October 6, 2007
Caffe Lena, October 3
[Carol informed us that Tim Daynard, a poet from the Gloversville area who had a read a number of times at Caffe Lena, had died & she dedicated the night to his memory. This is a picture of Tim reading at Caffe Lena on September 6, 2006.]
Carol Graser, our bestest host read Gary Snyder's "Ax Handles," that reverberated through the night like an ax at a bad angle on an recalcitrant oak.
I've realized that "October is the Columbus-day month breeding racism & death in the continent..." so I have started including Tom Nattell's "Columbus Fantasies" in my readings. These were poems written in 1992 to commemorate the Indians discovering an Italian mercenary for Spain landing on their shore. After doing a new poem of my own, "Starting the Wine," I did #23.
Next month's feature, Tim Verhaegan did a long, rambling, disjointed piece "War" & I'm still wondering who the "you" in the poem is supposed to be.
Sue Jefts is a one of these low North Country poets, who puts herself in her poems prompted by Mother Nature, quiet, meditative. She did 2 new pieces, "Faith, or the Place Between Worlds" (sound like a much longer poem), and a beach poem, "August Aubade."
The bouncer, James Schlett began with a quote from the 20th Century American poet Robert Henri (variously pronounced, if you can believe that), then another Grafton poem ("what else?" James said, it's his favorite place) "Tao" on the beauty of chance, then a New Jersey setting to "The Trestle, Oakland."
A new poet up to the plate (it's October you know), Andy I., in plaid, did thunder & rain & words with "Thor," then a funny, fun rambling slant hip-hop/slant rhyme "I've Never Been Good at Rhyming ..." where, if my somewhat battled ears served me right, she rhymed "trachea" with "maker."
I have a particular affection for Mary Kathryn Jablonski uncurling from her self-spun web here at Caffe Lena with her popular "Letters to the Husband I Have Not Yet Met," this time #7. Then "Becoming Other," where I imagined myself to be "the piscatore of the barbless hook," yes, yes.
The featured poet was Michael Czarnecki, the publisher of Foothills Publishing (who recently put out Carol's fabulous chapbook, The Wild Twist of Their Stems -- has anyone ever told you how good this book is?) & published other locally-known luminary poets like Robert Milby & Charlie Rossiter. Anyways, he gave a relaxed reading steeped in Beat beer & the tea & saki of classical Chinese & Japanese poets. He began by evoking the muse of Lew Welch with the dedicatory poem ("What strange pleasure do they get who'd...") from Book I of Ring of Bone. His poems were interspersed with stories, like the one about the ginseng hunter. He also read from his haibun collection Twenty Days on Route 20, which I had to buy, since I've been at both ends of Route 20 & spend some parts of most days on it (the book includes a stop in Albany during the Lark Fest). In East Springfield he invokes the ghost of Vachel Lindsay, in Cleveland, that of d.a. levy. Other poems talked of the stars & midlife, his son playing the Moody Blues, and fire, wine, stars, owls, Chinese & Japanese poems "As Autumn Approaches on Wheeler Hill." Check out his work as poet & as publisher at www.foothillspublishing.com.
After the break, Carol read "Children's Concert in Congress Park," from her book.
A new face/voice, W.D. Clarke (not sure about the terminal "e") read a couple of thoughtful rhymes, the ghosts of Army buddies "The Night Time Army," & an homage to "The American Farmer."
Mike Ballinger was back from his vineyards in France & did a sonnet in the mode & mood of John Donne, complete with "-iths;" then a relationship poem that I think you can guess the way it is going from the title, "Burmese Tiger Trap."
The itinerant Marty Willow was passing back through with a couple of poems from different points in his life: "Aspirations," & fantasy characters from his youth, "Standing in Front of a Full Length Mirror at His Boyhood Home."
Don Levy brought us Senator Craig "Tap Dancing in the Bathroom Stall." So then Michael Rush had the misfortune of following Don -- Carol ran some interference creating space -- & then Michael re-did the fable of the blind man & the elephant, where the elephant was blind too, "Misdirection;" then "Timeline."
Josh McIntyre was really, really glad he didn't have to follow Don, since what he had planned was much more romantic. Setting the stage with the short "Ode to Dora" dedicated to the lovely Beatriz & playing with Spanglish. Then he invited Beatriz to the stage as I moved to take a picture of them together & he brought up a chair for his beloved. This is what he read,
Tickets To Vegas
We have our tickets to Vegas.
Families are planning from NY to Mexico.
So, I thought I better ask just to see:
Te Casas conmigo?
In other words -- "Will you marry me?"
Out came the ring -- this was a real, live marriage proposal with Josh on his knee offering the ring. Beatriz burst into light, glowing, shining, & of course, said yes (or "Si"). And the room went wild with applause, cheers, even tears & laughter. We all wish them long years of love, health, happiness -- & babies too.
That's even harder to follow than Don Levy, & it was Shaun Baxter who was dealt this blow. Now I seem to recall hearing "When the Penguin Came to Town" read recently but can find no record in my notes -- but it's the kind of poem I would remember without notes: a comic-book/movie character & the imagined, hoped for, dream-bent changes to the world his visit brought. Also, "The Wait," a traditional drinking poem, he said.
Therese Broderick (someday I'll figure out how to do accents in HTML) described the birth of her daughter as another of the things she was told she couldn't do in "Life Guard Gives Birth," then one from her Writing from Art workshop on the paintings of Stephen Hannock, "Ox Bow."
The last poet for the night, Yvette Brown returned to the life guard theme, back to her summer at 16 in Long Branch NJ, "Italian," then a poem to her sister, "For Harriet," dedicated to poets, how fitting.
What a night! We have a whole month to recover, perhaps. The first Wednesday of every month, at Caffe Lena (again, no accents) on Phila St. in Saratoga Springs, 7PM sign up, 7:30 start.