August 4, 2010

Albany Poets Present!, August 3

At the moist Tropic of Valentines, with our host Thom (el presidente) Francis, some new poets, some regulars & some erstwhile regulars, even some "real audience" (just came to listen, not read). But this reading is going to the dogs.

Black Titanium was a new face, with powerful recited/free-style pieces, the first with spooky images of people beamed up from 145th Street in NYC to upstate Correctional facilities that seemed to run out of gas rather than stop, then a more romantic piece on his vision of a Mystery Lady, ending with the powerful flash-back, "Black Panther." I had the task of following him, with the old poem "Physics" (for Bern Porter, & for the 65th anniversary of the bombing of Hiroshima), then the recent "Poeming." Avery read 2 poems that I said later were the first I've heard on the topic of mosh-pits, "Driven by the Crunch" (with its yoga terminology) & "Love in the Pit," both generating conversation later at the bar.

I had run into "Screamer" hanging outside the bar, nice to see her back at the open mics after years, & she read from her notebook, "Dog is my Co-Pilot," an homage to her dog (that Lilly particularly loved), then on to the prosaic rant, "How I Feel About Marriage" (me too Amy, & I've been there twice!).
 Still another new poet, who was sitting, sweating at his laptop before coming up, Joe Maggio, started with a poem about his grandparents loving arguing, then on to a poem from his days as a social worker, "We're All Children Aren't We?" and ended with a philosophical discussion with a wild dog in "A Friend Well-Made."

Clearly the night was going quickly to the dogs, & all these dog poems were too much for Lilly who was compelled to take the stage to perform what I an only surmise to be her perplexed dog version of people's dog poems, at least that was my interpretation. Keith Spencer followed with "The Lion Sleeps," an older, quieter lion now than the version The Tokens made famous. Thom Francis thought he was ending the night with a reprise of the poem he read at Keith's open mic last month, "Paper Messiah…"

Then as we were congratulating ourselves on a reading-well-done, up pops Chris Rizzo, just back from the huge Boston Tea Party reading with an untitled series of non-sequiturs, with the memorable repeated line, "Never trust a woman named Portia." Quite a night of dog (& non-dog) poetry.

Every 2nd Tuesday at Valentines on New Scotland Ave., in Albany, 8PM, sometimes it's real, sometimes it's less-than (or more-than) real. Whatever.

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