What brought me here? Last year I saw an intimate live performance by a legendary London poet (Jeremy Reed) - my friend had found him and secured his performance at her small film/ performing arts evening, simply by sashaying into the book shop where he can often be found in Cecil Court, announcing "I hear there is a poet?" - I could never muster such an opportune declaration and laughed when she told me this. Since then, my ears have listened out for poetry from unplugged London nights to spoken word collectives in make shift out-buildings and social housing estates.
So to an evening at the poetry place. There were regulars, keen to show their prowess, who have been reciting slam poetry since the hippie scene of Southern California in the 60s and 70s; that seemed to recall rainbow beach huts and dune sandals and barley coloured hair, just by looking into their ocean eyes. And they were still slamming, but now with silver hair and more regularly at the Royal Shakespeare Company. Robert Plant, front man of Led Zeppelin, once said when asked why he has always kept his hair long - "back then long hair was part of the scene when it all really meant something" - pledging lock-allegiance to the hippies from which he rose.
There is of course the one who whiffs of tippling street poetry, describing the sunset over Clapham and echoing Edgar Allan Poe with gothic poise.......
Then there was waifish Jimmy Scribble, who petulated (is there such a word?) his indignations and his love for his missus; that he challenged great writers and philosophers of the ages to verbalise this which he felt, all of them of course failing to meet what would fitfully describe his love "of" her....stamping feet and fist.
You hear alot of romantic, expressive voices carrying streams of lyricising, the ohs, the ahs and the sighs in between and the playful voices of funnies too, all being part of performing Spoken Word. But then, you watch somebody shake, shiver - like a cat in cold rain, gripping their sheet poetry for dear life and with one line she paints in your imagination of fraught child play and stuffed toy dinosaurs and GI Joes standing guard at the door of her childhood. For a moment you wonder if you could have heard correctly as she pulls you further in, however self-consciously. And for the act of sharing her vulnerability, I admire her most.....anonymous poetess.
"the panacea, where the cut resists recuperation"