June 3, 2009

VOX, May 29

We had to wait outside the Fuze Box on Central Ave. for the bartender to unlock the doors before the open mic could start, but still the folks from the grad student reading up the street just walked on by. I think the score was 3 - 0 (3 community poets at the grad students reading, 0 grad students at VOX).

When we finally got in & got rolling (typically late, of course), "Reverend" Rob (our host, R.M. Engelhardt, who has been secretly training for the role of Kramer in the upcoming Seinfeld movie), read another of his religious tracts, "In the Church of Coffee & Smoke," then "Noir" (or, as he pronounced it, "no-R"). Mike Purcell began by quoting Basho, then a couple long list poems: "Hate" & "I Won't Work Anywhere...", then stretched our patience with a Paula Cole lyric. If it was on the radio you could turn it off. When I got up to read I said, "I won't work anywhere where I have to work," then read a poem I wrote for Lark Fest, "Watch Your Language," then the 2 "Epidemic" poems (posted on this Blog).

The featured performers were Keith Spencer on guitar & Thom Francis on poems, as Murrow, well documented tonight in photos by Kristen Day & myself. A good way to start is a poem about confronting a blank page on "A new day..." then into this group's crowd-pleasers -- the trucker poem (that may in fact be the title now), the "body like a train wreck" poem, "Shower," a drinking poem "3rd Can," a character study about working in a beer store, "Leaving this place I once called home...", the anti-recruitment, ironic "American," & ending, as they usually do, with "Radioman." A good performance, with the guitar riffs in the background keeping the rhythm in the poems, slowing the pace.

Back to the open mic, Don Levy gave us his take on the right-wingnut anti-tax rally, "How Long Do You Let Your Tea Bag Steep," then on the use of "gay" to describe inanimate objects, "My Gay Toaster Won't Let Go of My Eggo." The other photographer, Kristen Day, began with an old poem, "Closure," then the satiric "I'm On a Diet!" Our host was back with a reading of lyrics by Kansas -- why?

Matt Galletta went to the circus & saw the elephants on "The March." The night ended with 2 poets we don't usually see at these open mics. Ford McLain has published a chapbook Antietam (Shadows Ink Publications, 2007), where each of the poems begin with "D"; tonight he read a tribute to redheads, "In My Bed."
John Cirrin made a quick cameo with a lightening-fast take on mad-cow disease. Then the disco crowd began to take over, in a hurry to get rid of those poets, crank up the amps & begin pounding the beat into the floor.

This, the former QE2, ancestral home of the Albany poetry scene, now seems to be not particularly poetry-friendly; perhaps they are nervous about the poets hanging around too long & giving the disco &/or goth crowd a bad name. I mean, we dress funny & talk in tongues. But some actually buy booze. But this event continues on the last Friday of each month at the Fuze Box, Central Ave., Albany -- New York, not Wyoming.