Wize Words, June 13
The contrasts in the 2 poetry readings I attended this night couldn't be more stark: Community open mic poets reading from hand-written notebooks (or reciting from memory) v. featured poets from academe reading from published books; black v. white; late start v. start on time; loud audience appreciation (sometimes in the middle of the poem) v. polite clapping only at the end of each set.
I didn't always get everyone's name but sure got the poems, the songs, the spirit. Our warm host, Bless, took us around through a couple of relaxed sets. The folks liked my sexy take on "Patriotism" better than the somber "John Lees" (I was trying out my "Flag Day" playlist). Penny read from her notebook, the first time with "Reality Tripping," telling us "writing is where I live"; her second piece was, believe me, "Poor Poor Pooky". Chris was glad to be in a better place now than he was when he was younger, his rap from memory (of course) written when he was 16; second time he talked about his "dream girl" -- he's all of 19. Shay talked about "Unity".
Kim was a singer, first with recorded music, then the second time around she teamed up with Bless in a free-style on brown skin, a crescendoing sex ride that was here & now it's gone. Bless his-self argued with god in "Could You Talk to Me," then a piece on why he writes but also what he doesn't do poetry for... Later he did his classic "Black Love." The last poet I saw was Storm, flipping through her notebook until she found "I Stand Alone."
Just 2 sides tonight of the multi-faceted gem of poetry in this fine, buzzing city -- come again on the 2nd Friday of each month at Simply Fish & Jazz, 147 South Pearl St. (just below Madison), Albany, NY, 9:00 (or later) start.