September 12, 2017

Caffè Lena Poetry Open Mic, September 6

Racing season is over & there are parking spaces & room at the bar in all the restaurants. To start the open mic our host, Carol Graser, read a poem by Naomi Shahib Nye, “Red Brocade.” First reader on the list was Kat Sephas who began with a piece on racism & political corruption, “So What,” then one titled “Human Rights.”

Whenever Mimi Moriarty’s brother Frank Desiderio is in town they like to read their poems together, sharing themes & reading pieces for 2 voices. Tonight Mimi started off with a descriptive, meditative poem titled “Diner” that has been accepted for the Route 20 anthology that Charlie Rossiter, one of the featured readers, is working on with FootHills Publisher Michael Czarnecki; Frank responded with “The Rust-Belt Motel;"  they concluded with a mash-up up of Emily Dickinson lines with quotes from Woody Allen on death.

Caffè Lena volunteer Debbie Bogosian squeezed by the rules with 3 short poems, “Revisiting” a summer cottage from the past, “Why the Ball,” & a poem on power “Woman is Water.” Although this is a poetry open mic (the folk-singer open mic is another night of the month), Adrienne Z. & Kris didn’t know this, she brought her guitar & Kris his resonant box (that must have a name, but I don’t know it); Carol, being Carol, let them perform & Adrienne, who is from the Florida keys, sang “Blue Day,” a hurricane song.

The first of tonight’s featured poets was my co-conspirator in the poetry performance group 3 Guys from Albany, Charlie Rossiter. He read poems from his poetry collections The Night We Danced with the Raelettes (FootHills Publishing, 2007) & All Over America: Road Poems (FootHills Publishing, 2009) as well as other new & old pieces. His introductory poem was about his “no-collar” job as a poet, then on to “Listening to William Carlos Williams,” “Bethlehem Steel” about a Summer job, & another college memoir. He included his signature “cheap motel” poem (bouncing off Frank Desiderio’s earlier piece), then one about his trip home from the Dodge Poetry Festival “At the Triple X Steak House, & “American Life.” “Listening to Music Outside the Music Building” was a Summer piece, then from the route 20 anthology “Somewhere in Upstate.” He ended with a piece written on a 3 Guys trip to Albany, Illinois & Albany, Indiana “I-74 Street Corner of America Poem.” Charlie has been reading his poems out for a long time & is a master at weaving interesting poems & stories together.

The 2nd featured reader, Nicola Maree Allain, is married to poet/story-teller Joe Bruchac, who read a a tribute poem to her, “In Human Kindness.” Nicola has been coming to these open mics for the last year or so to read pieces from her in-progress memoir about growing up in the French colony in Tahiti. She began with a chant in the ancient language of Tahiti about the creation of the world, from a fat book that nearly collapsed the poet’s music stand. Then on to a selection of pieces from her series-in-progress, beginning with “The Arrival” full of details about the place & the food. Her pieces are full of rich, descriptive details, such as “Gauguin’s Garden,” with a couple pieces focusing on her grandmother, her house, her family, including “The Night Visit” in which she dreams of her grandmother’s death. She ended with a poem in 5 parts for her brother Julius about a tropical storm.

After a break (during which many of the audience left), Carol read one of her own poems, “June Party.” Continuing with the lion’s share of the open mic list, Mary Ann Rockwell read “Craven Image” about taking a photograph of some Amish folks. Eric Krantz read a piece about moving to the area from New Jersey & becoming “a Winter man.” Terry Bat-Sonja read an introspective anaphoric poem “I Had…”

Bud Mansmith was a poetry virgin when he read here last month, & liked it enough to return, to read a poem about being in Viet Nam in the early days of the American war there, then a long, complex piece about picking berries. Saratoga journalist Thomas Dimopoulos read from the introduction to his collection Saratoga Stories: Magic and Loss (available at Northshire Bookstore). Leslie Sittner read pieces about husband #1 (“If I Had Stayed”) & #2 (“The Muscle Memory of Love”) leaving Carol to wonder about how many more husbands (& poems) there were.

Tonight’s poetry virgin was Susan Kubert who read 2 pieces in rhyme “Unsung Hero” about military children, & a grim piece about being hit when a child “In the Name of Discipline.” I followed with a poem for the August set “& the Mary Lou Whitney You Rode in On,” & my 3rd-place winning poem at the New York State Fair “At the Silarian Cafe.” Rodney Parrott read a dream/movie narrative “One of 4 Deaths.”

Carol Shup Star read a couple of short pieces, like notebook jottings, one written after a trip to Israel, the other titled “Canyon Crossing.” Nancy Denofio read a recent piece of automatic writing imaging the Civil War “I Held a Daffodil.” Barbara Garro read 2 poems inspired by Ireland, “Song of St. Patrick” & “Ireland.” W.D. Clarke brought us all home with a rhyming ballad, the nostalgic “Grandma’s Griddle.”

Each month on the 1st Wednesday there is an open mic for poets, a featured reader & an open mic for the rest of us, here at Caffè Lena on Phila St. in Saratoga Spring, 7:30PM. Bring a poem or 2 if you want or just come & listen to what the community has to offer.

No comments: