On the last Monday of each month, after the peace vigil in Delmar, I drive back into Albany, park in the Sea of Mud behind the Lark Tavern, & go in for dinner. Usually Greg & Ed & Tim are tossing back the Guiness & sorting out the forces that move the world of Art & Music -- & whatever else lands on their table. Sometimes I find a table alone but often someone is there alone too to welcome me. Tonight Mary & Thom were by the stage so I squeezed into the long bench next to them. Nicole, ah, Nicole, knew what to bring me. I ordered a special & settled in for the evening.
It was a short night of only 6 open mic readers, & our featured poet, Will Nixon, but it was fun -- & if you doubt my word you should show up sometime.
Michael Mooney was new & I think there more for the fun than the poems; he read a joke about 3 State workers walking in to the Lark Tavern & seeing Jesus at the bar. Or maybe it was Rob (he showed up later but didn't sign up).
Shaun Baxter began with a poem by John Updike, "Perfection Wasted" read for his father, then read the only poem Shawn said he ever wrote about his father, the folk wisdom of "Cars & Doctors." Josh McIntyre stayed in town for the open mic & read about now, in "Recovery," then one about forgiveness, "Resistance" -- quiet wisdom in short poems.
Will Nixon, from Woodstock, has been featured here quite a bit lately -- at the Social Justice Center in August & just last week at Live from the Living Room, promoting his book from FootHills Publishing, My Late Mother as a Ruffed Grouse. Tonight he read mostly from an unpublished manuscript of poems based on the movie The Night of the Living Dead; other poems not in the book, such as "The Night I Saw the Clash" & "Love, Falling In." I've enjoyed his readings here & in Woodstock from the book, but was pleased to hear other poems tonight.
I haven't seen James Schlett in a while, need his nature poems to quiet the urban rattle sometimes; he read one about a storm. The lone female poet of the night, A.C. "breaking-my-Art" Everson did a poem about Xmas "Lights". I had picked my number on the sign-up sheet at random & ended up last for a change with a couple of old poems about young women out in the bars, "Yellow Cab" (a QE2-era poem) & "Ordering Lunch."
Don't look for the open mic in December because it won't happen, but on the last Monday in January 2009 it will be back, followed by the annual Tom Nattell Memorial beret toss at the Robert Burns statue. I'll be the host -- dress warm -- 7:30PM, Lark Tavern, Madison Ave., Albany, NY