In the Kings Mall, on 9W in Kingston, hosted by Teresa Marta Costa, who read from William Carlos Williams to get us started.
I had rode down with the first featured poet, Tim Verhaegen.
His work is suffused with his "gayness" -- exuberant, pensive, historical/memorialist -- & characterized by simple statements that pile up making his point through an accumulation of images. "Italian Kids" & "Third Grader's Rhyme" explored his childhood. A couple bookends explored the first & last time in a gay bar, contrasted with a couple "widow" poems for a lover lost to AIDS. The poem he read last week at Caffè Lena, "I Want Revenge," has been revised to be more poignant, and he ended with a gentle "Hold Me."
The second featured poet, Margot Malia Lynch, had been the featured poet at the Third Thursday Poetry Night at the Social Justice Center last November.
She likes to adjust her reading to the audience, to the vibes, which can lead to some shuffling of pages, but also to an evolving, organic set. Some of what she read sounded like unrefined notebook entries, like self-affirming journal entries, or simply the notes to a poem. But the best of her pieces took those observations & turned them into images, like "I Like the Way I Drive" (which was more than that) -- & speaking of driving, the meditation on the "Tiger Lily" by the side of the road. There was the dreamy "Blame it On the Moon Wish it on a Star" & the sexy, expressively read "Body Painting on Venus." You can find her at on MySpace at http://www.myspace.com/margotmalia.
After a break to pull the seats of our pants out of our sweaty asses, we continued with the open mic. I read the CT Beat poetry festival poem, again, but to a different audience, then the recent Spring-time secret "Last Snow." Eugenia Macer Story read 2 poems about various imagined re-incarnation fantasies. More to the point Donald Lev read what he described as "2 confessional poems" which says he rarely writes, then read Enid Dame's "Prayers" (from Where is the Woman?, Shivastan Publishing, 2006) for a friend who needed it. At the bookshop I picked up Donald's chapbook of movie poems, Adventures at the Upstate: poems on film (Pamphilus Press).
Wry rhymer Ted Gill did "Phobias," "Poor Kitty Cat," then the tender "Lie to Me My Love" -- oh yes! Laura Ludwig does theater pieces as well as poetry, read a couple pages of dialog between Leo & Gertrude Stein, after she read a poem about herself, dreaming of excitement.
He does it all the time, with his Vaudeville placards announcing his titles, & his outrageous, obscene rhymes, Ron Whiteurs brought down the house. Tonight he found every conceivable rhyme on "Barack Obama" & then on the "Weinerama." You just got to let it go.
Guy Reed was up to the task of following Ron with angels in our ears, "The Poetry Whisperers," then in a graveyard with "A Patch of Walt's Grass."
Robert Milby's 5 minutes were gone with his announcements & poets birthdays, & reading a poem by Shelley before he even read his own 2 poems, which took another 5. Then a quick descent into the tedious with Philip Guareri (my heart sank when I saw him park his bike outside) & his sententious preaching on current events -- fortunately Teresa had her eye on the clock (as did everyone else) & let him know when his 5 minutes were up. That was that & Tim & I flew out of there.
You never know what you are going to get at an open mic, so be prepared. The Bohemian Book Bin is moving to another location, watch for the notices about that.