Poets Speak Loud!, December 29

Tonight it was just an old-school open mic, no featured poet, plenty of old regulars, with our host Mary Panza keeping order.

Sylvia Barnard was our first reader reprising her poem “Spring,” then a very new poem written this morning about a trip last Summer to the London Zoo, a meditation on aging, “Tortoise.” Pat Irish read next with his surprising “Seattle Sonnet.” I followed with 2 poems written in recent months, “Hands Up, Don’t Shoot” & a poem inspired by a comment by my friend Sylvain, “September Song.” Another friend, Joe Krausman, followed with the reverse turn-around “Invention is the Mother of Necessity,” then the helpful “Be Prepared” (always carry a pen, a gun, a hankie, a Bible, a suitcase …).

What a great pleasure & surprise it was to see once again Mary Ann Murray. She had been a regular in the early 1990s at the QE2 poetry open mics, had been an editor & contributor to Open Mic: The Albany Anthology (Hudson Valley Writers Guild, 1994), & as recently as August 2012 had shown up at the Third Thursday reading at the Social Justice Center.  Tonight she shared the poem “Knife Fork Spoon,” another about a scene in a bar, & a memoir of being on Alexander St. in Albany years ago “Clooney’s” — so good to see old friends once again.

Nick Bisanz is usually on the business end of a guitar, but tonight shared a couple poems from his notebook, “Pull It Up,” & one about meeting the rock bassist Mike Watt with the line “if you ain’t playin’ you’re payin’.“ Dave Kime never needs a mic & didn’t use one tonight for his political pieces, “Sound Bites” & “An Acronym for Cops…” Avery began with a poem by Jacky’s daughter Magnolia, “The Bunny” (next time I hope she reads it herself, face paint & all), then his own worded-up piece about his charge card being refused “Successfully Completing Another Adventure.” Magnolia’s Mom, aka Jacky Kirkpatrick, began with an untitled fashion statement, then a poem to her daughter, “My Cosmic Child.”

& another great pleasure & surprise of a visit of one from the past, one who had shared that apartment on Alexander St. & also appeared in Open Mic & frequently at the QE2, the Palais Royale & other poetry venues of the time, was Kevin Factor. He told a story, using his “roll-over minutes,” about bartending at Yanni’s on Lexington Ave. in Albany, about the regulars who hung out there during the day.

Kevin Peterson followed with some jottings about a woman who moved to St. Louis, then what he called “a few haikus on a neighbor.” Adam Tedesco brought the poetry & the night to a close with “Sometimes,” a “holiday poem” filled with grim images of one’s intestines, then a poem on studies (i.e., geology, geography, anthropology, etc.) “Don’t You Know God Loves You.”

It was quite a night with current poets & poets from the past, & good food & drinks, & gentle service by sweet Melissa & all the good things that come true at McGeary’s on Clinton Square in Albany, each last Monday of the month, brought to you by Albany Poets.


This post originally appeared on Dan Wilcox’s blog on Thursday, January 1, 2015.