January 6, 2015

Poets Speak Loud!, December 29

Tonight it was just an old-school open mic, no featured poet, plenty of old regulars, with our host Mary Panza keeping order.

Sylvia Barnard was our first reader reprising her poem “Spring,” then a very new poem written this morning about a trip last Summer to the London Zoo, a meditation on aging, “Tortoise.” Pat Irish read next with his surprising “Seattle Sonnet.” I followed with 2 poems written in recent months, “Hands Up, Don’t Shoot” & a poem inspired by a comment by my friend Sylvain, “September Song.” Another friend, Joe Krausman, followed with the reverse turn-around “Invention is the Mother of Necessity,” then the helpful “Be Prepared” (always carry a pen, a gun, a hankie, a Bible, a suitcase …).

What a great pleasure & surprise it was to see once again Mary Ann Murray. She had been a regular in the early 1990s at the QE2 poetry open mics, had been an editor & contributor to Open Mic: The Albany Anthology (Hudson Valley Writers Guild, 1994), & as recently as August 2012 had shown up at the Third Thursday reading at the Social Justice Center.  Tonight she shared the poem “Knife Fork Spoon,” another about a scene in a bar, & a memoir of being on Alexander St. in Albany years ago “Clooney’s” — so good to see old friends once again.

Nick Bisanz is usually on the business end of a guitar, but tonight shared a couple poems from his notebook, “Pull It Up,” & one about meeting the rock bassist Mike Watt with the line “if you ain’t playin’ you’re payin’.“ Dave Kime never needs a mic & didn’t use one tonight for his political pieces, “Sound Bites” & “An Acronym for Cops…” Avery began with a poem by Jacky’s daughter Magnolia, “The Bunny” (next time I hope she reads it herself, face paint & all), then his own worded-up piece about his charge card being refused “Successfully Completing Another Adventure.” Magnolia’s Mom, aka Jacky Kirkpatrick, began with an untitled fashion statement, then a poem to her daughter, “My Cosmic Child.”

& another great pleasure & surprise of a visit of one from the past, one who had shared that apartment on Alexander St. & also appeared in Open Mic & frequently at the QE2, the Palais Royale & other poetry venues of the time, was Kevin Factor. He told a story, using his “roll-over minutes,” about bartending at Yanni’s on Lexington Ave. in Albany, about the regulars who hung out there during the day.

Kevin Peterson followed with some jottings about a woman who moved to St. Louis, then what he called “a few haikus on a neighbor.” Adam Tedesco brought the poetry & the night to a close with “Sometimes,” a “holiday poem” filled with grim images of one’s intestines, then a poem on studies (i.e., geology, geography, anthropology, etc.) “Don’t You Know God Loves You.”

It was quite a night with current poets & poets from the past, & good food & drinks, & gentle service by sweet Melissa & all the good things that come true at McGeary’s on Clinton Square in Albany, each last Monday of the month, brought to you by Albany Poets.

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