Wednesday, November 02, 2005

colliding worlds and common denominators

i had a bit of a weird monday. just before i dashed off to uni, i checked out this site (re-claire the streets, now in links) and read claire/aka radical supergirly's most recent post (below). She writes, "Most of these poems were written for performance. Without the tone, dynamics, pauses and gestures that give them life they're empty shells so you have to all imagine me jumping up and down in a big red frock and you might get some of the intended sp[i]rit."

Let the poem do the talking
This page is my page.
Read it and use
your mind not your eye.
Tell me how it moves you,
how it sticks to your shoes
with the blues,
how it makes you cry
out loud in a crowded room.
This poem's got some thoughts behind
you should take time to find.

This is my page and this is my mic.
Got one hand on my clit when I write.
And I'm down on my knees tonight,
to love and fuck and spit and guide you.
Do you feel this inside you?
Can I make this come when I do
without it choking in my throat?
I don't like poets cheap sleaze for fat scores
Won't line women up on stage like whores.
But is my poem braver than yours?
What will you give for this public masturbation?
A six point nine or a standing ovation?

This is my mic and this is my stage.
Sometimes my poems are brighter than brave.
But I wanna tell you about how I misbehave and I fight.
There's been an execution tonight.
Cos like the vote some folks died for this light.
Ken Saro Wiwa hung tight.
Mikey Smith got beaten down.
Some other, somewhere, somehow.
Am I feelin the rage? LORD right.
So I'm takin the stage tonight

This is your page and your stage and your mic.
Are you feeling the love tonight? Yeah!
Are you feeling the words tonight? Yeah!
Can you feel what you've heard tonight? Yeah!
Are you raising your voice tonight? Yeah!
Well if you've got this (heart)
Then you've gotta use this (voice)
Because this page, this stage, this mic, this world
got room for more

I wondered briefly who mikey smith was, and legged it completely unprepared to my lecture.

My notes, taken twenty minutes later, include: "Performance poetry has three components: the author/storyteller, the text being recited, and the audience. It requires atmosphere, gesture, sound, memory, movement, repetition and interaction. The oral artist, to some extent, improvises and reacts to the audience. The audience and the poet tell the story together".

We then moved on to specific performance poets in Caribbean literature, including Mikey Smith and Edward Kamau Brathwaite. Someone has described his annunciation of “Lawwwwwwwwd” in the following poem as "a noise which reproduces in fact the noise made by a Japanese S90 motorcycle".

i liked that too.

anyhow, more coincidences - i had to analyse:

Edward Kamau Brathwaite
(for Mikey Smith, stoned to death on Stony Hill, Kingston 1954-1983)

When the stone fall that morning out of the johncrow sky
it was not dark at first . that opening on to the red sea humming
but something in my mouth like feathers . blue like bubbles
carrying signals & planets & the sliding curve of the
world like a water pic. ture in a raindrop when the pressure. drop

When the stone fall that morning out of the johncrow sky
I couldn't cry out because my mouth was full of beast & plunder
as if I was gnashing badwords among tombstones
as if the road up stony hill . round the bend by the church
yard . on the way to the post office . was a bad bad dream

& the dream was like a snarl of broken copper wire zig
zagging its electric flashes up the hill & splitt. ing spark & flow.
ers high. er up the hill. past the white houses & the ogogs bark.
ing all teeth & fur. nace & my mother like she up. like she up.

like she up. side down up a tree like she was scream.
like she was scream. like she was scream. ing no & no.
body i could hear could hear a word i say. ing . even though
there were so many poems left & the tape was switched on &

runn. ing & runn. ing &
the green light was red & they was stannin up there &
evva. where in london & amsterdam & at unesco in paris &
in west berlin & clapp. ing & clapp. ing & clapp. ing &

not a soul on stony hill to even say amen

& yet it was happening happening happening .
the fences begin to crack in i skull.
& there was a loud booodoooooooooooooooogs like
guns goin off . them ole time magnums .

or like a fireworks a dreadlocks was on fire .
& the gaps where the river comin down
inna the drei gully where my teeth use to be smilin .
& i tuff gong tongue that use to press against them & parade

pronunciation . now unannounce & like a black wick in i head & dead .
& it was like a heavy heavy riddim low down in i belly . bleedin dub .
& there was like this heavy heavy black dog thump. in in i chest &
pump. in


& i throat like dem tie. like dem tie. like dem tie a tight tie a.
round it. twist. ing my name quick crick. quick crick .
& a nevva wear neck. tie yet .

& a hear when de big boot kick down i door . stump
in it foot pun a knot in de floor. board .
a window slam shat at de back a mi heart .

de itch & ooze & damp a de yaaad
in mi sil. ver tam. bourines closer & closer .
st joseph marching bands crash. ing & closer .

bom si. cai si. ca boom ship bell . bom si. cai si. ca boom ship bell
& a laughin more blood & spittin out



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