Madison Mae Parker & Francesca Willow
The Air was indeed rich with promise that day as the Water Rats gathered in their ancestral home, there to meet their International guests, and to share with them Words and Wine, Visions and Verse, Food and Fun!
We’d booked local troubadour QPapaYandi as Mystery Musician for the occasion and he did not disappoint, with his raucous, rockin’ tunes thumped out on a collection of suitably battered looking acoustic guitars. QPapa adds considerably to his sound with a Bob Dylanesque blues harp hanging ever at the ready around his neck. Joining him unannounced that day, to the delight of the crowd, was Trumpeter extrodinaire, the multi-talented Linda Loop. Passing control of the kitchen over to her loyal lieutenant Gil, she took her trusty Trumpet onstage to shake the rafters and give that extra bit of oomph to QPY’s tunes. It was a happy collaboration.
Hitting the Open Mic that Day we saw Shane K warning us that the barbarians are coming..or possibly they’ve been delayed, enquiries are being made..Paul Dobbyn cheerily informed us that the Desert is a place he escapes to..first time reader Dave T bravely broke the bad news to his Other, “The Court says I can’t see you”…Marina T woke us all from a deep dream of peace with a rendition of the romantic classic Abou Ben Adhem (May his tribe increase)..
The Venerable Eido updated us on the Arts Party’s recent successes whilst the Reverend Hellfire saw a worm in every apple..Sue Dreeves (happily uninterrupted by planes, helicopters or clumsy Reverend’s) shared her disbelief that, “the long road which took me here just ends!” The Reverend later helped medicate the ever-effervescent Geoffrey Evans after his empassioned rendition of the poem, “Mania”.
Greg “Loaded Dog” Secombe was back from Spain and High on Cervantes. First time reader KENT told us of his project to write 100 Poems for his Partner, and shared with us Love Poem number 76, which, I believe, he plans to read at a friends’ upcoming wedding.
Three O’clock, the first open Mic wound up and we dispersed to eat and drink and gossip while QPapaYandi and Linda Loop provided the soundtrack to our conviviality. We dined upon yet another fabulous feast donated by our big-hearted community and assembled by our hard-working kitchen team.
A gentle haze rose above the Rotunda..
Suitably refreshed we re-gathered to listen to the end of QPY’s set and idly contemplate the eclectic collection of exquisite Japanese prints gathered for our appreciation by the Kurilpa Poets’ enigmatic and erudite Director of Visual Arts.
These ranged from the purely aesthetic to the aesthetic and erotic to the very strangely erotic. I now know more about nineteenth century Japanese Octopus Erotica than I ever dreamt possible, and my dreams were already very strange indeed..
The first of our Feature Poets was Martin Porter who had journeyed all the way from the north island of New Zealand to be with us. Martin proved to be a pleasant, unassuming fellow poet whose poems betrayed a subtle humour and a keen eye.
I spoke to him later about the poetry scene in his part of the world. They sound quite enthusiastic if not particularly organised in a formal way. However Martin tells me that they’ve done some self-publishing projects that have been quite successful.
Then it was time for our much anticipated Feature Act, the combined artistry of wordsmith Madison Mae Parker and dancer Francesca Willow.
Texan Performance Poet Maddie and London-based dancer and choreographer Francesca have been touring the world with their “One Thousand Promises” show. Maddie (or “Mad” to her friends) declaims her passionate polemics, whilst Francesca interprets in writhing movement her every nuance, all accompanied by a recorded background soundtrack of their own original music. It’s a powerful mix.
Both are very young, very professional
and very committed performers.
I was interested to note when talking to them afterwards,
just how short both girls were when I was standing next to them. No, neither would ever be called “tall”, yet on stage they both seem to acquire considerable stature. I put this effect down to the power of their personalities and performances.
Mad’s words spill out/Churches of ambiguity/Van Gogh’s mutilated ear/unfinished apologies/wine in the vein and the broken body of a shared language/reasons not to kill yourself, primary one being the cat has to be fed (I know that one!). Meanwhile Francesca writhes and flexes, her body emotes while her face remains an impassive mask, the ancient Dichotomy of the Dance..
Both gave large, brave performances in the intimate context of the Croquet Club Hall. Francesca in particular, I felt, had a difficult task; It must have been a challenging space for a dancer to work in; not safely up on a stage, illuminated on a pedestal and safely distanced from the audience. No, she had to work on the floor at our feet amongst the chairs. Like a true professional she rose to the challenge. Respect.
The second Open Mic session was opened by Gerard who reminded us it was Halloween and proceeded to entertain us with some timely Zombie haiku. Continuing in the festive spirit, the Rev shared some tips on how to Kill a Vampyre,
and later wrapped up the session with a spirited reading of absent Water Rat Michael Vaughan’s thrilling “action-sonnet” on the dramatic forced landing of
“US AIRWAYS FLIGHT 1549“.
In retrospect it was perhaps not the most appropriate topic to read before our jet-setting, international guests, but they took it with good grace. Marina took us back to our roots with Clancy of the Overflow.
The afternoon wore into evening and the Sun dipped towards the horizon.We bade our International guests “Fair Travelling”, and then, tired but happy, the Water-Rats made their way back to their burrows for another thirty days.
See you all next month for
the Kurilpa Poets’ End-of-Year-Gig,
which is also, coincidentally,
our Tenth Anniversary!
Words; Unckle Rat
Photos; Shane K