July 20, 2007

NightSky Cafe, July 18


(I have a stack of photos of Annine performing over the years, with musicians & with her pinatas & I thought I had one of the dragon, or a distant cousin, that she did tonight, but, alas, the dragon was not there, or was not recognizable. So for those of you who have not seen Breakin' My Art, here is an action shot from Cafe Web in October, 1999.)

Our host, the Harry Potter-ish Shaun Baxter began with a poem from Garrison Keiler's Good Poems, & later during the night read from his postcard project, including Mimi's "March to the Airport", a rhymed piece, & "Invocation" -- all like real poems, not just some maniac's dribblings on Shaun's free postcards. He also later did his combination dog poem & bar poem, "Tiny Dogs."

I have no special claim on the first spot on the sign-up sheet, but since the "old days" of the QE2 have found that poets often skip that number when they sign up, so even when I arrive late, I'm often #1. I read "Cleanse this City" & "The Night Sky," both on the Blog if you scroll down.

Alan Catlin had just typed "The Pursued" and also read "The Action Stewarts, Schenectady NY" & challenged the folks there to guess which branch of the convenient store chain it was -- I don't live in Schenectady so I don't know.

There seemed to be a "Mother segment" briefly with Tim Verhaegen reading a harrowing & funny account of his mother's rebellion, a true feminist happening, in "Hannah's Revenge," then John Raymond read an autobiographical "Mother's Day."

I was surprised, when I walked in, to see Jim Masters at the Cafe. Jim has been at "Live from the Living Room" at the GLCC for the last couple months (check out some of my earlier Blogs), but nowhere else, one of those folks who are places less for the poetry than the place. But it seems the (poetry) bug has bitten & sometimes it takes a neophyte to do something no one else has done: he read from Genesis -- in Hebrew -- briefly to set up his poem, but I'm certain that in all the poetry readings I have ever been too, this was the first time anyone actually read from the Hebrew Bible. We've had Hebrew words, quotes in Hebrew, but never an actual passage read in the language of Moses. His poem took off from that, from the idea that the world was "good" before it got turned "topsy-turvy" as he drew parallels to his own life.

Then Carol Graser read "Great Gobs of Time," a mother's musings.

The feature was A.C. (but we know her as Annine) Everson, whose poems are typically short, pithy, frequently rhyme, & are always amusing, touching, poignant. And she is always "breaking my Art," as she did tonight with a dragon pinata. She led up to the destruction with poems about her Meniere's disease, her addiction (to "Scrabble"), her sister's carrot cake, tributes to poets & musicians -- she touches your heart before she breaks her Art. Some unsuspecting diners in the cafe took home not only unique refrigerator magnets but memories of a unique night out.

This was only the second time I saw Candice perform -- the first time was last fall at Valentine's (a treasured night). While she did poems from memory, my memory, even with my notes, is obscured by my (what shall I call it?) infatuation? fascination? lust? -- "Orchards" about her grandmother, her meme, who had recently died; & "Callous" from walking, but to where, what?. Good poems, yes.

Bob Sharkey knows Maine & read "Fog Talk" by the recently deceased Maine poet Philip Booth, & his own "Looking for an LL Bean Model," a classic that I've referenced in one of my poems about open mics.

Chris Brabham had a new piece, "Egos (the deadliest tumor)" -- indeed.

Jason Dalaba had his new chapbook with him for sale, Yesterday's Machine (which I hope to get to comment on in a separate Blog soon) & read from it "For Lack of Want" & "Postcard 1."

Thom Francis read a new piece where he was inside the head of a trucker.

The end of the night was a new, young poet who goes to school in Vermont (she said), Maggie, who had just written her piece "on the trunk of a car," actually on numerous half-sheet size pages that she tossed to the floor after reading them (shades of Karl Gluck at the QE2 when Maggie was in diapers), a rambling untitled piece starting off about what a poet's heart is, then on to a dead friend & around & around in that wonderful youthful abandon of ranting & piling up images that can sometimes lead to brilliance. Maybe she'll be around for the summer.

Another night at the NightSky with the nice guy, Shaun Baxter -- every 3rd Wednesday, Union St., Schenectady, NY.