July 4, 2014

Poets Speak Loud!, June 30

It was the last Monday of the month so I headed back down to McGeary’s for happy hour, dinner & the poetry open mic.  Tonight: 2! Count ‘em 2! Featured poets: Pat Irish & Samson Dikeman. Sweet Melissa took care of all of our drink & food orders & host Mary Panza took care of the rest of it.

For the open mic I was up first with a new piece that I read for Samson “The Sestina Sestina.” Sylvia Barnard followed with a childhood memoir “House Spot” then a brand-new piece from Willett Street “The Dead Tree.” Brian Dorn read his anti-war poem “Out of Wack” then a love poem “Suspended in Time.” Cheryl A. Rice read 2 poems for Michael (because he wasn’t here), “Aquarium” & “I Was You Were.”

The first of the night’s double feature was Pat Irish who read the lyrics to his rock opera “The Front Desk.” The piece consists of 24 songs covering the course of a shift at a hotel. Pat had performed the piece with guitarist Nick Bisanz back in April at Pauley’s Hotel as part of the Albany WordFest.  While the words & images are compelling, humorous at times, like most song lyrics the are somewhat banal & flat without the music to carry them along. Let’s hope that Pat & Nick can find other venues to perform this work as it should be.

Tess Lecuyer continued the open mic with “Sonnet for a Watercolor” from 2003, then a new poem about a conversation, about a camera & the Moon. It was good to see Jan Tramontano back from Florida; she read 2 poems about the birth of a grandson, “Matrushka Dolls,” & “Anticipation” with its scenes from New York City in the 9th month. Avery read an upbeat sermon (written today he said), “Be Good to Your Family” (I’m waiting for him & P.V. to open the Church of the Feel Good Positively Positive).

Samson Dikeman filled the house with his family & friends for his featured reading. He read a mix of newer & older poems, starting with the new “Always Something Left Behind,” then a road poem for Jacky K. “Both Hands on the Wheel,” & one of his “oldest” poems “Breakfast in California.” “Check Out Line” is something we have all been in, sort of, & “Fruit Salad Concerto” was a tribute to John Cage. “Shut Up & Kiss Me” was just that, “Suburban Frenzy” was a brand-new poem, then he ended with “The Future is Just the Other Side of a Hill.” I continue to look forward to Samson’s work, & to beating him again at the Slam.

Mike Jurkovic was Cheryl’s chauffeur up here from the mid-Hudson area, & apparently is “Pat Irish’s idol;” he read about listening to the voices on his “Ear-buds,” then a favorite poetic topic “Irony.” Emily Gonzalez’s poem “Exile” was about moving from the noise of the ocean to the quiet of the River, then she read about seeing a “Great Blue Heron.” Adam Tedesco began with a grim portrait kind of poem, then read about driving fast “Popular Mechanics, or They’re At it Again.” Steven Minchin read a poem about an encounter outside a GAP, then the family picture “Pulsing Juxtaposed Kin.” Aron (Algorhythm) came in late & ended up last on the list with a philosophical meandering about the meaning of Life, written today.

This is what we do on the last Monday of the month at McGeary’s on Clinton Square in Albany, NY, sponsored by AlbanyPoets.com — it’s not just poetry —

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