Tuesday, July 17, 2012

The Word is a Living Thing.

Okay, back in the saddle as the old cliche goes.  Yes, I know I have one more teaser/sample from the collection to post, for the story that probably gets the most reaction, but right now, settling into Rome and settling into blog writing again, I want to talk about something different.

The Word is a Living Thing.

Late last week, the Rome Revolutionary Brigade had a reading along the Tiber, partly to promote the release of our first anthology, partly because that's what we do anyway, trying to jostle the sleeping minions into action or at least opening their eyes to the Real World around them.  A strange set-up, only a couple people besides us showed up--I am the honorary Across The Pond member, ahem--but we attacked our fiery poetry with enthusiasm and more.  It was quite fun.

As I type this, the dog is sleeping beneath the table below me; I just heard him snoring.

So, we all went up onstage this cool evening and spat out salvos, words disguised as scud missles.  Because I am the lone primarily English speaking member, I would read a poem and another member would read the Italian translation.  I opened my two poem set with "Hyenas & Vultures," after which Olga Campofreda did a stellar reading of the translation.  My second poem was "Legacy of Warhol."  I felt good about my reading, felt I got it right.  That's when I learned

The Word is a Living Thing.

Marco Cinque, Italian poet, musician--he was adding musical accompaniment to all of the readings--and Force of Nature, stepped away from his instruments to read the translation of my poem.

He set it on fire, man.  Let me tell you, he attacked my short poem with a ferocity I'd not pictured with those words, sinking his teeth into the text, slightly altering, doubling up the last line.  Hence, he tore it up in such a way I was left flabbergasted and overjoyed.

I was shown something about words, about perception, about the living, breathing, malleable LIFE within my words I'd not envisioned.  And I loved it!  You know me, always learning, always wanting to know more, well, this was more...so much More, haha...

As we lugged his instruments away, walking back to the car, he turned to me and said in his rarely spoken English, "The Word is a living thing."  Experimenting, especially in the live environment, is his way.  Feeling the words as much as speaking them.  It reminded me of live concerts and bands that repeat their shows verbatim, while other bands shake it up on a constant basis, even shake up the musical presentation, no cookie-cutter live versions, lets try...this...or...That!  Whatever, the point is, this sentence really struck me with potency, made me think more about the music and my words and the next time I get to read them, shaking things up.  Sure, in stories and fiction, there's less an inclination to do this, there's a set manner in which the words are laid out...but that doesn't mean they aren't alive.  Our individual takes on stories give them a life only we understand, perhaps.  (That's why some fiction works for us and some does not.)

Whatever, rambling here, but good to get this out.  Because, especially for poetry and words spoken out loud, meant to leave an impression, meant to smack the listener in the head--Wake Up!--

The Word is a Living Thing.

PS. Also, as the writer's mind tends to do, a story and poem seem possible responses to this sentence.  The story being twisted and weird, of course.  Is there any other way?  Okay, sure, there is, because

The Word is a Living Thing.


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