August 8, 2009

Poets Speak Loud!, July 27

There were only a few of us, including the featured poet, Rebecca Schumejda, gathered around the table with our host, Mary Panza, as the hour approached for the open mic, when the legendary Tour Bus arrived & plenty of poets streamed in.

Alan Catlin stepped boldly up first with a poem about "Climbers," a curious custom where people get into coffins with the dead, then another on a recent news story out of Schenectady, "Burning Amy." I read 2 poems for August, "And the Mary Lou Whitney you Rode in On..." & Tom Nattell's "Hiroshima." Don Levy's poem said, "If The School Bus is a Rockin' Don't Come a Knockin'," then read his new poem about a complaint someone made about his open mic at the GLCC, "The Poets Are Swearing..." Cheryl Rice paid tribute to the Walt Whitman birthday reading in May in "Song of Washington Park" -- thank you.

Kingston (NY) poet Rebecca Schumejda was the night's featured reader & began with a couple love poems to her husband from her 2008 book of poems, Falling Forward (Sunnyoutside). Then she turned to poems from a new collection, currently titled "Cadillac Men," about her experience owning a pool hall with her husband. The poems focus on vignettes about various "imaginary" characters who frequent such places, such as Mikey Meatball ("Table of Truth"), an ex-con called Aristotle ("Sober on a Snowy Day" & "Equestrian in the Car"), & Dee ("Going Out for Ice Cream"). Also, "These Men," "The Table Swallows Willy the Whale," "Pool Time," "Just Another Sunday Afternoon," & "Ten Winters & Counting." She racked them up & then ran the table. I'm looking forward to this book.

Joe Hollander's rambling "Certain Wind Directions Changes Not Written on the St. Lawrence" included the names of towns along the Seaway & ideas like Time is short, thinking is fun -- & so was the poem. Ford McLain read "Discipline" from his chapbook Antietam, then something based on a film script he is writing. Chris Brabham read 2 particular favorites of his (& ours), "Medicine Cabinet Junkie" & "That Ass of Hers," & later mentioned to me that he & Sabrina would be moving to Florida -- we will miss his booming presence.

Ed Rinaldi read a couple of morning bird poems, one with sea birds, the other with a crow. Shannon Shoemaker's "Poem for an Open Mic" was just written today, then she described, for those of us who are pop-culture challenged, what are "Emo Boys." RM Engelhardt's "Catharsis in 4 Parts" was another of his angst-ridden poems to a woman, his defense being writing, as he said, "this is what I do best..." You can find the poems Dominick Rizzo read, "The Coffin is Waiting" & "May I" in his book, The Spiral Staircase of My Life."

Then we paid our tabs, kissed our fabulous waitress, Nicole, good-bye (I wish!) & were on our way to write more poems to read back here again at Tess' Lark Tavern on the last Monday of each month, starting somewhere in the vicinity of 7:30/8:00. Come early & have dinner.