May 21, 2016

Third Thursday Poetry Night, May 19

I like to start each of these events with an invocation of the Muse, some gone poet who could not be here with us, & this year the newly dead poets are piling up way too fast. Tonight our Muse was Upstate New York’s own Maurice Kenny (1929 - 2016). I read “Molly” from his 1992 history-in-poetry, Tekonwatonti/Molly Brant (1735 - 1795): Poems of War.

On to the open mic, Alan Catlin was first with the last thing he wrote, a grim cocktail poem, “Blue Bottles for a Blue Lady” (a "Phillip’s Screwdriver)". Philomena Moriarty was next with a poem now titled “Flip-Flopping Joe” so she could enter it in a contest on poems about “Joe.” Bob Sharkey also read the last thing he wrote, “800 Meters,” appropriately enough for tonight’s Corporate Run, about runners.

The first of the night’s new voices was Prinze Divine Allah, “a divine rapper,” who did his piece “Divine Inspiration” accompanied by a neat, little wireless speaker. Don Levy’s poetic social commentary tonight was about intolerance within the gay community “No Fats No Fems.”

Tonight’s featured poet was the Hudson Valley’s own Mike Jurkovic, who has a new book of poetry out, smitten by harpies (Lion Autumn Music Publishers, 2016), complete with photos from Occupy Wall St. & an introduction by “Miss” Cheryl A. Rice. He began with a free-flowing ramble on music, then on to a couple of new poems “Still Life with Mandolin” (the first of a number about being stoned), & “Don’t Kick the Buddha.” Then on to poems from smitten by harpies, starting with the opening poem “Two Wives Ago,” then “Two Doors Down” a collaboration with Will Nixon, “Screaming Jay Hawkins and Me in Our Prime” his reading of this, & most of his other poems as well, as over-the-top as Hawkins himself. One of his “greatest hits” was the traffic-jam poem “Tell Them, My Love,” then another stoner piece about a quality control guy for medicinal marijuana, & a poem about “Half Shitty Days.” “Yearbook” was about sex with Robert Frost’s granddaughter (perhaps), & some poems read without titles, like “irony,” & “Neighbor of Alleged Bomber.” “My Fifth Minute” was an open mic poem, then a poem on meditation “The Great Movie Begins.” He ended with 2, a new piece “Breathing Machine,” & a stoner fantasy memoir from the book, “the halos in her glasses.” His poems are gritty, read with energy, & humor. During the break he sold a bunch a books & pledged to donate a portion of the proceeds to the Bernie Sanders’ campaign.

After the break, I took us back to the open mic with a recent poem, “Another Holy Thursday.”

Carole Rossi talked about having her hear broken “really bad” & put together a lament with a melody to make “a country song” which she sang in her saddest Nashville voice. Sylvia Barnard read a new poem about her travels, from 70 years ago to now, with a reference to a rumble-seat in her mother’s car. Next month’s featured poet, Karen Fabiane, gave us a taste with a 1973 poem, “Editorial” with its references to newspapers & other anachronisms. Our last poet was also one of the night’s new voices, “Bear” also known as George, read “Star Salvation” then slipped in another piece of philosophizing “The Moon in the Night.”

The Third Thursday Poetry Night happens each month on (duh!) the third Thursday, at the Social Justice Center, 33 Central Ave., Albany, NY, 7:30PM — a featured poet & an open mic for a modest (or extravagant) donation that supports the featured poet, the SJC & poetry events in the community.

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