September 10, 2011

Caffè Lena Open Mic, September 7

The horses (& the horses asses*, at least most of them) have left Saratoga Springs, so it was safe to go back to Phila St. to Caffe Lena for the monthly open mic, hosted by Carol Graser. She started the night with May Swenson's incredible poem about waves, an impossible poetic goal to which to aspire.

Someone had left the first open mic slot blank so I ended up there, with an old poem, "Photo at the QE2, 1991" then the 9/11/01 inspired "Leaving New York." Carolee Sherwood had followed me up from Albany & followed me on the list with a poem containing Albany's Tulip Festival & the assassination of Osama bin Laden, "Do Not Be Startled," then "Plane Twilight" (or is it "Plain Twilight"?). After hearing Barbara Garro's 2 poems, "Dams" & "Learning to Love," I'm not sure who is happier, her dog or her ex-husbands. With a 2 poem limit, Kate McNairy had 3 "short" poems, "Deer," "The Bag of Bones," & "Crows."

The featured poet, actually a filling-in, was Carol Kenyon, who is a regular at this venue & such loyalty well deserves the feature slot. She read a variety of poems, opening with a series of short ones, then moving into some longer works. She dealt with getting older, & writing ("What Joy Writing"), the seasons (the Spring-time sonnet "Thrill" & the rhyming "Summer's Last Kiss"), & food (the revenge of the tuna in "Tyrant's Fish Tale" & a poem on Cheez Whiz). Her most daring, engaging work were a couple poems about being a woman, "Hormonal Sidelights" (or, as she glossed it, "female therapy"), & the lush, psychedelic female fantasy of "Big Rock Candy Condo." She concluded with a short line chant, complete with toe-tapping & finger-snapping, "Dream Scape 1" ending on the word "gone." It was good to hear such a big chunk of her various work.

After the break, Carol Graser continued the open mic with her poem "The Struggle to Return Home." Todd Fabozzi did a couple poems from memory, the same ones from the last open mic at McGeary's, "The Couple" & "No Matter What Kind of Love" (that title was mangled in my report on the reading at McGeary's -- sorry). Marilyn McCabe said this was her first time reading from her new book Rugged Means of Grace published recently by Finishing Line Press, but she didn't have any copies with her to sell. She read a poem about singing at Caffè Lena, "Open Wide," & another poem, "Consumed." Charles Watts read 2 pretty intense (in different ways) poems, "Missing My Daughter's Wedding," & "How to Keep Deer Away from the Garden."

Bob's poem was about a visit to his therapist, "Prescription for Stolen Wednesdays." Carl Castleman says he writes songs & read 2 of them, "Florida Road" & "A Thousand Trees" (on the passage of Time). Josh McIntyre was back after a summer of umpiring softball games with one of my favorite poems of his, about memory & music & poems, "Old Songs." Tracey Oatfield read 2 poems from a book, but I wasn't clear if these were his poems or those of someone else. Nancy Denofio ended the night with a long prosy piece invoking the days of broadcasting executions on the radio, "Public Enemy Number One."

This event happens each 1st Wednesday of the month at historic Caffe Lena on Phila St. in Saratoga Springs, great featured poets & local poets, sign-up at 7:00PM & start at 7:30PM, $3.00.

*  but as my grandmother, Anna Clark Wilcox, used to say, "There are more horses asses in the world than there are horses."

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

from Therese L. Broderick -- Sorry I couldn't attend Caffe Lena this month. Sept. 7th was my hubbie's birthday, so we went out to dinner.