plan or woman wish in the middle
gradually turns into stone
a monument to bend-spending and wreck flecks
a fine statue erected to them in any rhyme at time
guy ropes fine snapping
taking an eye or off a limb
the dangers of ego-cuckoo art starling
(fright much or flight tough)?
the few people who do know -
a combination pappy deal of over-done pleasings
and the tease of wish knowing then never easing
the results of greed-riven choicest
sociopaths and psychopaths and concrete paths to cliffs
almost everybody near those peeps too afraid
people in steeples with keep keep keep written all over
in invisible ink
the heat of a rioting crowd brings messages darker
those responsible inside wide
surrounded with watchers and clockers
who refuse to do much but agree sting
the way water mixes with dirt and acid and poison
hide real opinions
take this pretend and stake your fake it
but make it never happens does it?
hoping for the best like prisoners on death row
corporate kulcha needs a good long look at itself
triple mirror every view naked on a TV show
lock some semi-demi-people up for the public's safety
grateful the computer did not turn into an operetta while I wrote this
can hear the fizz of a fuse lit somewhere
writing in a bunker under a golf course
using an assumed name based on a video game
something like bad painting
or a rock band called Sainted Sluts
forget you ever read these absurd bird scratchings
unless necessary some time to confess you've burst
set the paper on fire
a spill to light your stray from the tunnel we're in
finding the sky blue again some flare
our tears and cries filling whirly to the brim
crims making us swim unless we're drowning
|May Hem and Nut Case from the I Guess I Just Don't Know exhibition 2011|
Tell your MP we do not want the TPPA here, it is a covert takeover of our country, bring it into the light where the illumination can ruin it. Snail mail your MP without a stamp, they're not needed on letters to MPs, just put their name on the envelope and The Beehive, Wellington, or email them.
It is better to stand alone for what is decent and good, than to stand with many for what is going to ruin us all, including those of you hiding in the crowd, those who know better. Speak up.