March 5, 2015

Sunday Four Poetry, February 22

 Up to Voorheesville for the open mic, with today’s feature, the piñata queen herself, A.C. (Breaking My Art) Everson. Dennis Sullivan welcomed us with a reading of the late Jim Williams’ poem “Tercet Four: In My Head.” Then Edie Abrams served as M/C for the open mic. It turned out to be an afternoon of poetry, puppets & piñatas.

Mark W. O’Brien read a long, flowing-like-a-river poem that indeed had a river in it, about those who have influenced him, particularly “Ma.” Kathleen O’Brien (no relation to Mark) read “A Nursery Rhyme Revisited" her version of “Peter Peter Pumpkin Eater,” then a poem about watching her grandson play in the snow “Tracks.” Dennis (“O’”) Sullivan read a self-portrait of sorts “The Meek Shall Inherit Nothing,” then a poem from 2012 “For a Boy About to Board the Train for January” for his grandson. Paul Amidon was the first of the rest of us non-O poets; he began with 2 season poems, “Snow Plow” & “Ice Storm,” then a clever poem using musical images “Notes.” Joan Gran’s first poem, “The Empty Chair,” was a tender piece about seeing the ghost of her mother at her daughter’s wedding, then on to an amusing piece about dinner on the River, entertained by an Elvis impersonator, “Cruise.”

Next it was my turn & I read 2 recent poems from January “McDonald’s Love” & “Birthday Poem 2015.” Howard Kogan read only 1 poem, that’s all he needed because that was his humorous, kindly take on aging, about shopping in a hardware store “Words Fail Me.” Joe Krausman can be humorous & thoughtful too, & shared a couple of musical pieces, “Why Play the Tuba” & a poem about composers who have died young, then ended with a seasonal haiku. Brian Dorn was also seasonal, reading his revision (to snow) of his poem “Whatever Will Be.”

Alan Casline performed “Tour of Jonathan Swift’s Puppet Show” with his own hand puppet. Philomena Moriarty said she was reading some “very old poems,” beginning with one about birds & dandelions in Crossgates Mall “Life’s Invasion,” then “Horses” referencing images from Hurricane Katrina & watching her Dad die, then a simple piece inspired by Norman’s Kill “Place.” Megan McKinney Gillespie’s poem “Keep Your Guard Up” was a product of being in Bernadette Mayer’s poetry workshop, the assignment to write about tornados.

I’ve been following the work of A.C. Everson ever since she has been coming out to open mics in Albany in the late 1990s; my refrigerator is decorated with her colorful handmade magnets, the ceiling of my “sun-room” with mermaids & angels, my Xmas tree with ornaments, all that originated as favors from her piñatas. I even have the (unbroken) piñata image of me, complete with a removable beret that she made for my Roast at McGeary’s some years back. Her list today ran the gamut, starting with “Brrr!” (she noted that all the items in the piñata today related to the poems), “Break One” (an ankle), a poem about good Karma visiting the Post Office, a poem for her son “Doing Time,” & “Another Dead Flower” a rant about the abuse of power. Then to an interlude of poems about the beach & Summer: “Sunrise Scene,” “Waking,” “Surfer,” & a poem of love & skinny dipping “Summer Dream.” A Valentines Day favorite is “Cupid is a Bastard.” She also read about looking but not seeing what is in front of us, then “Break 2” & an apology for being distracted during the Walt Whitman Birthday reading in Washington Park “Sorry Walt.” “Polly Potts” was about a grave stone she found, then a poem about a series of disasters for fellow poet Tim Verhaegen “Close to Home.” Her last cluster of poems included the tender “In the Garden of Mom,” “Snowball,” & “Come Again.”
Then, as her sobriquet, would have it, she smashed the snowman & scattered his little snowman treats into the audience — a classic, classy performance by Albany’s Piñata Queen.

Things aren’t always broken here at Sunday Four Poetry, but words are twisted & ideas stretched on the 4th Sunday of most months, 3PM at the Old Songs Community Center, 37 Main St. Voorheesville, NY; a donation supports the featured poet & Old Songs.

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