April 14, 2015

Live from the Living Room, April 8

Back in Albany again I headed down to the Pride Center for the reading & open mic hosted by Don Levy.

The featured poet was Mike Cecconi from Utica, NY, his first time reading in Albany he said. He introduced himself with the title poem from his chapbook This Is My Inside Voice (VBLP Inc/Hodge-Podge, 2015), read very loudly, a self-referential Slam piece. Mike is a big guy & his style was more suited for a stage in a bar to overpower loud patrons then in this low-ceilinged room with only 4 other people sitting within inches — his inside voice nearly blasted us to the outside. He continued in the same vein, “Missing Links” was funny social commentary, using the language often used to discuss being gay but referring to golfers. “Oestra” proposed that Jesus had himself crucified to get away from his nagging, Jewish mother, & “The Art Bum’s Prayer” was a short bit of more religious satire. He dreamed of liberating the workers at a call center in “The Escape,” “Find It” was cynical self-help & when he declaimed “If I Had Abs” he used a marker to draw stripes on his belly. He ended with “Writer’s Blessing” another cynical blast. An energetic reading on which the volume control, alas, was broken.

There were 4 of us for the open mic & I went first, performed my poem “McDonald’s with Love” with a new variation, then the poem from Scissortail “Didn’t We Do This in Saratoga?” It was a pleasure to see Kim Henry make a rare appearance, with a recent untitled poem for Take Back the Night, about a 14-year old being raped. Jessica Rae was with us again with 2 poems, a re-written “Stop the Hurt” about being yourself, then her political/sex piece on fracking “The Rape of Our Mother.”

Our host, Don Levy, read Theodore Roethke’s poem “Elegy for Jane” from The Pocket Book of Modern Verse, then a recent poem, “Sermon in the Pizza Parlor,” a funny piece in which Jesus likes the pizza, tells the owners how to run their business (He showed up a lot tonight in the poems).

Each 2nd Wednesday of the month we gather at the Pride Center on Hudson Ave. in Albany, NY, at 7:30PM for Live from the Living Room, a featured reader & an open mic, & warm, friendly conversation.

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