Posts Tagged ‘Paris Open Mic’

Blue Hawaii

March 28, 2019

And Paris without you.

God damn it.

I’m still pissed at you.

Granted I have my own self to blame for that.

I should not have gone on social media.

I had you blocked.

Not because I was worried about you seeing me, no.

I didn’t want to be looking at your photos.

And I did it anyway.

I looked last night.

I know you’re in Hawaii and I knew you were going to be there and I had to look.

Ugh.

Wrong.

Wrong.

Wrong.

It doesn’t help that I want to go to Hawaii with you and that the trip I have tentatively planned for July has your name written all over it.

Or that I have thoughts about you in the ocean, swimming, your eyes wet and blue.

I’m so angry still and I’m still so damn sad.

Not as much.

Not every day.

And so, of course, the person to be angry with is me, I know better than to go onto social and look up your photos.

It hurts.

No more of that.

Although, why?

I can’t figure it out, a photo of us pops up every day, every day on my computer despite closing the photo app.

Every day your blue, blue, bluest eyes stare out at me as I see us on the red leather couch in the Air BnB we rented in D.C.  My eyes are closed, I’m kissing the side of your face and you have your arm wrapped around me.

Sometimes the photo makes me jump.

Sometimes I forget it’s there.

I have shut down the computer, restarted the computer, closed the app, and it just randomly pops back up.

Can’t get away from it and I use my computer all the time.

I mean.

Fuck.

I am working on a PhD I drag the damn thing around like it’s a security blanket.

And there you are, sweet face and dreamy and I know that we were in front of a fire and the color of your eyes and the shape of my face, and my hair tumbled down around my shoulders.

Ugh.

It hurts.

Not as bad.

I will admit that.

Things haven’t hurt so awful in the day-to-day.

Get me in my therapy sessions and I’m a fucking mess, but hey, that’s therapy and I leave it there in the wet balls of crumpled tissues streaked with mascara.

I joked with my therapist this past session that my tears must be some kind of napalm right now as I have tried three different kinds of waterproof mascara and the shit just slides off my eyelashes when I cry.

I yelled at you tonight.

In the car.

On the way home.

Thinking about you on an island and me here and then I’ll be going to Paris and well, fuck, you’re supposed to be in Paris with me.

Damn it.

We were supposed to do Paris.

You know it.

I know it.

Fuck.

Fuck.

Fuck.

Paris, baby.

You were supposed to go to Paris with me.

I hella splurged too.

I mean.

I got a place to stay, cute, bohemian, arty, obviously someone who was an avid flea market shopper, and I got a great deal, super cheap, $1,000 less than most of the other places I was looking at.

So I booked it.

And alas.

The woman got back to me and said she wasn’t able to let me rent it as she was going to be in Paris for Christmas.

Oh well.

I went back and looked some more and I looked at hotels and I really had to think about where I wanted to stay and why.

I wanted to make sure I was in the Marais, my best friend lives there and it’s my favorite part of the city and very central.

Hotels were not cheap and I went back to looking at Air BnB.

This one place kept calling me back and it was more than I wanted to spend, but then again, I knew I had the money in savings to cover it, I’d have nine months to save up more, I deserve to stay somewhere nice, the last two times I stayed in Paris I stayed with friends and didn’t pay for accommodations and the time before that I stayed in a hella cheap place and regretted it almost immediately.

I kept going back to this listing and then I said, fuck it.

I’m booking it.

It’s where I’m supposed to be and I’m going to let myself stay there.

Gorgeous tapestry wall paper.

Fireplace!

Full kitchen.

Dining area.

Plus red velvet chairs.

Couch with a red velvet throw.

Separate bedroom up this sweet curving stair case.

Big huge bed under the eaves.

Gigantic bathtub in the room!

Bathtubs are a rarity in French apartments, so to get one and it’s big, huge luxury.

It’s super pretty and I’m super grateful I booked it and I paid for the whole thing up front.

Done and done.

I was so excited when I booked it the night before last.

And then.

Tonight.

I wasn’t.

I was hurt and angry and thinking about you and your vacation pictures and I just yelled at you in the car, how we’re supposed to be in Paris together, walking the streets, eating all the food, cheese, chacuterie, drinking all the coffee, snuggling on the red velvet couch, having sex on the red velvet couch, the bed, the floor in front of the fire-place, the bathtub, meeting fellows in church basements, seeing all the sites, making out in public, holding hands.

I wanted to take you to the one cafe I know about in the 11th that’s super good and order food for you in French and then happy and replete I would walk you along the Seine to look at the Eiffel Tower when it lights up with glitter lights.

Damn it.

We were supposed to do Paris together.

I know that the sting will wear off, I mean, my trip is not until December, but right now, I feel hurt and sad and yes, angry at you.

Oh God.

The places I wanted to take you.

A walk in Pere LaChaise cemetary.

And the L’ile des Cygnetes, Island of the Swans, in the middle of the Seine, that has one of Statue of Liberty models on it that the artist did as he worked on the scale for the one sent to Americar.

Oh.

And all the outdoor markets, buying cheese and fruit and bread for you.

I wanted to take you to the amazing restaurant in Belleville that my friend took me to last summer and then go to Le Chat Noir and do the Paris Open Mic and recite you poems I have written about you.

But I won’t.

I won’t be doing any of those things.

I’ll be taking a bath under the eaves of a mansion on Rue de Parc Royale.

A bath with bubbles.

And I will sit in front of the fire and fingers crossed, not be sad to be alone, again, in Paris, without you.

 

I’m Done!

May 1, 2017

I’m done!

I’m done!

I am done.

I wrote my last paper for the semester today and I got it done faster than I thought I would, my friend in the cohort told me it was going to be a much easier paper to write than Trauma, that it would, in effect, write itself.

That was exactly my experience.

Almost spooky how it wrote itself.

Nine pages, 2,832 words.

It took about two hours to write, maybe two and a half.

I was shocked how quickly it happened and I had absolutely no problems or sticky spots, it just flowed out of my fingers and I was able to finish and have a really nice late lunch out on the back patio.

I did my typical Sunday gig and roasted a chicken and made a pot of brown rice while I was doing the writing.

I was rewarded with a yummy lunch eaten al fresco under the warm sun.

I was stunned, actually, I still am a little.

It all happened.

It all got done.

I even, shhh, read a little today after my meal and it was pleasure reading!

Holy shit.

I haven’t done that in a while.

I don’t have to read anything for school for the next weekend of classes, I’m done with the reading, I’m done with the papers.

I sent in my Couples Therapy paper last Sunday and did my Trauma paper yesterday and my Community Mental Health paper today, the Trauma and CMH paper I will be handing in hard copies of.

I will do a small presentation of my paper to my Trauma class but I don’t actually know that we are going to be doing a whole lot of work in my other classes.

I feel like I’ll just be floating through next weekend, just showing up and turning in the papers and making attendance for my classes.

I won’t have to be doing any catch up work or reading, I won’t have any papers or projects due after the final weekend.

All I have to do is show up and turn in the papers.

I can take it easy the rest of the weekend.

I won’t skip out on the classes, mostly because I want to see my friends and since I am paying for the experience, I’m going to go and have some experiences.

I am off to my second hour of supervision tomorrow morning before work and that’s really about my only school obligation for a few weeks until I start the internship.

I made it through!

God it feels good.

I did yoga today too, even though I am not a fan of the teacher that was the substitute, I showed up and got some stretching in and put in my time, it’s a practice I need to keep practicing.

I am breathing and being in my body and it helps to do that before I write my papers, takes the edge off, gets the anxiety out of my body and frees up my mind to do the work.

I am grateful for the little yoga studio in my hood.

I am grateful for my hood.

Seeing people I know, being seen.

Going to the coop, having dinner tonight at Thai Cottage.

I had a date as well.

We went to Thai Cottage.

There was kissing, but I did not invite him in.

I am actually quite proud of myself for that.

And I can’t actually tell if I want to pursue it or not.

I liked him, he’s attractive, smart, tattoos, sober.

But I went in and out of being interested.

The kissing was nice.

But it wasn’t the key to unlock the door to my studio.

I’ll have to go on another date.

I’m not usually this ambivalent.

It’s usually a yes or a no.

This guy is a maybe.

I’m not worried about it, no, not right now, I do have a lot happening this upcoming week, supervision tomorrow, therapy Tuesday, doing the deal, connecting with ladies to read books over tea, work, then school over the weekend.

Thursday one of my girl friends from the cohort will spend the night with me and we’ll head off to class together Friday.

And next week.

Paris.

Oh my God.

I can actually see getting on a plane now that I finished up all the final papers for class.

It’s not so surreal.

It’s happening.

I am so very excited.

It’s going to be so nice to have ten days off.

I ran into a friend in the fellowship yesterday and told him about my Paris trip, he’s a big Francophile and a photographer and his photos are on the walls of the cafe I was at, most of them alleyways in Paris, and it was with much excitement that I shared I was going.

He asked me to send Paris a kiss from him.

We talked about the museum pass and he said, “you got to get the three-day for sure.”

I’m actually thinking about getting the four-day, I’m going to be there for ten days, well eight when you take out the travel time, but still I can definitely do four full days of museums.

The other four days, Sacre Couer, The cemetary in the Montmartre, Pere LaChaise Cemetery, the markets, the broquantes, some clothes shopping, a tattoo from Abraxas, getting lost and then found in the Marais, walks along the Seine, the Luxembourg gardens, the Tuilleries, maybe a pop into Le Chat Noir and do the Paris open mic scene for old times sake.

There will be plenty for me to do.

And I get to do it without worry about school or internships or work, it’s all lined up.

I have a great job, a good internship, I’m wrapping up my second year of my Master’s degree, it’s all happening.

It feels so good to have these papers put to rest.

No stress for the rest of the week.

Just showing up for my responsibilities and recovery.

For friends.

And fun.

Definitely can squeeze a little more fun in there for sure.

I got my papers done!!

So.

Over the moon.

Seriously.

“Dear Carmen”

May 31, 2013

We like your writing very much.

Holy shit.

I am getting published.

I knew it was happening, or I should say, I had some suspicions it might.

The magazine contacted me while I was still in Paris and asked me for an author’s bio and a different file format for my submission.

I had forgotten about it.

and would like to publish “The Button Boy”

Wait, did yo say you would like to publish The Button Boy?

You did not.

Wait.

You did!

Jumpin’ Jesus on a pogo stick.

I cannot believe that my first publishing credit (ok, I am going to clarify that, it sounds like I have not been published and I have, The Peacock, also in Paris, published a piece I wrote, but it is a student magazine and I was not a student there, I knew the editor and she needed something in a pinch and I tossed out a little epistolary to accompany some photographs in the magazine, so technically I do have publication credits.  And there is this, my blog, which is published every night, but neither were submitted publications) is a short story.

Not only a short story, but a science fiction short story.

“May I make a suggestion,” my room mate said as I was laying my weary head down on the table top at 36 Rue Bellefond.  I was either beating myself up for not doing enough work, or I was castigating myself around my edits to my book, or I was dying of fatigue from having crammed in a full day of walking the cold, wet, mean streets of Paris, taking photographs and trying to live the idea, the fantasy, of the kind of life I was supposed to live in Paris as a struggling writer.

Where is my tiny violin playing for me right now?

“NO, I don’t want your suggestions,” is what I thought, “sure,” is what I said.

“Well, when you are tired of all this work that you are doing, and I know that it is work, you are putting in a lot of time, doing things in Paris, writing, taking pictures and stuff, why don’t you write something fun for you.”  He said unfurling the scarf from around his neck.

“You know, just write something completely out there, something that has nothing to do with what you’re working on.” He said and stepped toward the stairs, turning on the overhead light.

“Hmm, I hear you, you may be right,” I said.

I was being flippant.

But something dinged in my head.

Something said, he’s got a point.

Do you want to be happy or do you want to be write.

I mean “right”.

“I do have an idea for something, now that you mention it,” I said and he paused foot suspended in mid air.  “I saw something on the Metro the other day that I could not figure out what it was and I suddenly got a line, a sentence, and it’s been stuck in my head now for a week or so.”

“There ya go, buddy, write about that,” then he trundled up the steps and I sighed and went back to editing the photographs I had taken that day, a job in and of itself that took anywhere from an hour to two hours depending on how many I had taken during my walk about Paris.

in the next issue of The Bastille.

“You should come check it out!” She said to me one afternoon as I was rinsing out a tea cup in the kitchen of the Scots Kirk Church, “I go every Monday, it’s a lot of fun, and yeah, there’s some drinking, but most people are pretty chill and there’s some good stuff and I love going.”

I knew what she was talking about, I had seen the flyer for it in the window at Shakespeare & Company on one of my first visits to the famous book store across the river from Notre Dame.

Paris Spoken Word Open Mic.

I googled the event.

I made plans to go.

I did not go.

I had a baby sitting gig.

I got a case of nerves.

I was tired.

I was full of excuses.

I don’t have anything to say.

“Hey, I’m going to go this Monday,” Hannah said to me as we hugged outside 65 Quai D’Orsay.  “You should come, you don’t have to perform, I just like to watch actually, we can just hang out.”

“Ok,” I said, I had begun to see, with the help of someone wiser and more experienced and oh, I don’t know, not me, that I have limited perspective and that I often make fear based decisions and that I need to practice saying yes instead of no.

And fellowshipping is good.

So go.

I went.

I performed.

I got high from the adrenalin of getting on stage.

The lights bright, the faces rapt, I felt caught, captured, held, and I recited “While You Were Sleeping”.

I had them in the palm of my hand and I knew it.

Then, I was hooked.

I went back, I did more poems, I did “Cry Baby” and I did “Into the Pink”.  I read a long free verse poem called “Fevered”  I read an old poem about an old lover that I wrote on a break in between a double at Hawthorne Lane while having coffee at a cafe on Market Street in San Francisco back in 2002.

At one of the Open Mics the MC mentioned that The Bastille was closing down it’s next round of submissions, if you want to submit then go to blah, blah, blah.

I wanted to submit.

I had a feeling that I would get in.

I was feeling cocky and high from the performing.

I did not always nail it, but when I did.

I really did.

“So, I just wanted to let you know, I took your suggestion,” I told my room mate one evening.

“Which one,” he said without breaking a beat.

He had given me a lot of suggestions.

“The one about writing something fun,” I said.

“Oh!  Awesome, good on you,” he replied, settling down at the chair kitty corner from me at the table.  “What did you write about?”

“I actually wrote a short story, a science fiction short story at that, I have never written science fiction before, either,” I said.  “I was at Odette & Aime and I did not feel like I was done yet, but I was finished editing, I did a full chapter, and I read for an hour and I was just suddenly poked to take out my notebook and write something completely different.”

“Good for you!” My room mate exhorted again, then he told me about his day and I zoned out a little thinking about how I wanted to write more of these short stories, how good it felt to write.

We’ll be in touch to let you know when it will come out and to get a free copy to you.

I’ll send them “While You Were Sleeping,” “Cry Baby,” and something else, I thought as I looked over the submissions page.

A little voice said, send “The Button Boy”.

I had put it, the short, up on my blog and my friend had given me a really detailed and lovely response of his reaction to the story just a few days prior.

I never expected that they would choose it.

I never thought, boy, when I get my first piece published it will be for a magazine in Paris and it will be a science fiction short story.

SCIENCE FICTION!

Not a poem, not an essay, not one of my blogs.

A science fiction piece that I was inspired to write because I saw something on a little boys’ head that did not make sense to me, I made up a story to explain the unknown.

This is how Gods are created and constellations and mythologies, personal mythologies, my history.

I can still see that little boy and the gigantic plastic button, which I learned later is a hearing aid, on the back of his skull with a little wire running into the black nest of his short cropped hair.

I can see the car I am in on the Metro and I know where I am going.

And now I know what piece I need to work on next.

But just for this moment, just for today, I get to celebrate this little victory.

I get to bask.

Then back to work.

But for now, the basking.

Bask.

Bask.

Bask.

All the best,
 
David & the rest of the editorial team DSCF5360

Mental Health Day

March 10, 2013

Or night.

Depends on how  I look at it.

I had a skype date with John Ater last night, and Skype did not want to cooperate with us.  We ended up instant messaging back and forth.

Despite not seeing him.

Despite not verbally engaging.

Just the text of his messages was enough to bring me to tears.

And yes, I was wearing eye makeup.

The man is that good.

I was also that run down.  I ran myself down yesterday.  I forget, when I am fleeing through the city that the person I want to run away from is me and that I cannot, no matter where I go, lose her.

I am stuck with the bitch.

I am not so bad, I tell myself.

Hey, I am pretty darn good, look at all the stuff I do.

However, I was too focused yesterday on all the stuff I don’t do.  Despite taking photographs, a walk of four miles, writing long hand for a half hour, posting two blogs, and meeting up with someone for a quiet moment of reading on the second floor of the American Church, all before heading home to cook dinner.

Despite letting myself sit and read for an hour in Square Montholon yesterday when there was sun.  Damn you false Spring, getting all my hopes up.  I knew you would not last long and you certainly did not.  But my god it was lovely yesterday.  So sunny, warm, I had on too many layers though, and today, not enough.

Nope.

I had a hey day dressing myself down for not having figured it out.

I chatted with John and I got it out and I told him how exhausted I was.

He told me to go rest.

“I have to write my blog” I whined via text.

He suggested I google a picture of the Universe and what I thought of how important my plan was.

My plans are not very important in the whole scheme of the world, the Universe, the city, or even the block I live on.  The world will not fall to pieces if you don’t write your blog or if you do not do as much writing as you hoped, thought, or planned on doing.

Go rest.

I surrendered.

I turned off the e-mail.

I read for a little while.

I watched part of Argo.

Then my computer got wonky and the movie would not play and I realized that it was just time to put it all down and call it an early night.

“You step on your own neck,” John said.

How do I take my foot off, I wondered through the snot and the tears, and the fuck you I had whispered out to the computer monitor.  I know he’s right when I tell him to fuck off.

How?

I have been taking a suggestion recently that has been showing me a way.  I am uncomfortable doing it, but it is demonstrating some traits of mine, old habits that are of no use to me and the way I want to live my life.

I sit down before I go to bed and I write down the things that I did well during the day.  I also look at the areas in my life where I acted out of fear, selfishness or self-pity.  I write down what I could have done instead.  I ask for direction. I have been doing this for a few days and what I have noticed is that the “asset” side is a lot heavier stacked then the “deficit” side.

I have begun to see how much I accomplish in a day.

I do a lot.

And.

I do not want to let myself see that I do get a lot done.

It would then be too easy to let up on the self-flagellation.

I get off on it, you see.

I am comfortable with the discomfort.

My brain thinks it’s sexy.

As though I must, SUFFER, for the art.

SUFFER bitch.

Damn, what’s your problem, don’t you want to be a real artist?

Actually, no, not if that is what being an artist is about.

How about how I can be happiest, and happy is not a state of glee or mental elation–I may have once believed that, but it is not excitement that I seek.

It is not about checking out and feeling high on adrenaline or smiting myself with pain so that I can get an endorphin rush that takes me out of my body.

Happy is just for me being content.

Content with my life, with my efforts, with my actions.

That is what the inventory has shown me, I take a lot of actions.

Actions that sometimes I do expect to see results from, NOW, and sometimes, on occasion, I actually forget about and am surprised when days or even weeks go by and then suddenly, results.

Which was what happened for this upcoming week, having continually put it out there that I am available for babysitting gigs I got four this week.  Two quite unexpectedly, just today.

I also see from doing this nightly fact taking and fact gathering, that I still live in a lot of fear.

Big, deep, palate cleansing breath.

And again.

My muscles in my back tight with it, the balls of my feet sore, the knees creaky hinges of rust opening and closing on the scrape of bone against bone and fear that slides in greasy and slick when I am not looking, nestling down in the crevasses to haunt my day.

I do not know that I am ever going to fully get over fear, and that is probably a good thing.

I do not want to not look both ways when crossing the street for fear of getting run down by a bus bombing toward l’Opera.  That being said, I don’t also want to let it rule so many of my decisions that I exhaust myself.

I have been pushing myself to produce.

Fear that should I not, my room-mate is going to up and realize what a lazy bum I am and kick me to the curb.  When he asked yesterday what I had written during the day I wanted to vomit because I had not written anything.

Liar.

I just had not written as much as I thought I should, I did not have a long blog, I did not post as many photographs, I did not start or finish a short story.

I did not let myself see that I am doing exactly what I can with what I have.

I have a lot.

I really do.

Faith.

Tools.

Thank god for the tool box I was given and the suggestions and the wise words of good friends over internet chats nine hours away who “gently” suggest taking a break and leaving the beating of self up to another day.

I won’t say I was entirely successful in this endeavor today.

I won’t say I was entirely unsuccessful either.

I did ok.

And I wrote, morning pages–three and a half–long hand.

I responded to an e-mail about some of my writing, I may be getting some poems and or a short story published, but I won’t say more of that until I know.

I won’t be getting paid for it either, except in the publishing credits, which I will take.

I blogged.

I read a bunch riding about the Metro.

I sat at Odette & Aime over a hot cafe creme (I allowed myself the treat of writing at the cafe after the text asking me for help came through) and a tall glass of water, watching the cafe scene, reading, and yes writing, four pages long hand in the novel a new chapter started.

I practised the two poems I am going to perform at Paris Open Mic tomorrow night.

“Wait, let me get this straight,” she said leaning into me as we sat on the Metro, waiting to transfer from line 8 to line 7 at the Opera stop.

“You went by yourself, to a neighborhood you don’t know, and got up and performed in front of a strange crowd, in Paris, with no one else there to support you?”

I nodded my head.

“You put yourself out there and did something that most people would never do.”  She paused, “ever.”

“Cut yourself some slack, sister.”

She’s right.

So I did.

I Found the Hipsters!

March 5, 2013

I knew they were here.

Sure enough.

Le Chat Noir, open mic night drew them out in all their white skinny arm tousled hair black eye-glass framed glory.

Aw.

Hipsters.

You are so cute.

I could put you in my pocket and snuggle with you at night and we could talk about that book of poetry nestled next to your bike lock in the back pocket of your skinny jeans.

I was sitting on a padded stool texting the friend I was supposed to meet at the cafe.

The friend who never showed.

Thank you very much.

When I saw him pull up, rucksack on his back, long hair flowing, hipster beard just this side of scruffy, worn sweater riding up showing off the belt that held the lock on the right and soft covered book in the other pocket.

It was love at first sight.

I was home.

I heard poets from San Jose, CA.  Portland, New York, Brooklyn, England–London–and another town I did not catch, a stand up comedian, who is an American in Berlin performing comedy while studying German, really awkward and annihilating, great comedy, a French chanteuse, all of 8 years old (her dad was there playing guitar) who opened the show with a duet of songs, a really horrible reading from a girl who read, and slaughtered a Charlie Chaplin speech, and I heard a new poet who I was quite taken with–James Jules.

No idea who he is, however he was the “headliner” of sorts, or better, the feature.

The sets run seven people deep and each person gets five minutes and is gently, depending upon the level of intoxication of the host, which increased as the night went forward, or abruptly pulled off stage.

There are three sets the first starts at 9pm and is the set most attended.

I suspect the performers are there early to get those slots.

I arrived a little late as I got, wait for it, lost.

But not too lost.

I am still getting lost, but not nearly as bad.  I generally have an idea of the direction now and get my bearings a lot quicker.

I walked into the cafe and did not see my friend and it was tight and narrow and crammed with people scribbling in notebooks, a gargle of languages being tossed about in the maw of the bar and spat into my ears.

I could not understand a bit of what was happening, where the stage was, how to sign up, whom to talk to.

However, I had at least done a small bit of research before heading out. Click here to check it out. I saw a man standing in the corner of the cafe talking with a rather tall man with a beret, yes, and glasses, and yes, leather patches on elbows.

The man in the corner was wearing a top hat.

He’s the ring master I thought.

I approached.

“Do you know where I can sign up for the open mic?” I asked.

He looked rather startled, “that’s me,” he said and pulled out a black soft covered moleskin.

I wanted to say that I recognized his hat from the photo on the website, but the moment passed.

He flipped it open, “Yup, I have a few spots left, third set, you’re number six, what’s your name?”

“Carmen.”

“Carmen, ok, excellent.”  He placed the moleskin back in his pocket and continued with the conversation he was having with beret man, turning away from me to drink from his glass of beer.

I made my way outside, where I spotted hipster poet man pulling up on his bike, texted my friend letting her know I wasn’t going onto until the third set.

Plenty of time to get nervous.

I ordered a Perrier avec citron at the bar and made my way downstairs.

Gratefully I got a seat on the last bench in the very back of the room, it ended up being the spot to be in, as I also got asked on a date from the man who ended up sitting next to me the rest of the evening.

A man who stayed to hear me perform after his brother, mother, friend, sister and sister’s date left to catch the Metro.  They were all there for the brother who was performing.

I hit it off with the mum, Joyce, who is from London and had the most interesting story.  I lent her an elastic band.  It was hot in the room the press of bodies, the weather finally warming, the nerves of the performers providing extra sizzle in the small space.

She pulled her blonde hair up into a high pony and we chatted in between the first and second set.  She was married to a man from South Africa and moved from London to Paris with her then three-year old daughter and they adopted two boys.

One of whom ended up after the re-shuffling of seats that generally occurs in a pub space between sets–the trips to the loo, the bar, the outdoors to smoke a cigarette–sitting next to me.

We hit it off after stifling laughter at a poet who was performing and was so bad he was funny.  Which we both figured was the point, the schtick of it, he was rather like the comedian Stephen Wright.  Juan’s mum, that’s his name, I know as I gave him my phone number when he asked to take me out for a drink, thought the poet was actually being a poet and hushed the two of us as we sat helplessly shaking with suppressed laughter when the poet spoke of the Gerber daisy in the champagne glass dying in the window.

God I hope it was a schtick.

If not, we were horribly rude, but it had to have been a joke, it was just so bad.

Not as bad as the girl from San Jose who read a personal narrative, ie journal entry, that was so full of cliché and superlatives and adverbs and excessive “you knows” that it was hard to sit still.

Of course she made a point of coming up and engaging with me after it was over.

I was nice, mom, don’t worry.

I did not perform as well as I would have liked.  Took too long to get me up on stage and I was not hydrated enough, plus I had a big attack of nerves.  Juan was sweet telling me to breathe and offering to get me a glass of water, but it was too late and I was up.

Under the bright lights, in Paris, open mic.

My voice was not as full as I would like, I could feel the need for hydration to ease the words out, but I mustered through.  I also was going too fast, which I realized after the first stanza, I forced myself to breath and step into the poem.

And I nailed it.

I had them.

I could feel it.

They were with me and they leaned in and I delivered.

I did two pieces and I got great feedback.

I will go back.

I also found out that they have started a magazine and I will submit to it.  I will also be checking out a possible volunteer position with a writers group that needs some organizational help putting on readings by known authors and poets.

I will be getting my networking on.

And my voice out there.

Out here, in Paris.


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