February 16, 2014

3rd Saturday Open Mic, February 15

I was invited to be the featured poet at this monthly open mic held on the 3rd Saturday of each month in the Unity Temple in Oak Park, Illinois by my good buddy, Charlie Rossiter. It was a most pleasant set-up, complete with an “ambiance committee” to serve refreshments, beer, wine, cookies, brownies & smiles. It was a completely open mic, not just for poets, but prose writers & musicians participating as well.

 First up were Tony & Rochelle Zappia with a short & sexy vignette, “Not Too Naughty,” combining an anniversary with images from Christmas & Valentines Day, complete with hugs & kisses. Sue Piha read a personal essay on getting a degree in Religious Studies, & the different reactions folks had to that. Patrick Keninger began with a nostalgic memoir, “History Lesson,” about growing up in the suburbs, then gave us a taste of some spirited blues harmonica. Jan J. read 2 poems about growing up on a farm, “What’s In Your Barn?” (her father decorated the beams in his barn with Playboy centerfolds), & “Roots & Boots.”

Ming Xiao was in town from California for a science convention, found his way to Unity Temple with his guitar to play & sing some blues improvisations. Our genial host, Charlie Rossiter, was next with 3 short poems from his latest chapbook Cold Mountain 2000: Han Shan in the City (Foothills Publishing 2014), then read the lyrics to a song he & his son Jack wrote, “Indifferent to History.” The last open mic performer was Paul S. with a prose memoir from his youth, about an high school lover, their brief time together while he was in the Air Force, titled “If I Go I Can’t Come Back.”

After a short break, a little wine & conversation, Charlie was back to introduce me. I read a mixed program of new (“Peacocks in the Driveway,” “Birthday 2014”) poems & older poems. I included a short sample selection from my chapbooks, Poeming the Prompt (A.P.D.) & a poem from a 2001 3 Guys from Albany visit to Chicago, “Said Again” from boundless abodes of Albany (Benevolent Bird Press, & now available as a Kindle download). A few more fun poems, then ended with “If Peace Broke Out Tomorrow” from Baghdad/Albany & other Peace Poems (A.P.D.) You’ll have to ask the audience if it was a “good reading,” but I certainly had fun doing it.  & I even sold some books!

The 3rd Saturday Coffee House is held each 3rd Saturday (duh!) a the Unity Temple, 875 Lake St., Oak Park, IL, an historic Frank Lloyd Wright building, 7:30 sign up, 8:00 open mic, $3.00 to $5.00 donation. Bring poems, bring prose, bring a guitar, or a harmonica. As Charlie says, “You can rant, you can chant, you can shout “get it out,” get it down, get it off, off your chest, off the page, share your mission, share your glory, share your vision, tell your story, take a moment in the sun, the mic is open!”

[More photos from this event at my Flickr! site.]

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