The Don Levy Roast

Poets Speak Loud!, September 26

The Don Levy Roast! with some startled open mic poets scattered in the mix, & the host was, appropriately enough, Mary Panza.

I went first, to set the fire, turn the spit, bast the …, well you know. It had occurred to me that my relationship with Don is longer than I’ve had with any women since I was married, going back to the early 1990s at the QE2, & quoted as best I could from memory his “condom poem.” After telling some stories (for which I cannot vouch the accuracy) I ended with a reading of Don’s poem “Once I Had a Secret Love, for Dan Wilcox.”

Poor Mary Crane was just passing through the area on her way back home to eastern Washington state & got caught up the night’s craziness; she read 3 poems, but without titles, sensuous, & about being a poet & a woman. Josh McIntyre did a short poem in rhyme, “Midnight Choir.” Carolee Sherwood said she doesn’t “do” roasts & read instead her poems “Taking Credit for a Sunny Day” for her son Ben & a piece on marriage “According to the Recipe.”

Don Levy took his turn, in the roast tradition, to insult many of us who were there (me, Mary, Thom Francis, Cheryl Rice) & others who weren’t there (who will remain nameless, the best insults of all). I guess if you can’t stand the heat you best stay out of the kitchen (or roasting pit). Don has experienced a lifetime of bullying & so has learned to give back like the best of them. It’s always good to have around a Super-Queer Poet to Save the Day! Thanks Don for helping to make the Albany poetry scene the unique experience it is — we love you.

The slam championship poet Brett Axel has settled in this area & offered a couple of jokes in the spirit of the evening, then a poem on gay marriage, playing off the expression “God’s will.” Dave Kime was one of a group from the mid-Hudson area who came up to taste the roast; he declaimed, as we say, “It’s All About Me!” then a piece about riding into the redneck town of Pine Plains. Leslie was back with the recitation of “Birth of a Phoenix.’

A.C. Everson also came to roast Don (“not to praise him”) explaining how much she & Don are alike (WHAT?) & read Don’s classic gay-fantasy poem, “He Wasn’t Always Such a Reluctant Astronaut.”

Sally Rhoades followed with a gentle remembrance of meeting Don for the first time at a reading at the Palais Royale on Jefferson St. Sylvia Barnard has returned from her time in England with her account of the effects of Hurricane Irene way over there, “Hurricane Aftermath.” The last poet was a new voice, Tammy, trying out her poem in rhyme “These Tears” to bury hatred.

It’s not always a roast, but always fun (& good food & drinks too) at McGeary’s on Clinton Square, usually the last Monday of the month (but not always), about 8PM (or thereabouts).