March 30, 2017

Poets Speak Loud!, March 27

This was a record-setting night with the most poets ever signed up for the open mic, according to host & ring-mistress Mary Panza, 21 at my count, not counting the 3 poets who read as the Reality Beach feature. Indeed it was a long night, with some readers having no idea of limits, of the old vaudeville rule axiom to “leave them wanting for more.” In any event, it was also an example of the variety of creative writers that live & write in Capital District.

First up on the open mic list was a stalwart of the open mics, Joe Krausman, who began with a poem about a summer job as a student “Riding Shotgun for Wells Fargo,” then a bit of apartment life “My Neighbor’s Parrot.” Carol Graser is the host of the open mic on the 1st Wednesday of each month at Caffè Lena & read 2 poems, “Health Insurance Addresses Her Supplents, then the chant-like "What Child Tuesday."  Mark O'Brien said he had read “It is In the Shelter of Each Other that People Live” a long title for an proportionally long poem, the last time he was here, then a Haibun from his Blog.

Nancy Dunlop described her first poem as “a real bummer” trying to show what a flashback from PTSD is like “Moving Picture Show,” then a less heavy piece based on a Polaroid photo from her youth “What the Sand Cannot Know.” Tess Lecuyer celebrated the Winter sounds in “Ice Boom Lake Jazz,” then to a poem about “Spring Trees.” I read 2 poems from my new, continuing series “What Makes America Great” (True Stories of the Trump Era) #87 & #102. Alan Casline read just one poem, a herald of Spring “With a New Crescent Moon.” Dawn Marar read a piece about Robert Mapplethorpe “Still Life.” Frank Robinson looked to the past “When I Was a Kid America Was Like Africa.”

The feature tonight was the poetry journal Reality Beach with Editor/Founder Adam Tedesco serving as host. First of the readers was Michael Peters, who responded to Julie Lomoe’s crank that she couldn’t hear him by moving closer to her, which was perhaps better than any of his poems. Then he fiddled with his smart phone to bring up a recording of the Rosary to accompany his reading. He read from a series titled “Oh Beautiful Death” a long selection of hallucinogenic pieces, like watching a David Cronenberg movie — post-apocalyptic, often bombastic & filled with dystopian pop images. My favorite phrase was “like Mother Jones on the half-shell,” mixing Botticelli, Thomas Pynchon & progressive news magazines.

The second batter for Reality Beach was Kenyatta J.P. Garcia. He read a seemingly unending string of untitled pieces from a spiral notebook that seemed to be attempts at avoiding meaning, but somehow some modicum of sense kept creeping back into his jottings. Just when you thought it was over, he went into his last poem, an anaphoric piece with the phrase “I blame it on the thaw…” that went nearly as long as the rest of his reading. If only he had just read that. I wrote it off as practice for the upcoming Readings Against the End of the World.

Editor-in-Chief Adam Tedesco read last, from the floor no less, where he had dumped his poems, where he began by imagining grandmas (that Mary picked up on for the running theme for the rest of the night). Adam also played music from his poem, different musical pieces for different poems, to accompany what he read. You can check out Reality Beach online.

Thérèse Broderick read a poem inspired by shopping at her neighborhood Market 32, a cross-cultural “Errands with Strangers.”

A new face & voice, Garrett McCluskey had a string of very short poems, which engendered a discussion on the bending of the rules with Mary; the poems were aphoristic plays on words & rhymes. When Sylvia Barnard attempted to get up to read, Garrett was kind enough to help her to her feet, which Mary couldn’t let go of for the rest of the night, but he was a good sport with all the teasing about him liking older women; Sylvia’s “Lisbon” was about having a cold in Portugal, & her second poem was for a friend who had died recently.

Another new face, a first-timer everywhere, Danielle LaRose, read a pleasing poem “Sheep in the Storm.” Carrie Czwakiel began with a poem just written at work & tired, then to a ghost story, “The Bridge,” that she began when she was 17 years old & finished recently at 30. Karen Fabiane tried out 2 new poems, “Even Without Grace” & “Peeling” incorporating Debussy’s tone poem La Mer, fellow poets & the Quran. Julie Lomoe read 2 pieces that basically ran together (one would have sufficed) about her obsession with online jigsaw puzzles (who knew?). Her partner, Rob Smith, followed with a the beginning of a para-normal novella about Anders the Ghost invading a host.

Sally Rhoades began with a New York City based poem “Winter Still Holding On,” then another place-based poem, this in far-Upstate New York & her Native heritage “Quiet in My Thoughts.” Doug Rothschild made a rare appearance at a community open mic to take off his shirt for the drive-by joke “Thursday’s Poem.”

Avery lived up to his reputation by gracing us with a happy dance to his just-written poem to Tess’ backroom where we all were just now. Jim helped break the record for open mic readers with 2 poems on the death of his father.

Will they do it again? Show up on the last Monday of the month at McGeary’s Irish Bar on Sheridan Square, in Albany, near Melville’s boyhood home, with a poem or 2 — details at


Anonymous said...

from Therese L. Broderick -- top-notch recap of McGeary's, Dan. Your blog entries are little masterpieces.

Garrett McCluskey said...

Garrett McCluskey*

leang heng said...

Good post!!