September 20, 2016

Harmony Cafe, September 12

Once again Michael Platsky, the host of this weekly event, invited me back to be a featured poet here among the poets & players of Woodstock. Michael began the night with a reading of his poem “Ashes Not Dust” to Woodstock habitué Roxie Dawn.

Alison Koffler, one of the fine Woodstock poets, tonight read a poem based on the seasonal tale of Persephone “Koré Yet Again.” Cheryl Rice’s moving poem about 9/11 & what we can do to make the world better, “Morning Prayers,” can be found on her FaceBook page. Donald Lev is the patriarch of the poetry scene, former editor & publisher (with the late Enid Dame) of Home Planet News, & has a regular spot here on the open mic list as #4, but tonight no one signed up to be #1. His poems were characteristically wry, short & quotidian, “What It Is” (a nose), “Listening to Old Music,” “Conundrum” (what day is it?), “Accessibility” about the NY Daily News,” “On the Destruction of the World Trade Center,” & “Wheels.”

So that is what I had to follow as the featured poet. I began & ended with political poems (respectively “When Donald Trump Farts” & “If Peace Broke Out Tomorrow”) with “Another Tuesday” about the coup against Salvatore Allende & the aftermath of the destruction of the WTC thrown in, & lighter poems in between, such as the recent “Finding Pokémon” & poems from Gloucester Notes (FootHills Publishing, 2015).

Leslie Gerber followed with a piece about elks in heat (“Definitive”) then a series in some sort of a Korean form on “freestate love” & a poem by the dead Polish poet Wislawa Szymborska. Lenny Brown read some historical poems, “Stephan the Dissenter,” “Tsunami Fukushima” & one on Robin Hood. Quintessentially Woodstock Pamela Twining invoked football for a poem on death (“Touchdown”) then a childhood memoir poem titled “Tom Boy” about learning about sex.

Post Traumatic Press publisher Dayl Wise began with a political poem about drones, then on to “Savanna Georgia” in the persona of a person in the slave market, & ended with a poem titled “A Father’s Responsibility.” Rich Rhinehart did a piece in hip hop rhyme wondering who he is… Philip Gurrieri struck a shaman pose speaking into his stick for a free-style rant with biblical references that turned 2 audience members into toads (by mistake, I'm sure). Woodstock icon Andy Clausen bounced off one of my themes with a piece on the coup in Chile “A Be-Bop Bill," & a Burroughs-style routine.

The last reader was the very tentative Laurel Manley with the wonderfully tender “Exodus” & “Light Year Time.”

I don’t know how Michael Platsky does this Monday after Monday at the Harmony Cafe (at the Wok’n’Roll on Mill Hill Rd.) in Woodstock at 8PM — a featured poet & a spirited Woodstock-style open mic — please be generous to support the featured reader.

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