March 6, 2015

Poets Speak Loud!, February 23

Back at McGeary’s, the scheduled featured poet snowed in in Brooklyn, but Albany poets were here, with el presidenté Thom Francis filling in as the feature (when was the last time he was a featured poet?). Vice President Mary Panza served as host & dominatrix of what turned out to be an all-male poetry revue.

So, under strict orders from Mary, I was the 1st poet up, with a couple of birthday poems, the perennial “This Birthday is Not Divisible by 10” & the new “Birthday Poem 2015.” My friend Joe Krausman followed with a piece based on the Book of Proverbs, then a draft of a new piece “Grandma’s Meatloaf.”

Pat Irish, who has been reading out at open mics & performing on the rock scene here announced he was moving to NYC, tonight did lyrics from the Moody Blues (to groans from some old punk rockers), then the 241st Chorus from Jack Kerouac’s Mexico City Blues. Adam Tedesco is still here, read a couple poems about his personal, dark philosopy, “Post Void” & one written today “Debaser.”

There had been a featured poet scheduled, Richard Levine, but this being Winter & the Northeast & Richard living in Brooklyn, weather intervened & he’ll be rescheduled when the snow mountains melt. Instead, Thom Francis did a rare feature reading, beginning with a grim poem about his mother & father, then to his classic “Third Can” (he said the title was suggested by someone in the audience when he read it at the Lark St. Bookstore one third Thursday many years ago). A couple poems about characters on the edge, “Watching You Crumble” & “Al” (a customer in the beer store in Clifton Park where Thom once worked). “Stuck” was about that familiar feeling of watching the clock at work, but then on to a poem about a happier moment sitting on his porch. The poem “Easter Visit” was about his grandfather in the hospital, & he ended with another classic, “Machine,” a love poem to his insulin pump. Sometimes this brutal Winter can have an up-side to the storms, & this was one of them.

Back to the last of the open mic readers, the first up was a new face & voice (whose family must’ve been from Texas) Austin Houston, with 2 untitled poems, the first set in a hospital waiting for the Angel of Death, the second a personal statement about following no gods, but both with images from religion. Steve Minchin began by saying “some crap about words,” as he put it, then a poem for his boss “Remembrance of Muzzles Past” & the equally contrary “I See You Are About to Say.” Last poet (with the last poem) was rocker Nick Bisanz with an obsessively rhymed piece written at work based on a quote “Sometimes I Wonder Why I’m Not Going Under.”

& that was it, back out into the cold & snow. But we’ll be back again on the last Monday of any month (& hopefully so will some women poets) at McGeary’s on Clinton Square, 7:30PM, for more open mic & another featured poet (also, hopefully). Check for details.

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