July 28, 2016

Third Thursday Poetry Night, July 21

A hot & steamy night in America with a steady stream of hate spewing from the Republican National Convention, but a refreshing breeze of poetry blowing through the Social Justice Center. While our Muse is usually “some gone poet” I read a poem by a poet who could not be here tonight because she is under house arrest in Israel for her poem “Resist, My People, Resist Them,” that had appeared on Facebook & landed her in prison, Dareen Tatour.

First up for the start of the open mic & for the first time here was Richard Jerin who read a celebrity tribute poem to the dead comedian Robin Williams. Brian Dorn said he needs to write another social justice poem so read instead the love poem “Profoundly Attractive.”

Mary Panza, host of Poets Speak Loud, made a rare open mic appearance to read “Prisoners of a Cardboard Story,” on hope. Joe Krausman is a regular here & read a poem he didn’t remember writing, “Life is a Gamble So Talk to a Wall” at the Temple Wall in Jerusalem, with it’s reference to a quote by poet Paul Celan. Don Levy returned to read his new poem “Straight Pride Day is Every Day.”

Poet & activist & host of the Nitty Gritty Slam, Amani O+ was the featured poet. Given her work with Black Lives Matter & Cuba Solidarity we expected a series of political rants, but Amani’s reading focused on the power of love, as the basis of revolution & change. She began with a poem on the need for oneness & interdependence, then on to a poem about her crushes & love “Midnight Poetry” that you can find on her Facebook page. “What Know You of Love?” was a lecture or rant addressed to a friend (?) or lover (?), then on to a poem about jealousy & her own efforts to deal with it, “If I’m Worth the Work.” She ended with “Remember Who You Are” which began with her singing, another lecture, this about becoming better to then love others, to be in love, to make love our revolution (later Bob Sharkey said he had a flash-dream that this poem was read at both the Republican & Democrat conventions & broadcast on TV to the whole country. Where were the TV cameras?).

After the break, there were just 3 of us open mic poets left. I read a piece in remembrance of Tamir Rice (& about my own son, Jack) “Hands Up, Don’t Shoot.” Josh Bauscher made his first appearance here & read from his book Lights Left On, #22, an intense love poem beginning “The air, electric,…” Bob Sharkey was the night’s last poet with “There But For Fortune” a re-writing of fortunes received in the fortune cookies served with Chinese food.

Always on the third Thursday of each month we gather at the Social Justice Center, 33 Central Ave., Albany at 7:30PM for a featured poet & to read our own poems to each other. Your donation helps pay the featured poet, & supports the work of the Social Justice Center & other poetry events in the community.

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