May 28, 2009

Third Thursday Poetry Night, at the Social Justice Center, May 21

Our muse tonight was one of my favorites, Barbara Holland, I read her poem "Autumn Wizard." You can find her on the web.

Alan Catlin read from a chapbook, Brain Damage, a narrative of yet another marginal character in trouble with drink & the police. Cheryl A. Rice rode up with the night's feature, she's also trying to grow an "Avocado." Don Levy has "3 Chins," his hysterical "3 es" poem (but he left out the "3 Chins from Albany"). Kristen Day found a similar theme in her screed "I'm On a Diet!"

Alan Casline's narrative "Painting Signs for the Arboretum" is also a meditation on the ponds. Ed Rinaldi showed up with his young daughter, Emma, a bit nervous about what is this "poetry reading"?, read "This Ambiguity" (for someone called Manley Johnson -- I suspect not the economist).

Our featured poet, Rebecca Schumejda (pronounced "Schmayda") finally got to read in Albany. She read mostly from her book Falling Forward (Sunnyoutside Press, Buffalo), but included a few poems from an earlier collection. "A Mother's Mantra," "Wedding Waltz" (on failing dance classes), "Shopping with Maria" for a wedding dress, then 2 about her father, "Falling into Hot Tar" & "Workman's Prayer"; "Five Ripe Tomatoes," then from a new series about running a pool hall in Kingston, a character study "Table of Truth," & ended with "Rosary Beads & Pool Balls." A relaxed, entertaining reading of simply stated, human poems.

After the break I read my new poem "For Natalie," my niece who died way too young last week. Next month's featured poet here, W.D. Clarke, gave us a taste with the tongue-in-cheek homage to, "Barrack's Life." Michael Purcell was new here, started with quotes from Albert Einstein, then read a poem he had written just this past Monday, the satiric "Alternative Reality TV." Dan Stalter was new here too at the SJC, but is no stranger to the spoken word stage, began with a haiku, then an intense, personal poem about a suicide letter on the back of a birthday card. Anthony Bernini reprised his midnight WordFest reading of "A Stowaway' Prayer."

Therese Broderick, the "poet with too many qualms" read her play on the word "Qualm." Then her husband, Frank Robinson, embarrassed her with a tender love poem about watching, "with fresh vision," Therese read at an open mic, just like tonight. Bob Sharkey kept the marriage theme going with "39 Years In," pondering "Christ turning water into mojitos" at a gay marriage feast. R.M. Engelhardt updated the death ritual with "Instruction & Invocations & Preparations for Crossing the River of Death." Moses Kash III extended our night with a long, rambling piece "Happy 4/20" starting with Easter & the Black Messiah.

Another grand night at the Social Justice Center, & every third Thursday of the month, at 7:30PM (sign-up begins about 7:00), just a small donation of $3.00 if you've got it.