July 5, 2008

Poets Speak Loud, June 30

[Ed Rinaldi reading at the Lark Tavern in March.]

With our host, Mary Panza keeping order, such as it is.

Shaun Baxter was back with a summertime haircut, & a piece I think is new, in wedding clothes, "Sacrament." I read my tribute to the CT Beat Poetry Festival, then another new, springtime poem. Scott Wheatley, a young poet who has read here before, read 2: "Tribute to Whispered Smiles (with the haunting line "...& you refuse to look in the palm of my hand") & "Order of Solitude."

Tonight's featured poet attended high school in Troy (NY) with our host, Mary, & has been coming out to readings, particularly here at the Lark Tavern, for the last few months. Ed Rinaldi's poems are mostly short imaged-based reflections on urban life, like "Born a Bastard," and "Dole-out the Barrel," "Hot Air Balloon," "Insulation." A longer piece was musings on a bird on the windshield while driving at night. The "river" (Hudson, of course) had a prominent role in a couple poems. He also included ruminations on George Carlin, & the compelling "Memories are Perfumes for the Eye." It was good to hear him featured after only the snippets we get at open mics.

Another poet who has not read out enough lately is Sebastian Pacheo, who read 2 poems about "bad neighborhoods." Chris Brabham did 2 poems too, including the recently written "When the Bullet takes the Flight" about healing in the community after the recent shootings here.

Tonight we all picked on James Schlett, because we love him so much. When Mary introduced him, she mentioned that he would be reading in the "Poets in the Park" series on July 26, suggesting that if one was cruising the park that night for a hooker, one should stop by the Robert Burns statue to hear James read (who knew there were hookers in the Park?). Then James read one of his romantic, philosophical musings ("Coercion") about being in Washington Park & his honey putting her hand on his chest. That was too much -- all kind of advice was offered as he left the stage, bringing a blush to his cheeks -- ahh.

Kristen Day has been coming back & read "Wasted Words." Speaking of coming back, Tess Lecuyer, who has been working in prose fiction lately, read one of Judith Johnson's dead-cat poems, "The Return," in a near perfect JJ purring manner.

Don't ever ask the audience to pick the poem you should read, they always pick the crazy title, so when Joe Hollander offered us a choice we picked "Trash Night" (& it was the shortest too). NicoleK, off for the summer, was back out & shared a poem about a reason medical event in her life, then a seasonal piece about waking up steamy & angry (more to my liking).

Always the Lark Tavern (on Madison Ave. in Albany -- don't look for it on Lark St.), last Monday -- see www.albanypoets.com.