A house packed with many loyal fans of the featured poet, Carolee Sherwood, & loyal fans of the Caffe Lena open mic, under the stern direction of our host Carol Graser (well, not that stern, really).
I began the open mic with an old piece "Park Closes at Dusk" & the new, political "One Day Longer." Gordon Haymon began with 2 contrasting pieces, "Pseudo-Biography" & "Autobiography," then a memoir of his grandmother teaching him to knit. Barbara Garro admitted to a "villanelle binge" & read 2, "Staggering Information" & "This & That." This was Kevin Peterson's first time here & he recited (slam-style) "Sunday, Funday," a hangover tale set in a diner with last night's date. Kate McNairey read 2 short poems, "Love All Swept Up," & "Cameleon."
Carol Graser brought us back after the break with her poem for her father-in-law titled with a Yiddish phrase meaning "Cats in your head." Austen Halpern-Graser stood up to do comedy, but I liked his first joke best (about reading on the toilet). Will Kerber did an angry piece (about his sister?) "The Electra Complex" whose strangeness was matched by his sweater. Judith Prest (who will be among the features here in December 2011) read about a leaf falling ("Time Management"), then the equally timely "November Belongs to the Crows." The North Country poet Charles Watts began with the tiny "A Depressing Little Love Poem," then harkened back to both Alan Catlin & me with a poem about the Occupy movement, "Alien Nation." Josh McIntyre read 2 short poems, "Precipitant" (another with a reference to protestors), & "Convalescence" trying to write, a pen, a fire.
A group of the "Voorheesville" poets came up together & signed up together too. Father Dennis Sullivan wrote about following footsteps in the snow in a dream until they disappear in "This Apparition." Tom Corrado drew on his years as a State Work for the images in "Pencil Pusher." Mark Obeeduid O'Brien read 2 untitled poems about the sky. Mike Burke began with "Sunday Morning Visit" for a friend who died, then the portrait, "Reflections in a Bar-room Mirror." Alan Casline read a long fragment from a long poem, taking off (in a boat) from Ezra Pound's Canto I.
Ellen Finn was back after being away for a while with a chilling poem about a drowning she witnessed this summer, "After a Sneeze a Heart Stops." Jeff Barnes ended the night with a couple very intense poems, the very short "Fade to Grey," & a lyric to a love gone.
Poets from far & near gathered this night at Caffe Lena, as they do every 1st Wednesday of the month, at the historic Phila St. location in Saratoga Springs, NY. Worth the trip.