This is on a Monday night so I go to the peace vigil at the 4 Corners in Delmar, then to the Lark Tavern for dinner before the open mic. I usually see Ed Aketson, Greg Haymes, & frequently Tim Cahill there having their Monday meeting. This night I joined Kristen Day in a booth for dinner, then we were joined by Kim & her daughter Alexis for dinner.
Mary Panza, our host, put out the warning to the unsuspecting diners that they had walked into a poetry open mic, oh my! So I began with Tom Nattell's "Hiroshima," & my own "August, 1945." Kim Henry had been a frequent reader at open mics a while back, but has taken some time off. Tonight she was joined by her daughter, Alexis Harris, to read together Kim's poem, "Mismatched," about being free to wear what she wants while Alexis (of the Fashion Police) was away at camp.
Sebastion Pacheco chose to read "Road Kill" while folks were eating, but no one left; then a break-up poem with rain in it.
The featured poet, Chris Rizzo, has been involved at the SUNY end with the scheduling of the poets for the "Jawbone" series, so he was seen frequently there, doing intros, not reading poems. He read from his manuscript "Inarticulations," & some poems back & forth with a friend, Joe; another sequence, "The Goings On;" a piece for Gloucester poet, Gerrit Lansing, "Becoming One the Invisible;" and ended with "Night Book," journal-like short poems. In fact most of his work had the feel of modern fractured, fragmentary words, phrases which audiences often struggle with, but here he carried it off well.
R.M. Englehardt made a rare appearance at a reading, with "Sleep" ("isn't a poem about sleep," he said), and a lost-love love poem. Our sacrificial/token virgin for the night was Matt who read 2 untitled pieces, one where the Devil & God were holding hands & neither would accept him as he is.
Kristen Day's "Personal Question" is biting social commentary, while "Food Court" was an apt description in a Mall Anywhere in America. The last performer had been sitting up front all night, just soaking in the words & at the last minute got up to improvise a piece on the theme of "strength," the kind he got from listening to the poets.
Last Monday of every month, Lark Tavern on Madison Ave., Albany -- check out www.albanypoets.com.