This usually takes place on the last Monday of the month, at Tess' Lark Tavern on Madison Ave. in Albany, sponsored by Albany Poets (www.albanypoets.com). But due to the Memorial Day weekend, it was held a week early, & on a Tuesday night -- still got a good group of poets out to read.
Now I've got to tell you, Tess' is the kind of place that if I was an old coot poet living nearby in a little studio apartment I'd be there everynight, for the great food specials, & to be treated like some hot stud by the flirty, young, pretty, tattooed waitresses. I mean, that's what they do now, but I'd like it everynight.
Anywho, back to the poetry night, which, of course, was hosted by Mary Panza. I was there early for dinner & flirting after the Peace Vigil in Delmar, so ended up signing up first, just like back at the QE2, which was also held on the last Monday of the month (but didn't move because of holidays). I read one about our Veterans for Peace chapter marching in the Memorial Day parade in Albany in 1999 when Jun Sun showed up from the Peace Pagoda, chanting the invocation to the Lotus Sutra; then my new poem "Eight Hermit Thrushes" (see an earlier posting on this Blog for the text, if you are interested). Then Nicole Peyrafitte read her reactions to the same event, followed by a song-in-progress, "No Name" on Auguste Saint-Gaudens.
Jacqueline Brookfield was the surprise new poet for the night, with a couple of strident political pieces, "Gag Order on America" & "Rage Against 2007".
Marty Mulenex didn't have to tell us that the title of his first poem was "Sadness"; another piece on Albany's first Friday art event (a challenge theme for other poets?), then "Oh Juliet".
The feature was "Johnny WordFest", aka John Weiler, sans guitar, just a half-filled pint glass & a gallon of rock'n'roll attitude. It was like a John Weiler sampler: from William the Conquerer to his dog eating the Buddha, to haikus. I listened carefully to "Revolution Sounds Like Love" because John was upset at Valentines a while ago to my reaction when he read it there -- it had sounded to me that he was saying the protest generation of the '60s has all turned off being political, had gone to drugs & solipism & I took exception. Poor John was perturbed because he meant it as a tribute. Now I see that it's a complex poem that moves through moods & modes & that's why I was confused. He describes the confusion & destruction of many of that generation but ends up paying tribute to its (our) continuing struggle for justice & peace. Sorry John, I get it now.
After the break R.M. Engelhardt read 3 poems from his "collected works"; it's handy to have the book so we can find out if we really get it or not.
Mark Galleta's "Honest Man" is in one of the issues of Other:__, perhaps you can find him on www.albanypoets.com.
James Schlett will never live down his role as poetry enforcer (for which we're grateful). He read his poem from a day at Grafton pond, then a "Jersey haiku" where the joke is not just in the title.
Sylvia Barnard read a new version of the poem she had introduced at the Social Justice Center, "You Can't Buy a Bus Ticket Home", now with a better ending; then one with the funny premise that picnics are not just for eating.
At the end Dain Brammage showed up late as only a "Mental Reincarnation."
Tess' is not just for poetry you know -- in addition to some of the best bar food in town, the usual beers & girly drinks, there is music or poetry or bands or comedy nearly every night. And, like I said, pretty, flirty honeys waiting on your table. I'll be back.