Ramblin’ Jug Stompers

Poets Speak Loud!, May 21

&, man, did we ever have to this night, out in the dining area of McGeary’s rather than in our clubhouse backroom. We also shared the stage with the wonderful Ramblin’ Jug-Stompers, but that was a good thing. They are a blue-grass, old-time, blues, good-time band & they like the poets, too. All this came about because we were not there on our usual last Monday, moved up a week due to the Memorial Day holiday. As usual, Mary Panza took control & kept things flowing (& only 1 poem each tonight).

Sylvia Barnard was up first with a revised version of the poem she had read at Don’s open mic 2 weeks ago, “Israel 2012.” In honor of the up-coming holiday (& I needed a loud poem) I read/declaimed “If Peace Broke Out Tomorrow.” Emily‘s poem was a memory of the Puerto Rican cooking her mother made for her back in the Bronx.

The featured poet, Carlos Garcia, started with a couple pieces in Slam-cadence, “Dream Poetry” & “For Unheard Voices.” At this point he was pressured into taking off his shirt (hmm, such heckling never worked with Mary), then into a fast-paced hip-hop piece. Then the poem “Rhythm” recalled the drums of his mixed heritage, & he ended with a love poem, “Waiting.”

After a Jug-Stompers interlude, we continued on with the open mic, with Tess Lecuyer reading her sonnet, “If I Could Love Life Like I Hate Verizon.” Cheryl A. Rice read the title poem from her new chapbook My Minnesota Boyhood (Post Traumatic Press, Woodstock, NY). Tammy, who had been here last month, but didn’t read, braved the mic with a plaintive rhyme, “Departure.” Mojavi followed with another of his customary love & sex poems.

The first thing Julie Lomoe said when she came to the mic, or rather shouted, was “Shut the Fuck Up!” Not only was there a loud group of drunken golfers at the end of the bar laughing at their own jokes, but even one of the tables of poets was a bit too chatty during other’s readings. Her poem, too, was a rant about a women’s writing group, the poem titled “I’m Too Abrasive.” As someone suggested, maybe she needed some of Dain Brammage’s meds. Avery‘s poem was the classic good advice, “Taking It One Step at a Time.” Rainmaker (who has produced a CD of his his poems, Metaphor) did “Uncle Sam is my Grandfather,” a wide-ranging political rant. Poetic Visionz ended on a positive note (as he characteristically does), with a poem on the amazing power of words & the dangers of stereo-typing.

Most month’s this open mic, with a featured poet, happens on the last Monday of the month at McGeary’s Irish Pub on Clinton Sq. in Albany, NY, sponsored by AlbanyPoets.com— check out their calendar for details.

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