February 3, 2017
Poets Speak Loud! — The Tom Nattell Memorial Open Mic, January 30
Mary Panza, the usual host, introduced me as tonight’s host & this year it was the very first time that Charlie Rossiter, fellow member of 3 Guys from Albany with Tom & me, had joined the celebration. Charlie had been living in Chicago at the time Tom died & only recently moved back to the Northeast. Tonight he was here with us. I began with a 3 Guys from Albany intro with Charlie (& Tom) & read my poem to him “Theology 101.”
It was a mix of young & old poets, many of whom had known Tom, & yet a number who never knew him, but are now partaking of the legacy he created for the poets of Albany. Carrie Czwakiel is one of those poets in the latter category, began with what she described as her 1st rhyming poem in years, on recovering from suffering, then another in the same vein “Perspective.”
Housewife Tuesday on AlbanyPoets.com “Shit Show.” Nancy Dunlop read a poem dedicated to her husband’s good advice “Flaying into Walls,” then “The Sentence Snatcher” which she said was about alternate facts & that she dedicated to Tom Nattell. Sally Rhoades read a couple poems scented with politics, “Aghast at a World Lit Up by Protest” & “Flamingoes in Cyprus” inspired by a rare snowfall there.
Karen Fabiane read 2 poems “honoring Donald Trump,” “Grizzlies at the Door” & “Not My President.” I read a brief scatological poem Tom had sent me on a postcard from Utah. Joe Krausman waxed grimly philosophical with “Freak Accident” then a poem with a funny take on the amenities of jail “Freedom.” Julie Lomoe wore a pink Planned Parenthood scarf as a hijab & read a poem written afternoon “Donald the Bantam Rooster Speaks His Mind.”
Charlie Rossiter & I did one of the last performance pieces Tom wrote, “I Beat My Drum,” then we gave Tom the last word with a recording of him performing his proto-eco-poem “Save It.” As Tom said, “Stardust is Us” & his spirit not only lingers on, but thrives!
Meanwhile, Poets Speak Loud! continues each last Monday of the month at McGeary’s on Sheridan Square in Albany, 7:30PM, a featured poet & an open mic for the rest of us.