Thursday, 28 October 2021

Talk Poetry, Mairéad Byrne, My Dinner with André,

Talk Poetry by Mairéad Byrne is just that, the poetry of talk, poetry talking us through the onwardness of every day and how it runs away with you: you laugh you cry you sew on a button. You do what you do. The place is set up for this. The world runs on and we drink our poems as we may. 

You cannot help an alcoholic. Except in the ordinary ways you can help anyone. Like sewing on a button. People do what they do. Sometimes it is beautiful.

It rained all day. I read Talk Poetry, lit the stove and watched My Dinner with André, uncomfortably, at my computer, at the knee chair. I hardly ever do that. You have to want to be in touch with others, for My dinner with André, swaying and adjusting on the knee chair, going with the conversation, as with the pulses of rain outside, coming in strongly towards the last half hour, the conversation, that is. 

Wallace Shawn's querying noises  have prepared us for his view on it all, when it eventually comes. Do you have to climb Everest, can't you just have a nice dinner at home and exercise your small talent when the chance arises? 

These are the positions after coffee, the restaurant has emptied, André has an espresso, Wally an amaretto. André pays and Wally takes a taxi home, finding associations with every other building they go past. While André is halfway up Everest or having an encounter with 40 Polish people in a forest, or preparing a safe place for a flying saucer to land. Satie's first Gymnopédie is the exit music. Wallace Shawn going home in his taxi, reviewing his childhood.

Mairéad Byrne is unreasonably fond of home, she has homes everywhere, in a queue at the bank, in a library, a bookshop, a telephone booth, a certain amount of space & silence. I slot myself into it whenever possible, she says. I know what she means. And I have a take on her take on family photos. 

In our house we didn't have a camera. We liked photos though and posed for them at every opportunity. .... There were eight children in our family ...  We liked to dress up and grin. There was a piano. Sometimes my younger sister, who got lessons, would sit on the piano stool, and holding her hands suspended somewhat claw-like above the keys, would swivel round her head at a 90º angle to her stalwart body, her face full of mischief and intent....

I don't know how we ever got anything done in our house, we spent so much time face-forward, grinning to beat the band, she ends. 

You can see that still, in the author photo. 

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