July 3, 2009

Third Thursday Poetry Night, June 18

Where were the women poets? Only the guys showed up to read, even our featured poet's usual cheering section was stuck in Canada. But, hey, it was such an unusual night in yet another way (the stars must have been in Uranus), it was a 2 poem open mic (ha, ha -- you missed it)!

Our muse was the recently deceased Harold Norse. Then Alan Catlin read two poems based on works, a book & a movie, about Viet Nam; his poem called "Two of the Missing," like the book he was reading, was about Errol Flynn's son; another, just written, from the movie "Apocalypse Now." Michael Purcell likes to start his readings with a quote, this one from Buddha; the first poem "Identity Theft" on our true, & false, identities & how to recover it, the next written after the Tulip Fest, "Dance."

Bob Sharkey's "To Make Himself Interesting" was about a strange, laughing character often seen along the streets of Albany (& who has showed up on occasion at the third Thursday reading); his second poem was inspired by the spring fashions in Macy's, "Summer Styles." I jumped in on number 4 with only 1 poem, a process poem using works by Edna St. Vincent Millay, "Une Fleur du Millay." I've read poetry with Thomas Brinson at readings of veterans' poetry & was glad he finally made it up here; his poem "Pop Pop Pop Ka-boom!" was about a 4th of July setting, Americans blowing up everyone else & memories of Viet Nam, then a sexy poem on the city full of beautiful bodies & a "dirty old man". Shaun Baxter was back again, just wrote a haiku on "Apocalypse Now," then "The Last Temptation of Darwin."

W.D. Clarke is the author of Soldier Ballads and Other Tales (Infinity Publishing.com). Many of his poems are based on his own & others experience in the military, such as "The Circumcision," based on a true story by a World War II vet; "Dustoff Crews" is a tribute to medivac crews in Viet Nam who rescued wounded soldiers, while "The Night time Army" is about being haunted by memories of being on "senseless missions." "McGowan's" is based on his relationship with his Grandpa, but about veterans too. Other poems from the book were "A Different Breed," "The Outsider", "The Gunfight" (at the OK Corral). Also the "tongue-in-cheek" poems, "Cigars & Women" & "The Pirate's Wife." One of Wayne's more humorous sub-themes was represented by the Viet Nam war based "The Company Shit Burner" & a poem not in his book, a meditation on outhouse construction, "The 2-Holer." His poems have a pleasant, homey old-fashioned story-telling quality, in the spirit (& form) of Robert Service & Rudyard Kipling, but in our more modern idiom, humorous & touching.

Every third Thursday at the Social Justice Center, 33 Central Ave., Albany, NY, always with a featured poet, but don't expect to read 2 poems the next time.