This was a "featureless" reading, no eyes, noses, eyebrows, lips -- nothing but a flat oval with a dark hole for the mouth & 2 blank spaces for the eyes -- wow, did we have fun! Actually, it was as simple as the featured reader was not able to be there -- but, hey, as everyone knows, we were there for the open mic -- Yeah! & our host, Shaun Baxter, actually adjusted the mic stand down at one point. He began with a reading of Gary Snyder's nifty poem "Axe Handles" -- what we need to ponder.
Shaun gave us permission, being featureless, to read 3 poems & I re-did once again for the last time for a while you should hope, a couple poems based on conversations with poets that I'd been doing at open mics, then, for Thanksgiving, "Briget of Kildare's Tablegrace" -- anyone who wants a copy, email me & I'll send it on.
Karen Guzzardi-James had read on Sunday at the Community of Writers event & was back with a mixture of love & penetration & "Lunacy", then "You Move Me," the celebratory litany catalog of "you move me like ..." (hey, if you haven't actually written it, you would still feel it). Bob Sharkey looked back to Halloween, then a tender poem of love & thanks, "Your Eyes", & then "Saffron & Flames."
John Raymond only read one of his own poems ("Barbecue Girl" at the Memphis airport, one of those archetypes Jung didn't live long enough to discover), but read 2 by one of my personal favorites, Octavio Paz from the New Directions Selected Poems: "Poet's Epitaph" (page 2) & III. from "The poet's work" (page 10). Dig it.
Barry Finley, a local peace & social justice activist, has been making the open mics lately, & actually pitched "Gertrude Stein v. the Bard" then reprised his Mark Felt poem from last week, with a couple of tiny pieces in between. A former feature here, Jason Dalaba, read from his chapbook Yesterday's Machine the dream poem "Lost Boys," then "Welcome to the Planet of Meat & Trees" (in a faux pompous accent, to my thinking, but then later someone else complimented Jason on his "actor's voice" -- so what-the-fuck do I know??), then "Postcard I." which wouldn't fit on a postcard anyways.
I'm not pre-disposed to rhyme, particularly with short metrical patterns, but I've grown to like W.D. Clarke's poems in this style, particularly because rather than recounting some teen-age angst, or the rage of a relationship gone bad, he uses the rhyme to carry a narrative line. "McGowan's" told the story of a bar his grandfather went to & the gone stories of the "veterans & drunks." Then the love-story of "The Private & the Major," & a lament for "Forgotten Veterans."
There is no one like our second-short host to put a new spin, a new point on, you add your own cliche, on existence, like the cat-shit in "Pitching Practice" or the respect "For Our Single-Celled Relatives" -- there's billions of them!