“Flock of Birds” by Faisal Akram
Courtesy of WikiMedia Commons
A flock of dark-winged, white-bodied gulls flying this way and that over a marsh.
So! Here we are.
Last night, and despite still being in the process of fighting off a sinus/upper-respiratory infection (I hope I managed not to breath on anybody), I went to Sawdust
for their Spoken Word Summer
event, featuring nina jane drystek, Nathanaël Larochette, and Barâa Arar.
I enjoyed the show. The open mic – in-which I participated – was packed
, which was fantastic, the room was full of queerdos, and the feature performers showcased a variety of styles, including sound poetry which is not something I tend to hear.
Or participate in.
The reason I went to this particular Sawdust event, especially given that I was sick and would likely have skipped it under different circumstances, was because I’d been contacted a scant ten days earlier by the above-mentioned nina jane drystek about taking part in a choral performance of sound poetry based on a Kimiko Murakami piece of concrete poetry.
Now, I’ve sung in choirs before. And group performances are at least a little familiar to me, if only as poetry slam team pieces
. But I’ve never performed a group spoken piece, and definitely not one that involved pulling and twisting the syllables of an ostinato only three words long.
So I figured, what the heck, I’ll give it a shot.
Three rehearsals and a flurry of messages later, I and nine other local lady poets (half or more of us queers of one stripe or another, which delights me even more
) interrupted the “final announcements” section at the end of the show, taking the stage one by one, to become a flock of birdgirls playing with the theme of “we are here” (Are we here? Here we are!), squashing, stretching, and clipping the syllables, layering the words over each other, passing them back and forth, crescendo and diminuendo turning them into waves, into birds shoaling, letting them echo and fade.
It was a fun time. To be part of a storm.
It was neat to see people’s expressions, in the audience, which from where I was standing looked pretty delighted with the whole thing.
I think I would do this again. 😀
 It was, in fact, planned from the get-go, and the organizers were in on it.