June 19, 2018

Poetic Vibe, June 11

I hadn’t been to this weekly open mic in some time, have missed the great mix of poets, & made a concentrated effort to get there tonight — & glad I did. The host is poet D. Colin & how she gets the energy to do this each week — must be youth — I don’t know. She got us started with “Artibonite Woman” from her book Dreaming in Kreyol (Empress Bohemia Press, 2015), which I never get tired of hearing, & an untitled work-in-progress on wanting to be loved.

I was first on the sign-up sheet & read my “Golden Shovel for Split This Rock.” Sydney Clifford followed with a poem about losing her dream job “Enough.”

This was V.’s first time here, read a couple pieces on love & hurt & rivals, effectively using hip-hop rhyme to carry the story along. Julie Fresenius began with a poem about a medical procedure “Florescence,” then one titled “Conversations with My Father.” Alijah Pompey’s poem “The Pain I Can Feel” was autobiographical, about drugs & violence in his past (but doing better now), then a poem about personal loss from violence “Lost One.”

Kevin Francis Xavier Callahan started with a rambling introduction to his 5-year mission plan “Easy in My Own Skin.” Star’s pieces were on the theme of Black Lives Matter, the first “Colors” contrasting the colors of social justice with police shootings, the second on black as the new super-power. This was the first time for Ivy D. who began with “Music,” then the sexy “Coconut Colored,” & “Brothers.” I enjoy Liv’s work, writing real poems in a Slam style, tonight a new poem honoring the ancient women in her family “A Poem to the Grandmothers…”.

Elena Fiya Love began with what she described as the 1st Slam poem she wrote “My Vocabulary Stands from a Blooming Flower” then another in similar rhymes “Dark Knight” (not about Batman she said).  Ray had been sitting at the bar, unprepared to read, so free-styled about going to the gym in the early hours & somehow working jerk chicken into the piece. Michael Chambers’ piece was prepared, a long letter he had written as tribute to a woman after they had broken up. Kay L was a performer promoting his music business & did a couple of songs to prepared back-up tapes. Poetik read a new poem on horror movies “Sub-genres,” then read from her new book Labyrinth of a Melaninated Being by asking the audience to call out page numbers, picked page 23, a poem on video games (she will be reading on July 28 in Poets in the Park.

While we had been reading & listening D. Colin was listening & writing, picking out lines, & created a Cento, what she called “take-aways,” lines from what folks had read.

The feature was drummer, rapper, poet Jordan Taylor Hill with drummer Kojo Kofi. It was a musical performance with the words as music & rhythm, some free-style, some philosophical rap, some prison chants that Leadbelly had performed too, & lots of drumming. At one point Kojo tried to teach the audience a song from Ghana about Janey, call & response & enough repetition to learn the sounds/words. Did I mention lots of drumming? A good way to get us boppin’ out the door. But before we did, D. Colin read the group poem (otherwise known as an “exquisite corpse”) from the clip-board passed around all night — I won’t say which was my line. A great night of poetry & drumming, glad I finally got back there.

Poetic Vibe happens every (most) Mondays at the Troy Kitchen on Congress St. in Troy, NY, 7:30, contribution to pay the feature. There is a full bar & a food kitchen & lots of comfy seats. Pick a Monday & go.

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