By Karlie Flood

VOICE LESS readings is an open mic that began in March 2017 and is held every Thursday night at the Green Kill Gallery in Kingston, NY. VOICE LESS seeks to “give those who feel like their art is not heard, a place where they can share, listen, and become inspired.” According to host Noah David Roberts, the open mic is “a place for those without a place.” Roberts has poems featured in Chronogram, Streetcake Magazine, and Big Scream. His books, US V. THEM and Strips can be purchased  here.

Regarding the literary community in Kingston, Roberts said it’s “small but tight and well rounded. But don’t get me wrong, the poets aren’t all from Kingston. They come from Woodstock, Red Hook, New Paltz, people come from all over to read at VOICE LESS. The community is endlessly supportive, accepting and encouraging to those who are less experienced with reading their poetry on stage. I really have D.B. Schell to thank, being the owner of Green Kill and allowing me to use his space. I am ever so thankful to be working with him. My favorite thing though has to be the variety. Every poet is unique, talented, and each and every one of them has room to improve from where they already are and it’s really heartwarming to me to watch it happen in front of my eyes.”

On December 6th, Roberts read excerpts from his newest book of poetry, SLIME THING [and other poems]. Roberts began the reading by announcing that he is just going to “dive right the fuck in,” a bar to which he holds himself and launched into:

Gunshots in Vegas;

Beating myself over the head with it to understand it;

And there’s nothing to understand;

As understanding is impossible anyway;

Or possible, and improbable of brain.

He openly questions the values of our society; frustration seeps through his words.

Empty plastic, everything synthetic, nothing organic, 

Nothing born, grown;

Working its way to complete distraction in the brain, as the thing to avoid is horrific. 

Roberts does not shy away from the ills of our society, from mass shootings and pollution to the fear of constantly being watched while simultaneously always being alone.

Banana peels and plastic; 

Candy corn and disruption;

No riots, no discrepancy; 

Masked men;

No peace;

Everywhere drones;

Police surveillance;

Masked men on the run;

Followed by the face of the devil unmasked 

Unworthy microbe;

Paranoid, alone, sad, lonely.

His take on our world in 2018 is haunting.Roberts ends his reading by repeatedly questioning what he was searching for, as if his mind cannot grasp what is happening, and cannot remember what he was expecting out of life. He drops the book onto the floor, and exits the stage, still asking the question.

What was I searching for? 

What was I searching for? 

What was I searching for?
What was I searching for? 

SLIME THING and other poemsis my third book in two years it was published under my publishing company End Paper Press. The book centers around the poem titled “SLIME THING.” The poem was inspired and grotesquely formed from my experiences working in advertising, and my struggle with mental health issues, hallucinations, visions, voices, you name it. A large motif of the poem is masks, which at the time I was seeing on everybody’s face. The poem is long, with five parts, detailing my struggle with the advertising complex of America and the constant selling of the unnecessary. Each part is written in a different style, because I wanted to challenge myself and write something awesomely dynamic. The book will be for sale on my website ( soon,” Roberts said.

Be sure to visit this open mic in Kingston, NY and expand your literary community!