As I’ve said ad nauseam, “if your family & friends don’t come to your readings who will?” Tonight’s featured poet, Samson Dikeman, did just that, bring his family & friends for a good audience for his reading & for the open mic.
I’ve enjoyed the poetry & performances of Samson Dikeman since he started coming to the open mics & Slams in town. He is a whiz at instant-Haiku & has written a slew of sestinas. But tonight he read a mix of quirky short poems, many with a touch of satiric humor, with telling titles such as “Unplanned Parenthood,” “The First Sucker” (Adam & Eve), “Death of a Centenarian” (old things in the frig), & the self-deprecating humor of “What Hurts More.” Some of the poems were based on pop-culture such as “It’s Me Mario” in which chasing a girl is like a video game, & “I’m Better than My Profile.” There were poems dedicated to his poetry-peeps: “Both Hands on the Wheel” to Jacky Kirkpatrick for her anthology of road poems, to Avery “Never a Wasted Page,” & the political satire for me “To Anyone Who Has Ever Occupied a Park.” A more serious piece was in the persona of a wife of a soldier with PTSD “Shut-up & Kiss Me,” an older poem recently re-written. He ended with a Slam poem he has never done at the slam, on “V” & “P.”
We had quite a list for the open mic, with Adam (“Mr. Sunshine”) Tedesco the first up with a dystopian poem titled “Play Me a Song Like Thunderclap Mountain,” & a tornado poem, “Felled,” mixing fairy tales, nursery rhymes & The Wizard of Oz. I followed with an older poem written for the students killed at Kent State, Ohio & Jackson State, Mississippi in May 1970 “44,000,” then a short poem I’d never read out, addressed to “you.” Kevin Peterson read a moving poem (i.e., about an old apartment) “The Last State St. Poem” then a short flash dedicated to the shot of Tequila he did before the reading. Emily Gonzalez read 2 memoir pieces, “Cool Red Satin” & “Moon Goddess.” Jacky Kirkpatrick’s first poem was on post-Viet Nam trauma “How to Be American,” then a road trip poem for Samson.
Steve Minchin’s first poem was about working through malice in a relationship, then a piece talking about sex in the language of photography “Over Exposure.” Shannon Shoemaker (who will be the featured poet here next month) recited from memory “This is a Poem for the Open Mic” that I believe contained references to other poems about open mics. Kristen Day did 2 of my favorites of hers, “Where’s Why?” & a poem about her grandmother “Four Fucking Dollars.” Our host for this series, Don Levy, always reads last so we know it’s almost time to go home. Both the poems he read, “Kiosks on Lark” & “It Was Only a Kiss” (about about the media flack over Michael Sam kissing his boyfriend) can be found on his FaceBook page.
Live from the Living Room is a featured reading with an open mic held on the 2nd Wednesday of each month at the Pride Center of the Capital Region, 322 Hudson Ave., Albany, NY (in the downstairs “Garden Room”) at 7:30PM.