March 8, 2018

Troy Poetry Mission, February 28

Back in Troy (last month’s event had been cancelled), with R.M. Engelhardt the host, & co-host James Duncan joining us in progress. It was a long night of poetry, with 2 featured poets filling up an hour & 13 signed up for the open mic. Rob began the night with one of his characteristic pieces “I Am the Darkness.”

The first of the open mic poets was Noah David Roberts from Kingston with a grim, Ginsberg-esque meditation on skin “Curbside.” Also from Kingston was Jordan Rogers with a somewhat over-wrought “Yelling to God, Part 2, Prophet.” By then James Duncan had arrived to read “Night Weather” a prose poem from his book We Are All Terminal But This Exit is Mine (Unknown Press, 2017). Faith Green has read here before, tonight read about girls & a family at the Mall “21st Century Fairy Tale, Part 1” & a list poem, “I Wonder.” Nancy Dunlop also read a list poem, “57th Birthday List” a long compendium of 27 aphorisms (ironically enough included in the long list was an aphorism to the effect that people who tell you to “listen” often talk too much).

The first of the night’s 2 features was another Nancy, Nancy Klepsch, with whom I co-host the 2nd Sunday @2 open mic at the Arts Center. She began with a couple haibuns, “Learning Target” on school shootings, & “Driving in Cars While Black.” Then on to a piece from a workshop with Bernadette Mayer “29 Questions.” The rest of the poems she read were from her book God Must Be a Boogie Man (Recto y Verso Editions, 2017), including such favs as “Before You Know Gratitude,” the title poem, “Rubylith as a Revolutionary,” & others, ending with the untitled last poem in the book exhorting the audience, “Tell me a story/Talk forever.”

D. Alexander Holiday said his reading, honoring Black History Month, was a commentary on what Louis Lomax called “non-Southern racism," recited poems by Dudley Randall & Joseph Seaman Cotters, & read Bunkong Tuon’s poem “Why I Chose Literature.” Then delved into pieces from his new book Kith & Kin: A Klannish, Klownish Tragic Komedy (written as G. Douglas Davis, IV). There was a hysterical surrealistic piece on the Columbus Day parade, with his past bosses in State government as “Klan members,” their kids dressed up in white hoods, & the equally surreal “Wizard of Odd.” He also read about being at an Irish Festival & the bizarre tee-shirt “Irish Livers Matter.” He ended with his funny piece from the book that takes its inspiration from the scene of Klansmen with seed bag hoods from Quentin Tarantino’s movie Django Unchained.

After the break, J.J. Johnson read a merciless anti-Trump rant “Heartless Beat,” (making one member of the audience clearly uncomfortable).

Amanda McDowell read an autobiographical story of her life from birth to now “Nebulizer Pantoum: I Am Enough.” Karen Fabiane read her classic “I Fucked St. Joan” then an apparently recently written sequel “Lady Red Bird’s Lament.” Betty Zerbst was able to leave her animals alone for a few hours & read her rhyming poems “Where Poetry Comes From” & a piece on Brian Dorn’s new Gloversville poetry place, “Dorn Space/Writers’ Market.” Megan Marohn was next but I couldn’t hear her through the wall of the Men’s Room — maybe next time.

Jeremy Olson began with a poem about the gym being like a church, then on to a 2-part piece, “Strange Sex” working in Hokusai’s Wave painting & tentacles. Julie Lomoe read a descriptive prose piece “Terminal Beige” about being in a doctor’s office, then an old favorite “Bi-Polar Gaia.”  Christian Ortega brought the night to a close with “Postscript” the final poem in his book Red Poems (Hispanic Paradox Press, 2014) which in the printed text is in all caps making one want to SHOUT while reading it.

The Troy Poetry Mission is held on the last Wednesday of the month (except when it’s not) at O’Brien’s Public House on 3rd St. in Troy (between Broadway & State St.), with a featured poet (perhaps) & an open mic, 7:30PM (but usually after 8).