June 10, 2016

Poetic Vibe, May 23

I finally made it over to Troy for this weekly series at Troy Kitchen, which in itself is worth the trip. A large, open space, set up like a food court. There were 3 stalls open this night, not counting the ever-tempting bakery & candy counter, & a beer & wine bar. The seating is communal/mixed at black, stylish tables with fixed benches, like up-scale picnic tables, but, sadly, no bar-stools at the bar. The series’ host is poet D. Colin (Danielle), who began the night with a couple of her own poems, a free write hanging on the phrase “do you see me?” & a poem from her book Dreaming in Kreyol for her grandmother whom she never met.

The sign-up sheet for the open mic was a mix of some of the area’s experienced readers & first-timers. And #1 on the list was the night’s first virgin (pretty bold to sign up first), Michelle, with a piece about how she used to hate being black.

She was followed by Siobhan with a relationship poem “Plateau.” Ainsley’s first poem was on boys & the blood moon, then a poem about the presence of another in her life as a reminder of love & lost love. Joshua’s love poem was read way too fast, as was his free style performance. I followed with a poem-in-a-poem from last year, “McDonald’s with Love.” Somewhere along the line D. Colin started an “exquisite corpse” circulating among the poets & listeners who wanted to participate. Morgan Hayward was another virgin, with a piece titled “Dear Stan.”

The poet signed up as Arthur “Agony” began with a play on a Doors song “Writers of the Storm,” then “Almost a 1000 Words” which I think was. Slam-Mistress Amani did a piece she called a “coffee cup doodle” that was a meditation on black history & fantasy romance inspired by a subway ride. Croilot read a meditation on self-hatred, on being Haitian, light-skinned. Daniel Summerhill read 2 from his book Crafted, “Bastard Boy” & (from memory) “Ain’t We” (what do you mean you don’t have his book yet?). I hadn’t seen Bless Wize Words in a long time & miss his well-crafted poems in his deep bass voice; tonight a lush piece on soul food & its degradation in the market place.

Following the open mic there were 2 featured poets. The first, a local poet, Daniela Toosie Watson, who performed & read a series of moving poems springing directly from her growing up mixed Puerto Rican & Iranian, beginning with being in school not knowing English, “The Linguistics of Broken English.” Another piece was about her mother, then one on depression & redemption “Love Found Me.” She ended with an intense, personal poem on rape & sexual assault, “Name It Say It Any Way You Can.” A brave & moving performance, that moved Danielle to do a poem “in solidarity” before bringing up the 2nd featured reader.

The Slam performer “Rainmaker” (Peter Charles Seaton) has read in this area in the past, & he performs most of his work from memory. After a struggle with his first piece he did one about his Jamaican grandmother, then on to on war & politics, arms sales & fathers. Other poems included “To the Men Who Want to Make Love to My Woman,” an eco-/love poem, a narrative about groupies at a poetry reading (!), an affirmation poem from a workshop he gave, & a love poem about love as action.

Then, as a closing statement, Danielle read the collective poem, the exquisite corpse created by the audience & poets — wished I had a copy to share with you. Anyway, Poetic Vibe takes place each Monday in Troy, NY at Troy Kitchen, 77 Congress St., 7PM — poetry, food, beer, wine, chocolates, beautiful people, all the good things in life.

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