December 31, 2014

Third Thursday Poetry Night, December 18

This reading included the annual visit from Sanity Clause. The featured poet was Adam Tedesco, but first I invoked the Muse, Enid Dame, read her “Holiday Poem.” Then a bit of the open mic, with each poet getting the rare opportunity to sit on the lap of Sanity Clause, explain how bad they have been & receive a gift of a poetry book or zine.

Alan Catlin was the first poet up (as he often is) with a holiday poem, “Too Drunk to Work, Sober Enough to Drive.” Sylvia Barnard followed with a hopeful little poem, “Spring.” Avery delivered a breathless description of some guitar music, “Masticating the Maggots of the Mind.” Richard Propp said he was just getting re-interested in poetry after many years & read “Desire” by George Bilgere, a funny poem about lusting after a woman in a checkout line. Joe Krausman read a poem praising the light for the longest night (harkening back to Enid’s poem). Mark O’Brien’s poem was about climbing the steep stairs in his house, remembering his father, “Setting Out.”

It was good to be able to hear a big chunk of tonight’s featured poet Adam Tedesco’s work after usually hearing only a poem or 2 at a time at open mics. His work is, as he acknowledges, dark, depressing, beginning with “Post & Kill” painful images of adventures growing up, then a poem loosely based on his 1st landlord “A Real Life Durango” filled with images of violence. “Logic is a Sword We Fuck With” was his philosophical treatise on poetry (he said) & the title pretty much sets the tone, while “At the Mouth of the Cave” was based on a conversation with an ill-tempered fishing partner. He described “The Bit” as “kind of a political poem,” “The Star Reposed” was from a challenge to write about something depressing without being depressing (& not sure he succeeded), while “Human Centipede” was loosely based on one of his favorite movies. “Anaxarchus” was an interesting exploration of speechlessness, reason & kings, based on the the ancient Greek philosopher (c. 380 - c. 320 BCE), none of whose work has survived; ironically, in the context of this reading, he was called “the happiness man.” His final poems were “Blazing” & "Psychogenic Transplant" a poem that was a message to his son after visiting an uncle dying in a hospital. Before he began his reading Adam mentioned that one of his goals was to write a poem that I can’t summarize in one sentence; many of these poems fit that category, but writing this Blog it was enough of a challenge for me to find enough synonyms for “depressing” or “bleak.”

After the break I read a new poem responding to the times, “Hands Up, Don’t Shoot” (for Tamir Rice). Alan Casline read a 2-part poem on Jack Kerouac, Charlie Parker & Dr. Sax. W.D. Clarke was back after a hiatus, read a poem about his Grandfather in Canada, “Coffee Royale.”

Those of you who are keeping count will note that only 1 woman so far had sat on Sanity Clause’s lap, while there had been 8 men. I was so relieved when Jacky Kirkpatrick was the next reader that I almost asked her to sit there all night, but thought it would be unfair to the rest of the readers. Fortunately the ratio of women to men improved from this point on. She read an untitled memoir about a trip when she was 8 to a Slayer’s concert, written in response to write about Death Metal. Thérèse Broderick’s poem was about struggling “In Yoga Class When I Do Tree Pose.” Frank Robinson, who wore a matching Sanity Clause hat, did not read from his book Love Poems, but read another love poem (to Thérèse, of course) “Possession.”

Samson Dikeman was also challenged to write about Death Metal, but said he found this uncomfortable, so he turned to the Old Testament, & Joshua bringing down the walls of Jericho for inspiration -- seems like the same thing to me. Phil Good showed up to read from a series of poems on the months, read the lyrically playful December entry, “Double Dark.”

Jessica Rae, before sitting on Sanity Clause, said she had brought the wrong copy of her poem “Snow” to read so she edited it along the way. Sally Rhoades ended the night with “I Love the Wander,” then as she sat on the lap of Sanity Clause, her cellphone rang & it was her husband, checking up on her — I guess Sanity Clause is not the only one who is watching!

A complete set of photos of poets sitting on the lap of Sanity Clause is available at my Flickr! site, photos taken by Avery & Jacky Kirkpatrick.

& we’ll return to the Social Justice Center, 33 Central Ave., Albany, NY next, & every third Thursday, 7:30PM, to read & to listen to more poetry — for a donation that pays the featured poet & supports the Social Justice Center, & poetry events in the community.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Nice job.