A small crowd tonight at the Social Justice Center (where was that tour bus?), but the "hard-core" was there & got to read 2 poems for a change, & to enjoy The Storm -- not the weather which was pretty nice, but tonight's featured poet. & in honor of the Split this Rock Poetry Festival I invoked the Muse of Langston Hughes, reading his poems "Goodbye Christ" & "Big Buddy".
Alan Catlin claimed the #1 spot again with a poem about a Zombie gathering at the bar, "The Circle of Death," then what he called "an imaginary Lark St. poem." Rod Aldrich's only poem was about poetry or rather losing his poems, "I Leak Poetry." Sylvia Barnard brought a painting she had done & written a poem about, "Painting Flowers;" then she dug up another short poem from her bag, about being in Cyprus when the border was opened.
Don Levy's new poem was on the closing of the local YMCA, "Sweating with the Oldie" working out with the mayor, & his old poem, "Je Adore You, Je Can't Get Enough," was from his chapbook of gay fantasy poems How Small Was My Big Eden. Bless recited from memory his poem beginning "I am on the outside of Life looking in…" on how "the pen & the pad are my only true friend."
Moses Kash III read poems that were typed up because, he said, he can "hardly read" his own writing; his first poem "Black Babies" is a favorite despite its grim vision, while his second poem, "Hera's Children," is more hopeful, about "tolerating the madness" to survive. I ended the open mic with my recent piece, "Split this Rock Dream Poem" (posted earlier on this Blog).
Our featured poet, The Storm, began with poems on personal relationships, some based on friends: "I'm Sorry" was a monologue by a beaten woman from beyond the grave, piling up rhymes in "Slaves of the DSS" & looking back to the early, better days of a relationship in "Do You Still Love Me?" Another poem was a meditation on racial put-downs, about changing one "cotton field" for another. Other poems were more about the interior life, what makes a woman a "queen" in "Inspiration," then playing with rhymes in "Image" (of ourselves); & Death follows "A Woman in her Prime." She ended with a poem beginning with trying to unwind at the end of the day, confusion in her mind, then finding solace as she revels in the many roles she plays in her family & her life.
But that was not the end because Mojavi arrived late & I asked him to take us out with something, a poem he pulled up (oh the wonders of technology) on his blackberry, "Life & Times of Pep Roundtree," another image of hope in struggle.
Every third Thursday, 7:30 PM, here at the Social Justice Center, 33 Central Ave., Albany, NY, an open mic with a featured reader -- come & find out who shows up.