August 23, 2015

Third Thursday Poetry Night, August 20

The mythical Tour Bus got lost tonight, with its load of poets & listeners & never made it, but those of us who were at the Social Justice Center for the featured poet, Michael Platsky, or to read our own poetry, or simply stumbled in from wandering The Avenue, had a pleasant, brief night of poetry. Tonight’s Muse, both in poetry & music was Sun Ra. I recently bought the 2011 Kicks Books edition of This Planet is Doomed: the Science Fiction Poetry of Sun Ra, & read from it tonight his poem “this universe is endless.”

The open mic was one of the shortest on record, with Brian Dorn doing 2 poems from his new collection From My Poems to Yours (The Live Versions) (Shires Press, 2015), described as “an endless book of rhyming poetry,” the poems chosen by audience members calling out random numbers for pages, first page 69 “Freedom’s Name,” then page 42, “Round and Round.” I had brought only 1 poem, something written a number of years ago for the first time I read at the Altamont Fair, an annual series started by the late William Robert Foltin, my urban response “Altamont Fair Poem.”

The featured poet, Michael Platsky, runs the weekly (on Mondays) open mic at the Harmony Cafe in Woodstock, NY where I have had the honor of being the featured poet a few times. His poetry follows in the Beat footsteps of childhood pissing-buddy Allen Ginsberg. Evoking Brooklyn his first poem was “Astroland” in Coney Island, a rambling memoir, then on to the elegiac “Letter to Ginsberg.” “Body at Rest” was a recent expansive portrait of the Port Authority in NYC. Another elegy was “88 Days” about his Dad’s ashes, recalling the history of their relationship, visiting the Baseball Hall of Fame, the White Mountains, basketball courts of Brooklyn & his Monte Carlo. “America 2011” was a look back to Ginsberg’s poem “America” & was written in response to Occupy Wall St. & first read in Zuccotti Park. He closed out, appropriately enough, pondering Death, again, “The Real Question.”

No matter how big (or small) the audience, we are here each third Thursday at the Social Justice Center, 33 Central Ave., Albany, NY, 7:30 for a donation that helps pay the featured poet, supports other poetry programs & the Social Justice Center — bring a poem for the open mic.

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