October 21, 2018

Getting Down to Brass Tacks, October 16

at The Low Beat on Central Ave. once again, tonight Mary Panza filling in for Thom Francis as the host. & tonight was the first time this open mic series has included a featured poet, visiting poet Mugabi Byenkya — more on that later.

The open mic began with D. Alexander Holiday who read from his latest book Kith & Kin written as G. Douglas Davis IV a piece on bullying titled “The Involuntary Leave of Absence as Punishment Routine.” I was up next & since we were in the midst of the baseball playoffs read 2 baseball poems “Baseball in Palestine” & “Waiting for Jacqueline Robinson.” Mr. Azarrah Moses was back again from last time with some strange pieces I find difficult to categorize, I think the first one (of 3) was titled “5137” & my notes say “mystical bs”. Not so with Christa DeMarco who read took the motivational speaker clichĂ© of fearing your demons on its head, her poem saying demons were once gods, fear your angels instead.

Mugabi Byenkya was born in Nigeria to Ugandan parents & is currently based in Canada. He has written a novel, Dear Philomena, like letters, emails, & text messages to his alter-ego about a year in his life where he suffered 2 strokes & other health issues. Tonight he talked about his novel, & said “I let my writing speak for itself…”. Some of his pieces were like slowed down rap in hip-hop rhyme, did a call-&-response piece with the audience. One of his poems was titled “If I Die Bury Me Next to My Father,” then a poem to his mother, some poems done from memory, some read. He read what amounted to a love letter to a friend, celebrating Platonic love. Later, talking to Mugabi, I found out he was an assistant to Melissa Tuckey while producing Ghost Fishing: an eco-justice Anthology of poetry, a reading from which I hosted Mellisa & others at Poets in the Park this past summer & which includes one of my poems. What a marvelous inter-connected world of poetry we live in.

Luciano Ferarra was back, this time announcing he has a new book out Romancing the Art of Being Honest & read 2 poems from it, “Spinning Records,” & “24/7 Diner Service” using a dysfunctional diner service as a metaphor for the USA. Avery read a piece he wrote just this morning about the unforeseen, “Interruptive Existence.” Alyssa Michelle read a revised version of one of her relationship complaints “Solitude Thoughts.” Aron (Algorhythm) just back from Japan read a rant about casting out 7 demons, not into the game, not lying anymore. Mac also read a complaint, this against his hustler father. Koi-yola’s rap was about to necessity to keep growing, keep moving.

Getting Down to Brass Tacks happens each 1st & 3rd Tuesday, usually just an open mic, but look for changes in the format. You can find out all about it at AlbanyPoets.com.

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