April 10, 2008

Poets Speak Loud!, March 31

Last Monday, last day of the month, & Mary Panza still the host, oh my.

The featured poet was John Raymond, who began with a series of "oldies," generally poems he has read at open mics & his previous features at the Social Justice Center, the GLCC, etc., like the one about eating a chicken, or the woman at the end of the bar, or a dingy old bar with friends, or "Surgery," "The Damned" (killing a fly). The new poems were also sexy, pickled -- a "Bath" with candles & gin, or 4AM "Existential Alcoholism." The love poem "Clichés" echoed "Left Unwritten" in the first half, the struggle of writing & the struggle with love. Did John resolve it in the last poem, a love poem in magic language? Stay tuned.

I read a poem that had been lurking in my workbook until a poet friend helped me lace it up, "Combat Boots," then a new poem, "Painter's Eyes." And out of the blue came Billy Stanley with a "Stained Vision" of Ashley Dupree in a dingy hotel, "The Flash" for a friend in the National Guard, & a poem about never wanting to leave home -- nice to hear his twang again.

Ed Rinaldi breezed in from South Troy with a series of short pieces, one on ghosts & memories, "Esophagus Rising" (love repeating on him), winter with an ex, & writing in an empty house. Chris Brabham showed up in a fancy turtle neck to do a couple pieces on drug abuse, "Methadone Sea" & "Medicine Cabinet Junkie" getting ready for the day.

The performance piece of the night was Don Levy dropping a page to his new piece, "See You in the Complaint Department," bumping his head on the music stand as he bent (which is a generous use of that word for what he had to do) to pick up the page, then almost knocking over the mic stand -- phew, he got through it -- a funny, new poem, even without the shenanigans.

Coming all the way down from Glens Falls, the poet known as "Nuwanda" explained "The Secret of the Mullet," then a couple more, including a performance piece about waking up in the morning, "Five More Minutes."

William Eng read a piece like a journal entry of a visit home, then the returning Joe Hollander did a short poem I think was called "Fremont" that he was about to write at the end of April, or something like that -- hey, it was late.

Last Monday of most months, Lark Tavern, Madison Ave., Albany -- you find it.