June 30, 2015

Third Thursday Poetry Night, June 18

Unfortunately our scheduled featured poet for this night, Mike Jurkovic, had to cancel, but the upside was that everyone in the open mic was the feature — poets could read twice as many poems as they normally could at this monthly reading at the Social Justice Center. But before the Albany poets came up to read I celebrated the recent appointment of Juan Felipe Herrera as the new Poet Laureate of the USA, then invoked the Muse in the person of Carlos Cortez (1923 - 2005) by reading his poem “Crystal-Gazing the Amber Fluid.”

Sylvia Barnard was the first poet up with a poem from many years ago to her daughter  “Goodbye Poem,” then another recent one about her daughter dancing to the music of Andy Bell “Shiobhan in Washington Park.” Sally Rhoades read poems written in April & May this year, beginning with “A Quake at Midnight” written April 19, then “I Returned Back into Spring.” Joe Krausman followed with  “Independence Day” a funny piece about the legal after-effects of a picnic, then the philosophical “10 Reflections on the Nature of Things.”

Jessica Rae read an intense piece about an unpleasant college encounter “Space Invader,” & an old poem remembering a “Hot Summer Night.” The first poem Don Levy read tonight was about sports & his Dad “Jock,” then “At the Cellphone Store” about his struggle to get his phone fixed. Brian Dorn responded to the Pope’s comments on the environment with “The Ends of the Earth” & on having too much stuff, then a yearning poem “Wait for Me.”

Malcolm Willison was back after a hiatus with a long descriptive poem about a visit to the Vietnam monuments in Washington, DC “Memorial.” Karen Fabiane read “Now Morning” like stream-of-consciousness musings over coffee, & another piece in a similar vein about a conversation with a past lover over whisky “Real Gone.” I was the final reader for the night, with 2 short poems, the first playing on the names of streets “In My Neighborhood,” the last poem bounced off other poems “Contra Li Bai.”

At a couple points during the night random folk from the street wandered in.  One sat for a while & was quietly talking to himself, then as he got louder & I approached him he got up & stepped outside.  I asked if he was OK & he asked me for change; I gave him a dollar; he seemed fine after that.  Another wandered in to quietly lean against the wall, listened for a while, then left, muttering, "Oh, it's poetry..."  Such is Life on Central Ave.

Usually there is a featured poet on the third Thursday here at the Social Justice Center, 33 Central Ave., & there are always community poets willing to read in the open mic, starting at 7:30PM, just a modest donation to support poetry programming & the Social Justice Center.

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