April 5, 2015

Poets Speak Loud!, March 30

It was the last Monday in March & so on to McGeary’s for the monthly Poets Speak Loud!, with Mary Panza as our commanding host.

Poet & Professor Barbara Ungar was the featured reader, but because she is also a single Mom & had to pick up her son, she read first before any open mic poets. Once again she read from her new book Immortal Medusa (see my earlier Blog of a reading in Saratoga Springs with Nancy White & Lean Umansky).  She began with “Hearing Test” which she performed on the audience ("what?"), then read “Lost Hat Karma,” "Rosh Hosannah 5771” & a poem on Geronimo’s actual name. The poem “Blue Whale” was about being at the Natural History Museum with her son, & more. “Bashō Was a Ninga” & “Ode to a Porcupine” were next, followed by 2 humorous poems from her experience teaching, one where a student stretches to compare Emily Dickinson to Lady Gaga, & another based on a slip of the tongue (so to speak), “Athena’s Blow Job.” “Ode to Tardigrades” was about those strange micro-animals in your garden, & was that somehow connected to her poem “Practical Mystic,” & even to “Why I’d Rather Be a Seahorse”? She ended with the mystic & humorous “Kabbala Barbie.” Barbara gives a good reading, relaxed, conversational with touches of self-effacing humor.

Then on to the open mic, with me as the first up, I read “Lilith at Bloomingdales” for Barbara (who has a few midrashic poems herself), then “Coyote 2” in a desperate attempt to sell more copies of my new chapbook. Sylvia Barnard followed to talk about friends her age dying, then read a poem about a friend from 1st grade who died recently, wondering about what her life was like. Don Levy had us laughing with a poem about a sex-education film in high school, “50 Shades of Vomit,” then read about “Hot Dudes Reading” on the bus. Sally Rhoades said this was the 25th anniversary of her first reading at an open mic, at the QE2, sent there by her late friend Nur Cheyenne, & in tribute read Nur’s poem “Pond Skin,” then one of her own, the tender mediation on her becoming a poet “The Sky is My Witness.”

Adam Tedesco’s first poem “Celesticide” had me thinking of seeking the Light from a sheet of acid, then on to the future-before-us in his poem “Open Sun, or Amazing Spiritual Power.” Joe Krausman read 2 poems about dresses (fortunately he was not wearing one), “My Mother’s Wedding Dress” then the stunning poem about Marilyn Monroe’s dress & what things are worth. R.M. Engelhardt made a most rare appearance & showed that he was still writing poems about God, with “God Says” & one on reincarnation “In a Hundred Years.”

A new face & voice here Lisa St. John read from her chapbook a portrait of an old man & a dog “Nova Scotia,” then a poem appearing in the online literary journal Misfit “Dinner.”  Samson Dikeman’s first poem was an intriguing exploration of family history, going back to when this place was Ft. Orange, & another crazy poet, then to a poem appearing in the forthcoming Up The River “Things to Do in a Sonnet” (dedicated to that sonnettear Ted Berrigan). Julie Lomoe, commenting upon our ever-changing weather, read her poem “Bi-Polar Gaia” (she should know). Kevin Peterson closed out the night with a piece about his brother getting drunk on his last day before going to jail, then the twilit “Not Yet Napping.”

Poets Speak Loud! (& they do) is every last Monday of the month at McGeary’s down on Sheridan Square in Albany, NY, 7:30PM — featured poet, open mic poets, great food, drinks, efficient & beautiful waitresses, what more could you want?  Peace in the world?

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