October 23, 2014

Third Thursday Poetry Night, October 16

It seems the fabled tour bus was unable to find a parking space, but a few poets arrived by city bus, by car, & by foot. & with a short sign-up poets were even allowed to read 2 poems, & a few did.

I invoked the Muse by reading a poem from his memoir, Courage, Coward, Courage!! Steps Along the Way, by activist/union organizer Ed Bloch, who left us in August; Ed had read once here in July 2010.

First up to the mic was Alan Catlin with a couple poems, or rather 1 poem in 2 parts “Twilight of the Gods” about the hell of war, then part 2 about the grim aftermath for the warriors. Jamey Stevenson had spent some time working in Scotland, read “Dundee Dismantled” then “Pulp” an angst-ridden rhyme.

BK was a new face & voice & read poems on the evening’s continuing theme of war, the first poem about being a refugee learning English “ESL Lesson,” then read a “dirty poem” about learning about sex as a youth. Sylvia Barnard had only brought one poem, just written today, about her late mother, “Learning Greek” & referencing Homer’s Odyssey. It’s getting too dark to play golf in the evening so Anthony Bernini stopped by to read a poem about love “Letters of Young Lady Bird & Lyndon” based on early letters between President Johnson & his future wife. I ended the open mic with a new poem, that I dedicated to the memory of Ed Bloch, “A.J. Muste.”

Tonight’s featured poet, Elaine Cohen, is the author of the biography, Unfinished Dream: The Musical World of Red Callender & of a poetry chapbook, Solita: A Sojourn in Mexico, which she read from. “Journeying,” the first poem in the book, is about a bus trip to Oaxaca, the trip continuing with “Land of Shining Clouds.” “La Noche De Los Rabanos” (The Night of the Radishes) continues the description & her broken heart. “Mornings” is in the grand tradition of morning songs, then “Uprising” was on the night’s theme of war, then the heat of May in “Monte Alban,” & the charming title poem “Solita” (which is read to a jazz orchestra on Alan Chan’s CD Shrimp Tale).  Then on to a manuscript “Snapshots from a Family Album,” a piece about her grandmother’s funeral “First Loss,” a biography of her mother “Snapshots of Miriam 1910 - 2005,” going through her mother’s things with her sister “Legacy,” & ending with a whirling poem from a workshop “A Stranger in the Mirror.” Elaine & I exchanged poems & letters many, many years ago & I’m pleased that we have met again & again exchange poems.

The Poetry Night at the Social Justice Center takes place on the third Thursday of each month, with a featured poet & an open mic before & after the feature — 7:00PM sign-up, 7:30PM start, $3.00 donation.

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