Our host, Carol Graser, began with invoking the Muse, reading a poem by the Polish poet Czesław Miłosz (1911 - 2004).
Rodney was the first of the (live) open mic poets with a new poem that reminded him of an old "micro-book" of his, then on to another philosophical piece on manifestations. Alan Catlin mixed his professional career as a bartender with personal recollections, the first poem "Hell on Wheels" (aka Helen Wheels), the second, a downward trajectory "From Bubbles to Bag Lady." Ellen Finn read a stunning poem playing on nursery rhymes, "What If the Sky Could Talk." Carl began with a short, concrete love poem, then another concrete poem, this a children's tale.
Historiopticon, which he described as being about American history & time travel. His re-telling of moments in American history began with a series of poems, including a villanelle, heavy on Indian wars & tomahawks. His sorties into more recent times included poems about the Kinsey Reports, World War I & Armistice Day, on suicide as a result of attacks on gays, & the sinking of the Titanic. While he is touted on his Sensations Magazine website to be a "performance poet" his reading tonight was quite stiff, with stylized, theatrical gestures attempting to bring some life into tedious material.
Continuing on the open mic, Carol Graser read her poem about "Price Chopper." Joe Krausman read a poem about mis-placing his life with his eyeglasses, then another poem in which he combined a "Jungian hat" with a "Freudian slip." W.D. Clarke followed with a rhymed ballad about someone being buried in a refrigerator, "The Fancy Casket."
Andrew Sullivan's poem "Hope Killed the Hopeful" was inspired by seeing the recent movie version of F. Scott Fitzgerald's The Great Gatsby. Jesse Muse recited 2 Slam poems, both based on drug experiences. Wayne said it was his first time reading, that he has been writing since 2003, & that he has published 1 book, with another about to come out; the poems he read were rhymed pieces, the first titled "Prevailing Darkness," the other about a suicide prevented by friends. Lisa read the long poem by Langston Hughes, "Let America Be America Again." Bringing up the rear was Barbara Garro with 2 prose pieces, "March of Times" & the tentatively titled "Fears' Mental Enslavement."
This series has been going on at Caffe Lena on the 1st Wednesday of each month for over 10 years -- an open mic for poets, with a featured reader, just $5.00.