(for Willy & Jean Dugan)
in my phone’s inbox:
a dark-braided niña
in a flowered dress
a shy smile behind
her 2 raised fingers
in a peace sign
we all know so well
& oceans, not
knowing each other’s
language or name.
(Each January Jean & Willy Dugan are part of a mission from Holy Family Parish in Gloucester, MA to the people of Cevicos, Dominican Republic. They bring medicine & medical supplies & assist medical professionals to provide services to the people of Cevicos. Dare I say, "This is what makes America Great"?)
January 29, 2017
The first of the new year’s third Thursdays meant we were back at the Social Justice Center for the open mic & a reading by novelist Harvey Havel. & we still hadn’t gotten caught up with the dead poets of 2016. Brooklyn-born Irish poet John Montague went to that poetry reading among the stars on December 10. John was a great friend to Albany poets, having run a (free) workshop for the Writers Institute for community poets, for many years. I was pleased to be in it in 1989 & in 1995, & to have John as a guest for dinner in my home on a couple of occasions. To honor his memory & to invoke him as tonight’s Muse, I read his poem “Sheela Na Gig.”
Alan Catlin, who had been in many of John’s workshops, was first up for the open mic, read from “Hollyweird,” a work in project, a piece spun off from the film American Psycho, a memoir of college years. Richard Jerin returned with a poem from 20 years ago, a piece titled “Take Back.” Joe Krausman is also an alumnus of the Montague workshops & read a poem that he has entered into the Jewish Currents Reynes prize contest “The Wall.” Thérèse Broderick was next “With Ease” a poem about going to the gym, doing yoga. Taking us on a political turn, Frank S. Robinson, reminded us that in spite of our (mis) (pre) conceptions of “Who We Are.”
After a short break I returned to continue the open mic with my poem “A Shill at the Fair” responding to Howard Kogan’s latest book A Chill in the Air (Square Circle Press). Karen Fabiane followed with a poem she wrote for R.M. Englehardt’s call for entries for poems reacting to the election of Donald Trump “Kremlin Along the Potomac.” Bob Sharkey read “January 16th” a poem about reading someone else’s poem, a poem he said that “wrote itself.” The final poet for the night was Brian Dorn who read a poem from his book, “Prophecy,” that he has rarely read out (this was only the 2nd time).
The Third Thursday Poetry Night takes place each month at 7:30PM at the Social Justice Center, 33 Central Ave., Albany, NY, a featured poet & an open mic for the rest of us — $3.00 (more or less) donation.
January 20, 2017
|Don Levy, May, 1988, QE2, Albany, NY|
But tonight he included some older poems from earlier chapbooks, “He Wasn’t Always Such a Reluctant Astronaut” (from How Small Was My Big Eden) & a poem about the Wizard of Oz, “Begone Before Someone Drops a House on You” (from Super Queer Poet Saves the Day). Then on to a cluster of poems written in the last year, beginning with “Divers” about watching “Wide World of Sports” with his Dad, then to the even more direct “2 Men Kissing,” & “To the Victims of the Pulse Shooting." Don spends a lot of time on social media & wrote about the “Death of a Digital Friend.” On to more directly political pieces, “Mike Pence Goes to Hamilton,” & a response to a FaceBook post, “Straight Pride Day is Every Day.” He ended with a couple pieces read from his phone, the meditative “Hopper Motel” & a poem that looked back to the poetry days of the QE2 “I’m a FuckingPoet!”
About his being a host Don said, “I’m a jukebox & I give people dimes to put in the jukebox." Mary Panza, who had been the subject of one of these Albany Poets Presents events this past year, amusingly asked Don about the time he “came out” at the QE2 & remarked about what a ho-hum, un-Earth-shaking event that it had been. It’s always fun to have a conversation with Don Levy.
This series is usually held every other month, on the even-numbered months, on the third Wednesday, at the Restaurant Navona on New Scotland Ave., in Albany, NY. Check out AlbanyPoets.com for more information.
As greet as it had been a thonder-dent…”
— from “The Miller’s Tale“ by Geoffrey Chaucer
When Donald Trump farts it is like he is delivering a message of Freedom to the oppressed of the Aleutian Islands
When he farts in his limo or private corporate jet the farts get circulated until completely absorbed by the other passengers, his driver, his pilot
His children, Ivanka, Donald Jr., Eric, even Tiffany & Baron have been hearing his farts for years
& like all children they got used to them, & now ignore his farts.
Ivana left him because when he farted he didn’t say “excuse me,” Marla because his farts were loud, violent
but Melania rather enjoys them & likes to say she doesn’t fart except in the bathroom & when she does they are “melodious”
but then she likes to copy what other people say.
Donald Trump says that he is for law & order but he lets his farts fly free without restriction
He says he wants to build a wall to keep Mexicans out while he lets his farts migrate wherever he goes
Donald Trump says that he wants Muslims to wear a badge, this stinks even worse than his farts.
When Donald Trump becomes President it would be in the World’s best interest to make sure his diet avoids beans, beef, &, of course, beer
Because when Donald Trump farts, Vladimir Putin farts too
But when Donald Trump farts in the White House the whole World does not have to listen & all Americans should be buying anti-fascist air fresheners.
January 15, 2017
The first of the new year of poetry back at the Arts Center in Troy, but my co-host, Nancy Klepsch, on sick-leave, so I had to go it on my own. A great afternoon of poetry with regular readers & returning old-timers. Dianne Sefcik started us off with a poems invoking her native heritage, a meditation on our origin in the stars “Portal,” then a different sort of origin story, “When You Were Born.” Don Levy’s first poem was about an exchange on FaceBook “I’m a Fucking Poet,” then one on yet still another dead pop star “George” (Michaels).
Tim Verhaegen’s first piece was about his first ever, recent, trip to the hospital “Virgin Voyage,” then a poem looking back to his mother & to his favorite singer Joni Mitchell, “Joan & Joni.” Dave DeVries poem “There Is There” was full of anaphora, alliteration & rhyme, then on to a more free verse about “Footprints” in Winter & Summer. Peggy LeGee was wonderfully rambling, & confrontational reading her notebook pages “To Fight or Flight.”
Dan Curley began reading a poem by Faith Shearin, then one of his own on the closing of the mills in Corinth, NY. Karen Fabiane’s first poem was an old one, “Someone Laughed,” then “La La …” a poem filled with personal allusions. Trojan Ed Rinaldi read a couple poems about the Hudson River, “Winter Is A Tug of War” & “On the Night the Green Island Bridge Collapsed” (in the 1970s).
We are at the Arts Center of the Capital Region on River St. in Troy, NY on the 2nd Sunday of each month, an open mic for all writers, & it’s free.
January 6, 2017
This was the 1st poetry event of the year for me & it was a great omen that it was a packed house with great words from near & far. Amani & Jayton served as hosts for the open mic; the Slam is held on the 3rd Tuesday. There was also food being served & game tables set up, even a confused guy in a plaid shirt & rain jacket who wandered in looking for comedy night. Amani set the tone with a reading of the poem “Ode to Existence” by former Albany poet Daniel Summerhill.
Avery was the first up with a performance of his piece based on the Heart Sutra, “What is that Subtle Background Hum?” On a slightly different sound, I read the latest version of “When Donald Trump Farts.” Ainsley performed from her smart phone the anaphoric “Live is like…”
It is great to see that Amani & Jayton are not only keeping the Nitty Gritty Slam going, but drawing in a good, diverse audience. It’s at The Low Beat on Central Ave., Albany, NY, 7:30PM each 1st & 3rd Tuesday — catch it.