Third Thursday Poetry Night, January 17

An attentive audience, but only 7 of us to read in the open mic, & for our featured poet, Tamara Gabbard.

Back after a long time caring for his new daughter was Matt Galleta with the extended metaphor of “The Ship is Sinking,” humorous in its grim vision, but we hope it’s only art. Michael Purcell took us back to his boyhood around the kitchen table commenting upon “Manners that Matter.” Joe Krausman‘s poem also dealt with food, “Mixed Message,” a weight loss polemic.

This was Brian Dorn‘s first time here (& only his 2nd open mic), with a “social justice poem” “Preach It’s Wrong,” rhymed lines on the disconnect between stated policy & action. Don Levy‘s poem “Shoot & Tell” was also on a political theme, on guns in school, with a touch of characteristic Don Levy humor. This was also the next poet, Robert McKay‘s, first time here; he read from his new book Cities of Rain (Honeybee Press) another political piece, “Sonnet of the Riot Cops.” I finished out the open mic with a new poem, “Baseball in Palestine.”

Tonight’s featured poet, Tamara Gabbard, was around the poetry scene in Albany in 2004 & read in the open mic when the third Thursday readings were held at the Lark Street Bookshop. She now lives in Brooklyn. She began with a piece of advice, a poem titled “Skin Matter.” Then on to 2 war-themed poems, the more philosophical “This is the War!” & the moving poem “War Child” from her experience in the military in Afghanistan. “The Sounds of Jazz” contains the realization that the music is a “conversation.” Then on to a series of what sounded like a journal entries, the kind of ponderings thinking people do, late at night, in solitude, working towards what we believe, or think or feel. Personally, in my own work, I use these musings as notes toward possible poems, most of which end up still-born. I preferred Tamara’s “poems” (such as “War Child”) however raw or flawed they may be over these notebook jottings. For example, “Let’s Fucking Talk About It” responding to her reading of Charles Bukowski was more of a poem than “Let’s Further the Conversation” (written 2 days later) that was more akin to her journal entries. Whatever, an energetic raw talent from whom we can expect (& hope) to hear more.

We gather on the third Thursday of each month, right here at the Social Justice Center, 33 Central Ave., Albany, NY, 7:30 PM — bring a poem for the open mic, some money to support the featured poet & the SJC, & enjoy.