At the Social Justice Center, our Muse tonight, in honor of our featured poet, Don Levy, was Frank O'Hara & I read his poem "Why I Am Not A Painter." The proverbial tour bus was busy circling the block for a parking space so there was a small, but enthusiastic audience & bevy of open mic readers.
Alan Catlin read from a new gathering of poems he is calling "Men in Suits" the piece "Albino Farmer Riding Tractor in the Night" (you had to be there). Bob Sharkey read a piece quoting Finnegan's Wake, based on a poem in American Poetry Review by Racel Zucker about Spalding Gray; I think Bob's poem is called "Does She Carry Keys While Walking" but my notes are crabbed so I'm welcome for any corrections (as always).
Matt Galletta read his recently re-titled poem "Baggage" (it was "Luggage" when he read it at Don's open mic earlier in the month). In a little bit of synchronicity, Thérèse Broderick read a poem about Grace Harigan's painting "Pale Horse Pale Rider" (Frank O'Hara has some poems about Grace Hartigan).
It was great to see Shannon Shoemaker back making the rounds of the open mics & reading a brand-new poem, "Confession." Bryan Clogg did his piece, "Everyone's Got Something to Say" (hey, that's why we go to the open mics). And I read "Acrostic Jazz" in honor of Thelonius Monk's birthday on October 10 (also, today was the birthday of the art-rock chanteuse, Nico).
And speaking of birthday's, yesterday, October 15, was the birthday of our featured poet, Don Levy. Most of what he read were "pretty new," as he said. He began with a poem about his high school days, "Why I Never Had a Foreign Affair," a gay-fanasy about exchange students. Then on to taking apart the TV show "Gossip Girl" in "It's the End for You Gossip Girl" (don't ask me, I don't know the show either, but the poem is funny). Next his commentary on male friendships, "Isn't it Bromantic." Don's titles could be strung together as a poem in themselves, so he re-titled his poem "Gay Marriage in the Future" (a sort of gay Flintstones) to the much more camp "Going Where No Homo Has Gone Before." He got serious with "A Letter to Matthew Shephard," who Don reminded us was killed 10 years ago. He ended with a his own form of political commentary (or as he said, "who the fuck is Sarah Palin?"), "Rubbing Noses with Sarah Palin, or Don't Cry for Me Anchorage." It's all on tape.
So that's how we ended the night. You never know what's going to happen at the Social Justice Center, 33 Central Ave., Albany, NY (7:00PM sign-up, 7:30PM start), on the third Thursday of each month, except that there will be poetry, & it's always fun (I know, I'm the host).