Through one reason or another the last time I was at Caffe Lena for the open mic was in February -- it was good to be back. Our host, Carol Graser, started us off with a reading of Muriel Rukeyser's poem "Boy with His Hair Cut Short" then on to the open mic.
Joe Mangini started us off with a piece about his Uncle Joe & a '41 Chrysler, then "My Voice Can't be Recorded" (at least how he hears it). I followed with a poem for May Day, "Crane Alley" then the wise-cracking "Mother's Day." Barbara Ungar made a rare open mic appearance with 2 poems for her father, the first inspired by tonight's featured poet Djelloul Marbrook, "The Book of Sand" then her "first & last pantoum," "Becoming My Father's Mother." Kate McNairy first poem, "George's Girl," was about an encounter at a gas station, then one about baseball, "The Harbinger of Spring." It was Nick's first time reading here & he did well with "I Can't Write a Poem About Paris," & "My Dreams Like White Mist."
Carol Graser returned us to the open mic with her fabulous working-class poem "Plastic Factory." Then Marilyn McCabe read a couple of (related?) poems, "The East Field" & "Eden, an Alternative Version." Barbara Garro gave us literal treatments of "Wild Stallions" & the Biblical tale of "Abraham & Isaac." I wondered if Carole Rossi Kenyon's poem "Graffiti Rant" (with its compelling phrase "secret zombie fortress") might be about Freud's Id? Charles Watts was funny tonight with a conversation on a plane, "A Poet," & his lament for fame "Why I Will Never…"
Debbie struggled with her laptop & the mic, but was able to get through a poem based on the screen names of friends, "Blushful Moon," & the quieter "Down by the Stream." Andrew Sullivan's one poem (did I miss the title or he not say it?) was based on a tennis tournament as a metaphor for love & life. Mary Eliza Crane had the award for coming the longest distance (from the State of Washington) & read the tender, funny "Dad's Pajamas." Ellen Finn read 2 historical poems from class assignments, "Little Rock Crises," & one on the 1974 - 1979 fight for bi-lingual education (now being dismantled).
Ah yes, with Emily XYZ's comment on poetry readings in our heads, we headed out the door & I, for one, hope to be back soon. It's every 1st Wednesday at the historic Caffé Lena on Phila St. in Saratoga Springs, NY, $3.00, bring some poems, & always a featured poet (or 2).